If you want to learn how to code, there are a few programming languages recommended for beginners, and Ruby is one of them. Is Ruby easy to learn, and can it help new developers understand the principles of coding? The short answer is a resounding yes, but it’s important to also consider how you can apply your knowledge of Ruby once you learn the ropes.
Ruby is an object-oriented programming language developed in Japan by Yukihiro “Matz” Matsumoto in the mid-1990s. Matsumoto wanted to create an object-oriented language that was simple to code and could quickly develop scripts.
At the time, according to Matsumoto, there weren’t any convenient programming languages to fulfill that function. Pearl and Python, which inspired the creation of Ruby, weren’t as suitable for scripting and objective-oriented programming. Matsumoto didn’t like Pearl, and he referred to it as a “toy language,” while he didn’t consider Python a true object-oriented programming language. Therefore, he decided to create a language that would satisfy his standards of an object-oriented language and help others code more easily, enjoy coding, and be more productive.
Ruby’s Programming Syntax
Ruby’s syntax is similar to that of Python and Pearl. Keywords define class and method definitions, while brackets or keywords define code blocks. Writing code in Ruby comes pretty close to writing sentences in English. Line breaks are considered as an end of a statement in Ruby, and the semicolon has the equivalent function.
Below is an example of how a “Hello World” program looks in Ruby.
puts “Hello World!”
Why Learn Ruby?
So, if you’ve ever asked yourself, “How hard is Ruby to learn?” the above example is, in a way, a good answer to your question, as it shows just how intuitive and easy-to-grasp the logic behind Ruby’s syntax is. Ruby is easy to learn, especially when compared to other programming languages that rely on special symbols and characters for the program to operate properly. However, simplicity isn’t the only reason Ruby is often recommended to beginners.
Ruby is an open-source language that’s free to use. It’s also cross-platform, which is essential for use on various operating systems such as Windows, macOS, and Linux. So you’ll be able to code it on your computer and have programs run on each platform.
The Ruby developer community is large and open to helping beginners and answering questions. Furthermore, Ruby is a programming language so popular that if you get stuck while writing code, there are potentially thousands of other users who’ve encountered the exact same issue. For example, Stack Overflow has more than 200,000 questions and answers related to Ruby on its platform, among other Ruby learning resources.
Troubleshooting problems with Ruby is easier as the language adheres to the “write less code” principle. The code is easier to read, and it’s not as dependent on special characters, which reduces the chance of making an error.
Ruby is also popular among startups as a small team of devs can design a full application within a short time frame with limited resources. Therefore, knowing Ruby is a valuable IT skill that can open additional opportunities for you.
The Best Way of Learning Ruby
Is Ruby easy to learn on your own, or should you find a programming boot camp? There are plenty of options, but an essential thing to consider, if you’re looking for a specific curriculum, is that most IT courses cover more than one programming language, include programming theory, and cover developer tools such as Git and GitHub as well.
If you’re wondering, “Should I learn Ruby by myself?” we say - give it a try. Many Ruby developers started that way, and a computer science degree most often isn’t necessary to begin working in the IT industry as a programmer. Ruby is great for getting a grasp of basic coding principles, and learning other languages after it will be much easier.
Ruby Use Cases
Ruby is a versatile programming language that can be used for multiple purposes and various projects. Here are some of the most common ones:
One of the most popular web development frameworks is Ruby on Rails. After it was released in 2005, it quickly became one of the most popular and advanced solutions.
Functions in Ruby are convenient for processing large amounts of data. In-built commands for filtering, cleaning, mapping, reducing, and selecting can efficiently solve it.
Vagrant, a DevOps tool, is based on Ruby. With it, developers can create a virtual machine environment and automate processes to test their applications. With such tools, programmers can be sure that their apps will work upon completion for the operating system the app is intended for.
As Ruby was initially intended to simplify processes with scripts, automation is one of its strong points. Writing a script in Ruby is fast and efficient.
Ruby on Rails
Learning Ruby is the first step toward learning Ruby on Rails. Web development framework was developed on Ruby by David Heinemeier Hansson in 2003 and remains one of the most popular back-end solutions for web devs.
Is Ruby on Rails hard to learn? The simple answer is no. Ruby on Rails can help you create websites with payment processing, editable content, sign-in functionality, and other dynamic elements of modern website design.
If you plan to learn back-end development, Ruby on Rails can help you become a better coder, learn the basics of creating web applications or do full-stack projects in a shorter time span.
What Programming Language Should You Prioritize?
If you’re just starting out in coding and don’t have any foundation, it may be handy to begin with Ruby. The basics of programming can be complicated to grasp if you haven’t previously seen how foundational concepts work.
After getting used to the simple syntax Ruby employs, you’ll find it easier to master more structured and complicated languages.