RUBY NEWSGROUP FAQ -- Welcome to comp.lang.ruby!  (Revised 2000-12-28)

This FAQ contains information for those who want to:

  1) learn more about Ruby, and want to
  2) post to comp.lang.ruby or to the ruby-lang mail list, or want to
  3) provide anonymous feedback to help us improve Ruby.

This FAQ is normally posted every 2 weeks or so.

1 About Ruby.

1.1 What is Ruby?

    Ruby is a very high level, fully OO programming language. Indeed,
    Ruby is one of the relatively few pure OO languages. Yet despite
    its conceptual simplicity, Ruby is still a powerful and practical
    "industrial strength" development language.

    Ruby selectively integrates many good ideas taken from Perl,
    Python, Smalltalk, Eiffel, ADA, Clu, and Lisp.  (Ruby is more
    fully OO than Python in so far as basic types such as hashes can
    be subclassed. See Ruby FAQ 1.4.) Ruby combines these ideas in a
    natural, well-coordinated system that embodies the principles of
    least effort and least surprise to a substantially greater extent
    than most comparable languages--i.e. you get more bang for your
    buck, and what you write is more likely to give you what you
    expected to get.  Ruby is thus a relatively easy to learn, easy to
    read, and easy to maintain language, yet it is very powerful and
    sophisticated.

    In addition to common OO features, Ruby also has threads,
    singleton methods, mix-ins, fully integrated closures and
    iterators, plus proper meta-classes.   Ruby has a true
    mark-and-sweep garbage collector, which makes code more reliable
    and simplifies writing extensions.  In summary, Ruby provides a
    very powerful and very easy to deploy "standing on the shoulders
    of giants" OO scaffolding/framework so that you can more quickly
    and easily build what you want to build, to do what you want to
    do.

    For many former Perl and Python users seeking a more uniform and a
    more powerful set of higher level OO programming capabilities
    without the complexities of C++, or the compromises of Java, or
    the subtleties of Smalltalk, Ruby is a "much better Perl than
    Perl" and a "significantly better Python than Python". (This is no
    small feat, since these languages contributed some big innovations
    to the field of development programming languages.) You could
    characterize the Ruby philosophy as "there's a better way to do
    it" (TABWTDI).

    Finally, Ruby is an "open source" development programming
    language.

1.2 Where can I find out more about Ruby?

    Ruby's home web site:

        http://www.ruby-lang.org/en (Ruby English language home page.)

            Follow the links to documentation, downloads, the Ruby
            Application Archive, the Ruby mail list archives, and lots
            of other interesting information.

    Ruby's other major on-line documentation and links site:

        http://www.rubycentral.com

    Ruby FAQ:

        http://www.rubycentral.com/faq/

    Ruby User's Guide (introductory tutorial):

        http://www.math.sci.hokudai.ac.jp/~gotoken/ruby/
        (Look under "Documents" heading.)

    Ruby Reference Manual:

        http://www.ruby-lang.org/en/doc.html

    Ruby classes, modules, and methods reference:

        http://www.rubycentral.com/ref/

    English language Ruby book list:

        "Programming Ruby, A Pragmatic Guide"
        by Dave Thomas and Andrew Hunt
        Addison Wesley, 2000, ISBN: 0201710897

        (Part of this book is already on the Internet; see
        http://www.rubycentral.com/ref/ -- this is a great,
        "absolutely must have", best-of-breed book.)

        Eratta: http://www.pragmaticprogrammer.com/ruby/errata.html

    Forthcoming English language Ruby book list:

        "The Ruby Programming Language"
        by Yukihiro Matsumoto (aka Matz) and Keiju Ishitsuka
        Addison Wesley, January 12, 2001, ISBN: 0-201-71096-X

        FYI: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/020171096X

    Search past postings to comp.lang.ruby or the ruby-lang mail list
    (which have been mirrored to each other since mid-2000):

        http://www.deja.com/home_ps.shtml
        (Enter comp.lang.ruby in the "forum" entry field.)

        http://blade.nagaokaut.ac.jp/ruby/ruby-talk/index.shtml

2 About comp.lang.ruby.

2.1 Tell me about comp.lang.ruby.

    comp.lang.ruby was officially approved in early May, 2000. Here
    is the official charter:

        CHARTER: comp.lang.ruby

        The comp.lang.ruby newsgroup is devoted to discussions of the
        Ruby programming language and related issues.

        Examples of relevant postings include, but are not be limited
        to, the following subjects:

        - Bug reports
        - Announcements of software written with Ruby
        - Examples of Ruby code
        - Suggestions for Ruby developers
        - Requests for help from new Ruby programmers

        The newsgroup is not moderated.  Binaries are prohibited
        (except the small PGP type). Advertising is prohibited (except
        for announcements of new Ruby-related products).

        END CHARTER.

2.2 Tell me the posting guidelines for comp.lang.ruby.

    (You should also follow these guidelines for the ruby-list mail
    list, since it is mirrored to comp.lang.ruby.)

    (1) Keep your content relevant and easy to follow. Try to keep
        your content brief and to the point, but also try to include
        all relevant information.

        (a) The general format guidelines (aka USENET Netiquette) are
            matters of common sense and common courtesy that make life
            easier for 3rd parties to follow along (in real time or
            when perusing archives):

            - PLEASE NOTE! Include quoted text from previous posts
              *BEFORE* your responses. And *selectively* quote as much
              as is relevant.
            - Use *plain* text; don't use HTML, RTF, or Word. Most
              mail or newsreader program have an option for this; if
              yours doesn't, get a (freeware) program or use a
              web-based service that does.
            - Include examples from files as *in-line* text; don't
              use attachments.

        (b) If reporting a problem, give *all* the relevant
            information the first time; this isn't the psychic friends
            newsgroup.  When appropriate, include:

            - The version of Ruby. ("ruby -v")
            - The compiler name and version used to build Ruby.
            - The OS type and level. ("uname -a")
            - The actual error messages.
            - An example (preferably simple) that produces the
              problem.

        (c) If reporting a bug, please copy (cc:) your post to:

                mailto:ruby-bugs / ruby-lang.org

            This will enter your report into the Ruby bug database.
            You can browse the database at:

                http://www.ruby-lang.org/cgi-bin/ruby-bugs

    (2) Make the subject line maximally informative, so that people
        who should be interested will read your post and so that people
        who wouldn't be interested can easily avoid it.

        *Usefully* describe the contents of your post:

            This is OK:

                "How can I do x with y on z?"
                "Problem: did x, expected y, got z."
                "Bug: doing x with module y crashed z."

            This is *NOT* OK:

                "Please help!!!"
                "Newbie question"
                "Need Ruby guru to tell me what's wrong"

    (3) Finally, be considerate: don't be too lazy. If you are
        seeking information, first make a reasonable effort to look it
        up. As appropriate, check the Ruby home page, check the Ruby
        FAQ and other documentation, use deja.com to search past
        comp.lang.ruby postings, and so on.

2.3 Tell me about the prolific Matz poster.

    Matz (aka Yukihiro Matsumoto) is the wizard who created Ruby for
    us, so be nice to him. He is very busy, so be patient when asking
    questions. See the Ruby home page to find out more about him and
    his work. I founded comp.lang.ruby at his suggestion. Contrary to
    lots of skepticism, it was approved on the first attempt, with 200
    yes votes.

3. Anything else?

    If you are new to Ruby (or haven't previously taken the Ruby User
    Survey), please take a moment to anonymously tell us about your
    programming background and about your Ruby-related interests. The
    results will be reported back to the Ruby community from time to
    time. This helps us do a better job of helping each other, and to
    more effectively expand the Ruby community for our mutual benefit.
    The survey is at:

        http://dev.rubycentral.com/survey.html

    This FAQ was produced by Conrad Schneiker (schneiker / jump.net).
    I'm interested in corrections and suggestions, but remember that
    the purpose of this FAQ is to be a brief and simple introduction
    for new comp.lang.ruby readers.

    In closing, one of the reasons that Ruby was designed to be
    relatively simple, uniform, yet very powerful was to make serious
    programming (among other kinds) fun.  We hope you will help us
    keep comp.lang.ruby fun as well. Enjoy.  :-)