If you use Rails, take a few minutes to learn Ruby

Posted in ruby on rails by mtjhax on February 9, 2010

I’m sure I’m not the first person to code three or four complete Ruby on Rails projects before bothering to learn the finer points of Ruby, but after looking at some old code I’ve gotta say I wish I had spent a day just reading Pickaxe or Why’s (poignant) Guide before I jumped in with both feet.

There are dozens of examples of my former Ruby stupidity in virtually any module on my hard disk. They mostly fall into the category of “doing things the C++ way instead of learning the Ruby way”. For example:

  if !my_param.nil? && my_param.is_a?(Integer) && my_param >= 0 && my_param < 10
    # do stuff

Tsk tsk. Terrible mess. Imagine an entire module full of that. The following is just so much better:

  if (0..9).include?(my_param)
    # do stuff

This one method properly deals with nil and non-integer values. Nice!

Of course, I don’t blame C++ for my cluttered code — one could easily create their own syntactic sugar in C++ for common tasks like parameter-checking. The point is that Ruby has all these cute tricks already, and you should be making your life easier by using them!

If you happen by this post, I invite you to share your own favorite Ruby tricks.

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