Ruby is a dynamic imperative, object-oriented programming language created by Yukihiro Matsumoto. It was inspired by the following programming languages: Perl, Smalltalk, and Eiffel. It is characterized by dynamic typing and automatic memory management.
Ruby is often used on projects in pair with the open web framework called Rails. That is why there is another common name for it – Ruby on Rails or just RoR.
Main advantages of Ruby
- Agile development.
- Works on multiple platforms.
- Can be embedded in HTML layout.
- Belongs to the family of very high-level programming languages (VHLL), meaning it has a high level of abstraction and a substantive approach to the implementation of algorithms.
- Implements a conceptually pure object-oriented paradigm;
- Provides advanced manipulation methods to work with text and strings.
- Allows easy integration of server databases (Sybase, DB2, Oracle, and MySQL) into its projects.
- Programs written in Ruby are well scaled and easy to maintain.
- Thanks to the simple and clean syntax, it is much easier for programmers to take the first steps in learning this language.
- Features a simple software interface for creating multi-threaded applications.
- Has many advanced tools that make your work with arrays much easier.
- Allows expanding its capabilities with the help of libraries written in C or Ruby.
- Allows using reserved words as identifiers if it does not create ambiguity for the parser.
- Has additional security features.
- Comes with a built-in debugger.
According to the information on the official website, Ruby is on the list of the top 10 most popular programming languages. Its popularity grows with each new product written in Ruby and especially in RoR. All files written in this programming language have one extension which is .rb. These files can be run as shell scripts using the interpreter.
Just like many other programming languages, Ruby lets you use a huge collection of third-party libraries. Most of them are “gems.” RubyGems is a Ruby package manager, created to simplify the process of sharing and installing Ruby libraries. This package manager is almost like apt-get with the only difference – it was created specifically for Ruby. Since the Ruby 1.9 release, RubyGems is used by default (in all previous versions you had to install the manager manually).
The best place to look for the Ruby libraries is the website RubyGems.org. Here you can download all kinds of libraries in the form of gems. You can search whatever you need on the website or use the gem command. Of course, there are more sources like this. For example, RubyForge that has been the most popular choice for gem seekers, however, today you should pay more attention to GitHub as it has become one of the main vaults with the source code for Ruby apps. In most cases, you should look for the source code on GitHub and gems on RubyGems.org.
Another Ruby-related project you should learn about is called The Ruby Toolbox. It was created to help enthusiasts with researching open-source projects written in Ruby. There you will find different categories for various development issues that contain tons of information about projects. Use the search to find everything you need.