> But that's precisely one of the reasons why I think irb is good.
> Getting the student to write things on a file has two downsides:
>    1) More things they can do wrong.
>    2) Takes longer to realize and correct their mistakes.

True.

> As long as the student is doing one-liners, there is no downside to irb.
>
> Perhaps we should start using files as soon as we start multiple-line
> statements.
>
> Does that sound like a good idea?

Yes, that makes sense.  My real comment was to do with the multi-line scripts. 
I think it's a pain doing that stuff in irb ... but, of course, I've been 
using the same editor (vi, now vim) for 25 years, so keeping things in files 
is second-nature, whereas I see your point that it is yet another thing to 
learn for a newbie.

> Also, I took Chris' suggestion and dropped the terms 'Fixnum' and 'Float'
> in the first chapters.  Here is my plan:
>
> Chapter 1:  Discuss numbers.  Call them integers and decimals.
> Chapter 2:  Discuss text.  Introduce the term string, but keep saying
>             'text'.
> Chapter 3:  Title:  "New names for old thins".
>         Just a brief chapter to say that Ruby uses the names 'Fixnum',
>         'Float' and 'String' for integers, decimals and text.  And
>         it uses the word 'method' for the things that each can do.
>         Mention the methods the've already seen.
>
> Thoughts?

That sounds good to me.  The "right" terms are just more things for them to 
learn.  Keeping away from that stuff until they gain a little confidence is 
probably a good idea.

H.