Sunday, June 13, 2010

A real (Ruby) Gem

Perhaps there's something about the Ruby language or its community that make it especially user-friendly to clueless programmers like myself! I've bought two books about the language, Programming Ruby, by Dave Thomas, et al., and Learning to Program, by Chris Pine (no, not the Chris Pine from the recent Star Trek movie - though it appears that this Chris Pine was (wholly?) responsible for the game Civilisation III. I have a copy of Civilisation II and treasure it - maybe I should check out III too.

Anyway, there's something about these two books - both from the Pragmatic Programmers - which make them really easy to understand. I'd like to think part of the reason I'm having more success (so far - it's early days) is that I'm sitting down, as I said in my last post, for a planned hour each day, whereas in the past I have bitten off great chunks, as and when I could fit them in. Not a good idea to learn anything really! But I really do applaud the PP's for their light-hearted, easily readable and understandable side - some computer books could, unfortunately, bore the pants off the nerdiest of computer geeks, but these guys actually make programming fun. I'd like to know what other people think of them, too - this kind of thing is so very definitely personal taste! Anyway, I've done my hour of programming and managed to get a bit of blogging in, too - so I'm going to sign off now. Good night!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Time Management

Hello again!

Well, it's been nearly three years since I last updated this blog. Time management was never my strongpoint, unfortunately, which interferes not only with learning to program but everything else. Though 98 times out of 100 I manage to get to work ok (famous last words?), it took me an hour to get out of the house this morning to do some shopping.. Due to the fact that I'm an observant Jew (though some would, of course, disagree - my affiliation of choice is (British) Reform Judaism, which is more conservative than its famous American counterpart but still not orthodox), I don't shop on the Sabbath and have therefore found it more convenient, since moving, to work Sundays to Thursdays. Since then, I've gotten a job (as I reported in my second-to-last post), made new friends, moved home, but still am no programmer! I'm hoping that my new regime of doing an hour a day of programming (made possible by the new move, though I'm not going to pretend I started it the day I moved in) is going to enable me to actually learn something. In the short time I was learning to program whilst writing this blog previously, my Language of Choice was Python, but I never could get used to the method of constructing a code block (solely) by indenting the body of the block - good programming practice of course, but unpleasant (or so I thought) on its own. I've therefore since switched to using Ruby, and its object-oriented focus (and, of course, keywords to indicate the start and ends of blocks) is something I much prefer. IIRC, Python can do object-orientation too, but I just prefer Ruby's way of doing it! So, let's see if this attempt (not the second, not the third... in fact I've stopped counting how many times I've made abortive attempts to learn to program!) gets us any farther!