Posts Tagged ‘podcast’

Learning Ruby through Assertions and Podcasts

Thursday, January 22nd, 2009

I’ve been working with the Ruby language since March 2008. So (as of this writing) I’m still on the n00b path.


The first thing I did was to follow the great advice of Dierk Koenig, writer of Groovy in Action and general Groovy / Grails advocate. The book itself doesn’t use the typical print-the-result-based code examples; it encourages the reader to learn the language through assertions. And that’s how I learned Groovy; I took the examples from the book, paraphrased them, tried variations on a theme, and then asserted that my results were true. Now when I need to know how to use a language feature, I simply look back at my assertion code to re-edjumicate myself.

I learned the core Ruby language via Test::Unit. I spent three weeks (please don’t laugh) worth of my daily commute writing assertions for the core language, the standard packages, plus ActiveRecord and other common gems. It allowed me to get a handle on the concepts, syntax, semantics and the sheer range of capabilities of he language. I frequently look back at my language_test_unit.rb to figure out the best use of Array.collect, catch..throw, Regexp quirks, and using declared lambdas as blocks (etc). More importantly, I’ve already written code using all of those techniques, so it’s just a referesher.

I cannot recommend this technique enough for coming up to speed on a language!


With that under my belt, plus some command-line scripts and a solid Rails project, I’m not spending time back-consuming posts from the following Podcast blogs:


Site : Feed

I’m actively back-consuming a lot of content from this wealth that Chris Matthieu has provided. There are some great talks on Journeta, using EC2, great tutorials covering basic and RoR, and some scaling recommendations.

sd.rb Podcast

Site : Feed

Straight from the mouth of the San Diego Ruby Users group. A good variety of topics, focusing more on the Ruby language than on the Rails poster-child itself. Nice talks on rspec, MySQL clustering and Arduino, amongst many others.


Site : Feed

With 145 postings and counting, there’s a lot to be consumed here. However, this is the last on my list, because none of them download to my iPhone 3G :( . Lots of cross coverage on Capistrano, Partials, custom Routes, ruby-debug … the list goes on.

Ruby on Rails Podcast

Site : Feed

Geoffrey Grosenbach’s podcasts are seminal. I’ll leave it up to the reader to pore through the years of accumulated wisdom. How can you go wrong when you’re part of the domain!

In Summary

A number of these feeds provide screencasts and/or video. A few of the files are old-school QuickTime MOVs which are problematic for the iPhone, which is annoying (definitely not the podcaster’s fault… get your head in gear, Apple). And unfortunately when I break away to write down something in, and there’s any visuals associated with the cast, the iPhone halts playback. Grr. So I’m getting into the archaic habit of creating a Notes page and mailing it to myself :)

I recommend each and all of these podcasts. Be prepared to sink a lot of time into them, so you might as well upload them onto your iPhone and take them to the beach!