Category Archives: Programming

Ruby Summer Conference Extravaganza

As this summer wraps up, I’d like to thanks Arlington Ruby for their Unconference and Steel City Ruby Conf for putting together great events.

The events were both accessible and affordable, the latter being unfortunately uncommon for many conferences. Also, while both events offered tracks that appealed to intermediate and expert Rubyists, they also offered content that very much met the goal of getting more people involved with the language and programming in general. Finally, the group of attendees and companies represented at both events made for a great time!

Some (Slightly Related) Ruby Links

CommanLineFu – A great resource for command line tricks and wizardry.  Their twitter feed that only tweets content over the 100 vote threshold is particularly useful for identifying the best of the best.  Of course if we are going to dive into command line tricks this XKCD is relevant.

RubyMotion – iOS development with Ruby.

SeuratJS – A Raphaël plugin for creating beautiful pointillized animations.

So I’ve been bad about getting programming posts up lately, and my Zero to Ruby series has suffered from a bit of a hiatus. The good news is that it’s because I’ve been busy pushing out my first real open source effort: SeuratJS.

As the title explains SeuratJS is a plugin for the SVG drawing library Raphaël and it was largely inspired by the work I put in developing the header for this site.  The library runs entirely on the client side and can transform an image into a pointillized rendition.  More uniquely, the library makes it extremely easy to animate the resulting points allowing for effects ranging from gentle fade-ins to randomized splattering of color that would make Jackson Pollock proud.

The library was officially released on June 15th and I’ve been floored by the response it’s gotten so far. Between three days of front paging /r/programming and being featured on Web Resources Depot I’ve had close to 4500 unique hits.  I have a set of new features and suggestions that I’m excited to get into the library shortly and it looks like I’ll have some help from the GitHub community.

TLDR; I have been getting some Ruby in and have updates coming soon, but in the mean time I’ve been having a ton of fun with JavaScript.

From Zero to Ruby – Update 1

I’ll start off by saying that  Ruby has taken a bit of a back seat to putting the finishing touches on this site over the least couple week.  Because the blog is built on top of WordPress most of stylistic touches end up being PHP on the server side. It’s been ages since I’ve used PHP, so it’s never bad to brush up, but as I’ve been going back and forth between it and Ruby, I will say that it is much less… friendly?  In either case I’ve been able to put together a couple cool pieces of code that, once I clean up, I’ll share.

So as far as progress on the Ruby front:

 Books & Lessons

Rails Best Practices (Code School) – I’ve had a Code School account for awhile, and I really enjoyed Rails for Zombies (1 & 2) so I more less picked up where I left off.


Arlington RUG – “Ruby on Audio” – A couple really cool presentations on using Ruby to create music.  Both presenters were great, but I will say Joel Straight’s Ruby Drum Machine may have stolen the show.

Relevant Links

100 Vim Commands Every Programmer Should Know – While not expressly Ruby related, I’ve been using Vim for the last 6 months or so as my primary text editor.  I’m decent with the commands, but I want to start working in a larger set of them for day-to-day use.

I hope to ramp up my Ruby intake over the next couple weeks now that the bones of this blog are in place.  More updates to come!

From Zero to Ruby (and Rails)

Over the last year or so I’ve dabbled in learning Ruby and Ruby on Rails.  Most of those attempts were one or two week long stints, and though these brief introductions have provided a superficial overview of the language, I’m a million  miles away from being able to call myself a Rubyist.

A bit back, I stumbled across an  article on Hacker News where a developer completely immersed himself in the language for a month.  Now a month isn’t a very long amount of time, especially with a full time job, but with a summer lull in grad school, I liked the idea enough that I’m committing to a similar regimen.

I’m going to spend the next 8 weeks consuming as much Ruby as I possibly can.  I’m going to provide weekly status updates to keep myself honest and to track my progress.  At the end of the 2 month stint I’m going to provide a breakdown of which books I thought were useful, any learning hacks I discover, and a compilation of resources I found to be useful.

I’ll provide my first update at the end of this weekend.  Wish me luck!