Ages ago I claimed I was going to learn a new language, or something. I can’t remember just what I said I was going to do, but I’m pretty sure I havent done it, and certainly not as far as I thought I would. I think it might have been Flash, which I havent looked at since.

But someone (Tom?) suggested I took a look at Ruby. So I have, just a little look, I’m meant to be doing something else. But you can try too – zero install, low pain. Go here and try the on-line Ruby demo – neat it just runs in your browser so an excellent way to try before committing. (I have a total fear of installing anything on my dev machine in case it quietly changes some component I don’t want changed). And this is easier than firing up a VPC.

Let us know what you think.



4 Responses to “Ruby”

  1. gobansaor Says:

    Yes it was probably me, I’ve never regretted learning Ruby (and RoR), although I rarely use it in anger I find it useful as a quick way of taking a deep dive into new technology (for example see

    This summer (or should I call it this rainy season) I’m hoping to learn Smalltalk, primarily to teach it to my son who’s already discovered MIT’s Scratch ( but now wants to the know the ‘magic incantations’ (Smalltalk in the form of Squeak) behind the scenes.

    Squeak is also the code behind the OLPC (one laptop per child) project’s EToys kids programming language. And to top it all, back in the world of data, one of the better online database/spreadsheet products, DabbleDB ( is written in the Smalltalk based Seaside web framework.


  2. Harlan Grove Says:

    I have no love for SmallTalk myself. I taught one of my kids some simple turtle graphics in Logo a few years ago. Me, I like teaching nice, simple Logo more than yucky OO languages.

    I can see what you might do with Ruby on Rails, but what would an Excel developer do with any 3rd party scripting language that wouldn’t cause many more distribution headaches than apparently already exist from the profusion of different .Net framework versions out in the wild?

    As a personal use scripting language, it’s great, but the only nearly ubiquitous scripting languages on Windows systems are VBScript and JScript. Any one else here dabbling with PowerShell, MSFT’s presumed successor to COMMAND.COM and CMD.EXE?

  3. Simon Says:

    “what would an Excel developer do with any 3rd party scripting language”?
    I don’t know yet Harlan.
    There is such a buzz about it though that its worth an hour to see. In general I think you are right about additional headaches. I don’t see any fit with the current Excel dev world, but I think that world is about to change (more focus on servers). In 3 years maybe we’ll all be doing xl – RoR migration projects. (maybe not too).

  4. Marcus Says:

    The demand for Ruby skills in London has skyrocketed of late.

    However, you’ll also notice that Ruby jobs still represent less than half of one percent of total demand in programming languages. While I find many technologies interesting, unfortunately I don’t have the luxury of time to delve deeper unless I perceive a tangible ROI. Or to put a twist on Churchill; “However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results”.

    You’re right though Simon – having a play for an hour or so isn’t such a bad way to test the waters. I did the same with RealBasic. But after a quick play I had a look at the marketplace and couldn’t justify further investment.

    I have however, used vbScript in Excel solutions as a means of executing some house keeping tasks.

    Add-In: Currently working two projects so add-in development has been reduced to a trickle.

    Cheers – Marcus

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