RUBY NEWSGROUP FAQ -- Welcome to comp.lang.ruby!  (Revised 2000-09-17)

This FAQ contains information for those who want to:

  1) learn more about Ruby, and want to
  2) post to comp.lang.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.

        http://www.ruby-lang.org/en/whats.html (Ruby feature list.)

    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 books:

        Some English-language Ruby books are in the works; the ones
        mentioned in comp.lang.ruby to date are:

            <<English title to be determined.>>
            by Yukihiro Matsumoto (aka Matz) and Keiju Ishitsuka
            Addison Wesley, 2001

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

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

    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 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.

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

    (1) First of all, 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) 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.

        (a) Start with one of these keywords if appropriate:

            ANNOUNCE -- new Ruby code, docs, or URLs of interest.
            Bug      -- report a definite bug.
            Job      -- advertise a Ruby-related job.
            OT       -- off topic.
            Problem  -- any sort of problem with using Ruby.
            Product  -- advertise a Ruby-related product.

        (b) 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) 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) General format guidelines:

            - Use plain text; don't use HTML, RTF, or Word.
            - Include examples from files as in-line text; don't
              use attachments.
            - PLEASE NOTE! Include quoted text from previous posts
              *BEFORE* your responses. And *selectively* quote as much
              as is relevant.

        (b) If reporting a problem, give all the relevant information;
            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

3. Anything else?

    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.  :-)