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> I just started programming about a month ago. I've started learning
> Ruby, C++, and Java just to get a feel for languages. I'm really liking
> ruby but I'm getting bored of doing super basic programs.(No more Hello
> World's) At the same time I'm totally lost when looking at any of the
> code snippets posted on this forum. I was wondering if anyone had any
> suggestions for getting better/more familiar without taking a class(I'm
> going to take one next semester at school)

Hey! You should take a look at Shoes. It's a ruby-based domain specific language for GUIs. It's tremendously rewarding for a beginner to see the effects of their work visually, and Shoes is perfect as it is made with beginners in mind, so it's not too hard to use.

It comes with a nice, built-in manual, which you can read to get an idea of use, and lots of sample apps. The shoebox website also has many appshat others have made and posted, so that's a good source, and there are also many tutorials around the web for shoes. It's simple to get startedith, but you can go pretty far with it, very far beyond "super basic programs" if you need to. Just come up with ideas for desktop programs, aimple game perhaps, and start figuring out how to make it with the built-in manual. 

The shoes website is temporarily http://shoes.heroku.com and if you have any problems, you can always ask in the google group http://groups.google.com/group/shoooes/

The shoes community is quite active, and helpful, and I think it's a great start for programmers. In fact, a couple of people have done "Introduction to Programming" classes to kids using Shoes, because it's fun and generates a lot of interest, and isn't too difficult to get started. Have fun! :)

- Ehsan
 		 	   		  
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