Beginning Ruby: Some Serious Praise

I’ve been working now as the Assistant Systems Librarian for about a month, and I can safely say I’ve never had a job as challenging, occasionally frustrating, and sometimes satisfying as this one. I should preface that by saying I’ve never had a job that involved work I didn’t already know how to do, and so far, this job is almost entirely things I don’t know how to do.

My boss started me working on a Rails application on day one, and told me to just jump right in and start doing stuff. I have NEVER done any programming before this job. Well, I think I learned PASCAL in seventh grade, but my friends, that was a long time ago. And see, I’m the kind of person who really likes to understand what I’m doing before I start doing it. I like to do lots of background reading, and to feel that I have a nice, solid foundation under me before I start attempting to build. And in this job, I didn’t really have a lot of time to do that.

Before I even started the job, I got myself a copy of Learning Ruby by Michael Fitzpatrick. And I tried to read it, I really tried. But this book was definitely written for someone with some serious programming background. I mean, he was throwing out terms like code block and hashes and iteration like I was supposed to know what was what. And I really didn’t.

So I started looking for tutorials online, because everyone knows the internets are the best place to look for computer information. And I found some great stuff, including one verrrry funny comic/book/tutorial by the (apparently) famous why the lucky stiff. But as funny as the Poignant Guide is, I was still just not…quite…getting it.

Until I found Peter Cooper’s excellent Beginning Ruby: From Novice to Professional. I know, you’re thinking “Is she seriously talking about a computer book right now?” But this book is like a handy dandy paper-and-glue lifesaver. It’s the first guide I’ve seen aimed at people who are new to programming that is ACTUALLY useful for people new to programming. These concepts are sinking in. I am starting to see the light. I’m starting to feel like maybe I will know what I’m doing eventually, after all. I feel like that Stupid Cloud that has been sinking over my head for the past few weeks is starting to lift. It is quite a relief, as I really don’t like the Stupid Cloud.

So I’m still having good days and not-so-good days at work. When I can figure things out and make things work, I have a feeling of satisfaction that is kind of unparalleled, because I never thought that I would be able to make computers do things. And I have to heap some praise on the person who can write a programming book for non-programming people like me.

One thought on “Beginning Ruby: Some Serious Praise

  1. Peter Cooper

    And I will accept that praise! Haha, sorry, but many thanks for that. It’s really appreciated. I wrote the book from the same perspective that most programming language book writers did in the early 1980s when the microcomputer was first coming out. They had to write for the layman, because only laymen were actually buying microcomputers. All the computer science snobs were still clinging dearly to their mainframes! So the tradition is there, and it’s very sad that a lot of new writers prefer to maintain the snobby traditions than that of focusing on the layman.

    As an aside, Amazon has become almost a repository for reviews on my book, so if you have the time and an account over there, I’d really appreciate a portion of your review on there, but by no means do you have to 🙂

    Thanks again!


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