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Lets look: Ruby

George Marr
My curiosity is easily stimulated
・4 min read

Lets look: Ruby

What is this?

Lets look is a series I've been thinking about doing for a while now. It's where I take popular technology, languages, APIs, libraries etc look at their history, what it is, how it was made and maybe some funny things regarding it. This is the first post of the series, seeing as there are many Rubyists and dev.to is mainly written in Ruby I thought this would be a good topic.

Ruby and its history?

Now I'm not that good at Ruby and only know the core basics, but I love the background behind languages and technology. Majority of this information is from research. Let's go!

Ruby is a dynamically strong language that supports all forms of development, from standalone software to high-performance websites. Development started by Yukihiro Matsumoto aka "Matz" in 1994 but was not released to the public in 1995. Matz wanted to take some of his favourite languages (Perl, Lisp, Eiffel etc) and mash them together to create a language that has a strong balance between functional and imperative programming.

Matz originally had two interpreters for Ruby. Both written in C which was under version 1.8 as a single-pass interpreted language. Since 1.9 and above Ruby has taken on a different approach called "Yet Another Ruby VM" aka YARV.

What made Ruby so popular?

I think we can agree that every programming language can be a pain in the ass at times, including Ruby. However Ruby seems to be a language that is beginner friendly and easy to get started with, the syntax it has is very easy to follow and doesn't overload you with a ton of things to memorise from the beginning.

As a dynamically typed language, Ruby is incredibly flexible and it does not have harsh rules on how you can build your features. This can easily lead to having more flexibility when solving problems using a variety of different methods.

I think it's important to mention the community here. Ruby really took off in 2006 and in the 24 years since it released it has become the 8th largest community on StackOverflow, has the 5th most popular meetup community, is the 3rd most tagged language on GitHub and probably on here around the top 5 most talked about topics.

(If someone could confirm that last one for me that would be great)

When having issues with Ruby it seems like there are many places you can go to get help from people with lots of experience that can offer vital advice for now and the future.

Rubys future

It's impossible to predict the future for anything. But we can have a pretty good guess right? Ruby has only continued to grow since it's release, with the continuous development of the language and the Rails library more and more people are using it for their products.

Seeing as Ruby has been named one of the top 10 languages in the world it's quite clear that it has a very bright future ahead. However; with new languages constantly being made could Ruby end up being replaced (well not fully), could a new language take over its popularity? It's possible but I don't see it happening any time soon.

What's hot

I think many people have been waiting for me to mention one thing specific in this thread. But what is hot with Ruby and what are people loving?

Rails

Rails is a web application framework that makes everything a whole ton easier. And if you didn't know by now this website is running on rails! Since it's release in 2004 by David Heinemeier Hansson it has exploded in popularity. Some people even saying that Rails has made Ruby more popular. Rails is now used some of the most popular websites in the world such as: GitHub, Twitch, Airbnb and SoundCloud. With 42,000+ stars and over 3,700+ contributors on GitHub it is truly becoming even more popular by the day.

Metasploit

Metasploit is an open source security project designed to find vulnerabilities in computer systems, networks and websites. Developed by the Rapid7 team and publicy released in 2014 the project has been a hit with penetration testers.

Homebrew

If you're a Mac user then the chances are you know what Homebrew is. Homebrew is a package manager that simplifies the install of software on macOS and Linux. With having 16,000+ stars and 640+ contributors on GitHub it is constantly updated and forever improving the work flow of developers.

Worth the read

Since it's release there have been several books, articles and other entities regarding Ruby. Here are some that I have found that are truly worth the read:

AMA by David Heinemeier Hansson the creator of Rails Link

Why Ruby is Awesome - By Jay McGavren Link

Is Ruby a dying language? - By unkown Quora contributor Link

Why do people like Ruby? - Dev.to post by @casey Brooks Link

Conclusion

In conclusion Ruby has a big history behind it, and has a very bright future ahead. Aka Ruby is awesome! With more and more people using the language for their products it is inovating minds to become intelligent developers.

How did I do?

This is the first of a few threads I have in mind and still tweaking a few things, I'd love some feedback on how it's structured, other information that could be included. And if someone could think of a better name I'll owe you a lot of cookies!

Happy deving!

Discussion (2)

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tadman profile image
Scott Tadman

Even if Ruby was a dying language, which it isn't, it'd be worth learning to get a taste for how Ruby approaches problems.

It's a fantastic language for beginners with a fairly easy syntax and very succinct but descriptive method names, but it's also subtly powerful because of a very rich standard library and a huge repository of "gem" community-contributed add-in code.

You may want to call this "Why does Ruby keep coming up?" as people not familiar with it may wonder why it gets so much attention when it's a relative outsider compared to PHP and C#.

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rapidnerd profile image
George Marr Author

Completely agree with you, I don't see Ruby dying at all right now or in the near future if anything it's just going to continue to spike in popularity. I've suggested to people before to learn Ruby as it's one of the most friendly languages I've ever touched.