Trying on the Ruby ring

A couple of weekends ago I finally got my feet wet with Ruby on Rails by following along with this OnLAMP tutorial. I didn't even finish the walk-through (yet), but I'm super-impressed. Rails and Ruby both seem to be incredibly powerful, easy, and fun. Now I find Amy Hoy's review of / supplement to the OnLAMP article, which fills in some holes and give you some of the "why" behind the examples. It also does a nice job of summarizing the experience of playing with the new language:

... Ruby (not just Rails) has very lax rules when it comes to syntax. But without an explanation, you might not immediately realize how lax. (Hint: The answer is 'very lax.')

You don't have to use semicolons—but you can. You don't have to use parentheses—but you can. You don't have to use curly braces on code blocks—although, of course, you can. Variables don't start with $, either, unless they're globals—but they do sometimes start with @ as we've seen.

I used to wrinkle my nose at code with so few constraints, especially the lack of variable signifiers (mmm, I like associating coding with $$$!) in languages like Python and Ruby. But I was wrong, and perhaps just a tiny bit scarred by my PERL experience. But Ruby is gorgeous—spare like a Japanese tea room, as functional as a Zen studio. I want to marry Ruby and have its babies. But I have the feeling that a language like Ruby lives a life that resembles its syntax; I'm sure it's not looking for that kind of emotional entanglement. Somehow, I soldier on.

Good stuff. Someday I will spend some more time futzing around with this junk. I might even get the book.

Also note Justin French's experience after he switched (seemingly whole-hog) from PHP to Rails.