On Wed, Apr 13, 2011 at 3:30 AM, Vincent Manis <vmanis / telus.net> wrote:
> OK, so here's another kick at the can.
>
> 1. I would be willing to draft a `Totally New To Programming' page for ruby-lang.org, if
> there's sentiment that this would be a useful thing.

I for one would approve of this.

It wouldn't even have to be in depth, just enough to get one going,
and do so in an easy to understand fashion (which makes jargon
problematic).

> 3. An IDE for beginners should be relatively limited, with relatively few dingbats and
> gizmos to confuse. It should focus on offering basic editing facilities, along with the
> ability to write and run programs. Beginners don't need API documentation, though
> a Ruby reference card would probably be handy.

Cheat sheets are very nice to have, but I wouldn't discard API
documentation completely. But it'd have to be made a bit more
accessible to Joe Average (who may or may not be a plumber), than the
current documentation is. Maybe condensed into what's used often, and
should be known to every one using Ruby.

> Such an IDE should be something that can be included with the installers, and depend
> upon nothing else. Of course the model here is Python's IDLE, which IMHO isn't
> suitable for serious programming, but on the other hand is very useful for getting started
> with Python. I used to use it in all my Python courses, even with programmers who
> presumably knew other editors well.

Well, if there is a single download for beginners, this download can
deploy what is needed. It'd be necessary to keep download sizes
small(ish), though.

> And that suggests using Tk as the GUI, because that's included in every Ruby
> distribution. So the one-click installers could thus incorporate a basic IDE that
> was at least useful enough to get people started.

irb(main):001:0> require 'tk'
LoadError: no such file to load -- tk
        from <internal:lib/rubygems/custom_require>:29:in `require'
        from <internal:lib/rubygems/custom_require>:29:in `require'
        from (irb):1
        from C:/Ruby192/bin/irb:12:in `<main>'

Not any more. Though, I guess that it'd be easy to create something
with other toolkits, or to use Shoes.

> Is there any sentiment that this would all be a worthwhile effort?

Certainly.

-- 
Phillip Gawlowski

Though the folk I have met,
(Ah, how soon!) they forget
When I've moved on to some other place,
There may be one or two,
When I've played and passed through,
Who'll remember my song or my face.