Chapter 14. Traveling Farther with Ruby
If you're one of those developers who has never ventured outside the world of shrink-wrapped software, you've probably never heard of Ruby, the programming language I introduced in Chapter 13, "Traveling with Ruby on Rails," not the gem. As I noted in the last chapter Ruby, the language, is an object-oriented language that was created by Yukihiro Matsumoto of Japan and released into the wild in 1995. Ruby has many advantages over other programming languages that fill the same niche.
The first of these advantages is that Ruby is interpreted instead of compiled. On the surface, this might sound like a disadvantage, but it really isn't. Because I'm currently running only Windows XP, at times there has been a binary version of a program that only works on another operating system, such as Linux. However, with a scripted language such as Ruby, as long as I've installed it, I am good to go. Now all I need is to find a Ruby version of Hunt the Wumpus, and I'm all set.
Like Godzilla, it has expanded beyond its humble roots as a glimmer in its creator's eye to become something of a cult phenomenon. Oh, I mean cult in the good senseno chanting or wearing funny clothes like those strange people who get dressed up to go to Renaissance festivals.
Seriously, Ruby is an object-oriented language that has capabilities and features that today's fast-paced development environment needs. And did I mention that Ruby is open source? Yes, when you get past the cost of the hardware, all that's required is the cost of an Internet connection and the time that it takes to download and install. I'd do the math for you, but fractions are not really my strong suit.
Instead, you can take a closer look at Ruby's data types while I take off the sword belt. Because there are unwritten rules that grapefruit must be served in halves and all introductions to programming languages must start with data types, we start there.
There is that word again, Ajax. You knew that it would pop up again somewhere. There is, however, a minor difference; basically, we take a quick look at the generated code to see how it works. I don't know about you, but I've always paid attention to the man behind the curtain.