Interesting question I’ve got from a couple of 1st year masters student and final year undergrad students. About a year ago back I asked myself the same question too, “Why Ruby?”.
It’s my first post on Medium so I’d give a brief introduction about me. I’m Kenigbolo Meya Stephen, a second year Software Engineering Masters student(currently writing my thesis) and now a Software Engineer with Lumumba Technologies SL (A Barcelona fashion startup). I had previously worked as a Support Engineer in Greenhouse (Now Nevercode OU), a Software Developer in BlissPrint Ltd and various technical roles from System Administrator, System Analyst and Junior IT project manager at Emizone Consults before moving on to my current role. I love football (Soccer as Americans tend to call it), anyways lets go back to the title of this post, “Why ruby?”
My first taste of ruby and the ruby on rails framework came in September 2015 when I started the software engineering masters program although it never really made much sense to me as I hadn’t really used it in any product serving thousands of customers until this summer when I attended the Ironhack boot-camp in Barcelona briefly as I left barely three weeks into the program seeing that I wasn’t doing myself a favour since this was more for beginners than those transitioning into ruby. I’m not gonna give any sort of history about ruby because Wikipedia can provide all that is needed to know, instead I will give my own assessment of ruby and why I find it amazing.
Ruby as a programming language is something of a sweet romantic song, it makes complexity taste like sweet french wine. I will try as much as possible to be as non-technical as I can be with this post to help every beginner programmer or novice understand why this to me is one of the best languages out there to get started with (teaching beginners is a hobby of mine anyways). Ruby is an object oriented programming language and was created as a general purpose language (just like python) hence giving it the ability to be used for several things including building web servers, web applications (using the rails framework or even Sinatra), desktop applications etc. My answer to this “why ruby” question has always been quite straightforward, “Ruby is fairly easy to learn”. If you come from a computer science/IT background like me then you’re actually in a much better position to appreciate the simplicity and beauty of ruby (especially after having to deal with C and C++).
Another big win for the ruby language is the Rails framework. Ruby on rails is a web development framework which is actually built with the ruby programming language. Almost everything in the rails framework source code is written in ruby. The biggest advantage of Rails when it comes to web development frameworks is that it emphasizes “convention over configuration” meaning you do not really need to remember a lot, if you stick to the conventions you will do just fine.
Is Ruby the best programming language? Well in all honesty I do not believe there’s any such thing as a best programming language, at least not yet. Every language has it’s pro and cons however if you want to be a good software engineer or developer then you must realize that you should see all programming languages as just what they are “languages”. It’s okay to have a favorite language however it is also nice to have favorite “languages”. If you want a quick dive into Ruby, code school and Code Academy all have really great resources to get started with ruby. Have a go at it and see you in my next post with some more technical details