Olivier Lacan

Software bricoleur, word wrangler, scientific skeptic, and logic lumberjack.

Diving into Ruby, Head First.

Written on November 07, 2015 in Paris, France

I did technical reviewing for Jay McGavren's new and excellent Head First Ruby book which comes out November 30th. I can tell you that it's by far the best book I've ever read for people who are new to programming, new to Ruby, and new to Object-oriented thinking. That said, I'm neither, and I still found it a great read.

You should pre-order a copy on Amazon while it's still 43% off ($25.70 instead of $44.99).

After five years, Ruby is still a joy for me to use every single day. It baffles me that people refrain from using it because their friend's uncle's sister's brother's mother's friend told them "it doesn't scale". You know what scales incredibly well with Ruby? The code. Refactoring code, expanding it, breaking it into parts that communicate with each other like a living organism would. Most of what you do with software is not scaling, it's changing the code.

It's not just Ruby, the tool, that I cherish. It's the people of Ruby. Its creators, maintainers, and the people who sustain its community by inviting more people to it. Often, I see people making technological choices based solely on the merits of the tools. They forget to care about whether the makers of the tools are friendly or helpful human beings. But tools are made by people, and people are flawed. The flaws of their tools reflect their own flaws. Put differently, if people who dislike other people make tools, then their tools will tend to disregard people or even treat them poorly, as a second thought.

I don't think I have to give you examples of people-unfriendly technology. There's still far too much of it around. I believe Ruby is a beacon in a sea of tools designed to achieve an end at whatever human cost. It's not the only beacon, but it's the one I chose, and I'm still very happy with it.

I've managed to scale my professional life with Ruby. We run a business with 2 Million users using mostly Ruby and yet we don't wake up in the middle of the night because Ruby stopped scaling. We spend far more time stressing out about operations, support, building course content, designing the best software we can for our users, and communicating with each other.

I wish the kinds of programming joys I experience daily to everyone who wants to learn how to build good, sustainable, satisfying software that focuses on helping human beings learn more and build better tools. I think Head First Ruby is a good place to start.

PS: Amazon doesn't offer the ebook version of this book. You can buy the early release ebook version if you want to start reading today. It will be updated once the book is published.