Hi,

From: "Chris Pine" <nemo / hellotree.com>
>
[...]

> Finally, I remember when *I* was learning Ruby.  Simple text files were easy
> to understand.  I found irb confusing until I understood basic programming
> in Ruby.  Plain and simple.  I doubt if anyone learned on irb first, and I
> imagine most people found it harder to understand when they were nubies.

I learned on IRB first... If it hadn't existed I would have written it.
(A simplified version, albeit. :)  ..... It's somewhat baffling to me
why, in learning a language, one would deliberately eschew something so
interactive that gives such immediate feedback like IRB.

I started out in BASIC (in 1980), and it was interactive.  My next
language was Forth... highly interactive.  From there onto C and C++,
and I was thoroughly irked by the lack of an interactive development
environment (profoundly different from a source level debugger.)
When I got to Perl, I was ecstatic, 'cause one of the first things I
realized I could write was:

  perl -e "while(<>){$_=eval;print qq' => $_ $@\n'}"

... which is like a mini "IRB" for Perl... Essentially the Ruby 
equivalent of:

  ruby -e "while gets; puts eval $_; end"

Then on to Smalltalk, where I was again in heaven with the interactive
development capabilities (kind of squared, in smalltalk :)

Finally on to Ruby, where it's prolly not too surprising how thrilled
I was to find IRB waiting for me...

So.... I'm wondering if some of the disagreement (just jumping into
this thread here :) might be somehow associated with personal 
preference?  Because as a beginner, in BASIC and Forth, I found the
interactivity of those languages highly appealing in learning to
program, and learning the language....  Almost as appealing
[and indespensible] as I find IRB now.

So if I can presume some "nubys" out there think and experiment and
learn the way I do, I'd imagine IRB would be perfect for them as a
learning tool (perhaps, as has been noted, with --simple-prompt :).
...But, I don't know what percentage of total nubys these people
represent.


Just pitchin in the $0.02...

Regards,

Bill