Monday, April 18, 2005



A couple of weeks back, a very cool gentleman named Al Abut posted in his blog that he was going to learn the computer scripting language Ruby. Ruby is of course becoming popular at a blazing speed in the software community and so another announcement to learn it was nothing new. But what was cool about this was the way he planned to do it. He said that he would be doing a chapter a day and blogging about it. The book he selected was "Sam's Learn 21 in 21 days" which fit nicely with the goal he had in mind of learning it in a certain amount of time. It was like a call to all people interested in the same goal to learn along with him. Needless to say, people did express their intent to learn and blog along on their own sites, and more so I am sure, did the same on their own, quietly, like yours truly.
The reason I am mentioning this is that this has by far proved to be the most successful foray for me to learn Ruby. I have tried to learn it a few times before, but somehow been sidetracked. As a result, I was very skeptical even about this project. But now I am pleased to say, I am through 12 chapters out of the 21 and I have a feeling I am going to have gone all the way by end of the month. Of course, my time schedule is different than his, which was originally slated to be more rigorous - one chapter a day, completing the whole book in 3 weeks but I have scheduled mine as 5 days every week (taking into account weekend engagements). So with that plan, I am supposed to finish the book by April 29.

This has actually been a great learning experience for me in 2 ways - firstly, the experience of learning Ruby by itself, has been great because its truly a language that strives to make things easy and simple for you. The second and the more profound experience is that now, I want to follow this methodology of learning for anything I wish to learn. That is, find a book that gives you a specific number of days to learn something and give a reasonable and well-defined amount to study everyday.

Lastly, I have to mention that the quality of the book chosen was excellent. Credit goes to the author Mark Slagell, who has done an excellent job of presenting Ruby in the Sam's format. I have been hasty in judging the Sam's series content as a little inferior but now my opinions have completely changed. Mark is very to-the-point, extremely knowledgeable, and very funny - all of which makes it a great read. So all the "Programming Ruby" fans out there, yes I agree its a great reference, but if you want a quick plan as to how to proceed to learn Ruby, check out the Sams book.

Its nice to tick off a HUGE item in my to-do list that's been hanging around a while. Thanks a heap Al! You are the man!

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