Monday, February 25, 2008

fluff can kill a language

I may have the opportunity to use Ruby in the near future, so I thought I'd sit down and start learning. I picked up Dive Into Python and was amazed by how quickly and easily I could pick up and run with it.

I couldn't find a "Dive Into Ruby", but I did find a cleverly written book called Why's (poignant) Guide to Ruby. The first chapter had me giggling. The second chapter had me interested in this new odd little language. The third chapter made me look up the work poignant in webster's. (Go ahead, click the word)

As it turns out, Why's (anything but poignant) Guide to Ruby started out being 3a, turned 2a, and was never 3b. (told you to click the word) I was so busy trying to skim past the pointless (but mildly amusing) prose that I started to have a hard time seeing the important parts that talked about the language.

The guide would be wonderful if I had never programmed in any language before. Honestly, with a little tweaking it would make a pretty solid source book for a CS 101 type class. At any rate, it would be better than teaching all the little tykes Java. (Sorry, pet peeve) The trouble is, I'm not a freshman CS student. I don't care that a symbol is a little softer on a computer. I want to know what exactly a symbol is and what it is used for instead of a normal variable.

Though it is shame I won't be able to use it to learn Ruby. The comics look like something out of Achewood and the sidebars read like a Douglas Adams commentary.

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