One of the most common questions that we receive from new students is, Why are we learning Ruby? With the number of programming languages in use today, it can be difficult to decide on what language to learn, especially if you haven’t been exposed to the world of programming much yet.
In a previous blog post we talked about what Ruby on Rails is. Since we’ve covered that and have a working knowledge of the language itself, is it actually worth learning?
A couple questions we have to ask ourselves are, Is Ruby used widely in well supported apps? Also, is the language well supported by the development community? We wouldn’t want to spend time and effort learning a language if it is soon be be phased out. Like if you were moving to another country, you wouldn’t learn the languages from 1000 years ago, you’d learn the current supported language.
Now that we have laid out the basis of our search, does Ruby meet those standards? First, is Ruby being used in popular apps and websites? This one is fairly easy to answer. Hulu, Twitch and Twitter are all completely built using Ruby on Rails. There are many many more but these are some massive sites that utilize Ruby.
Second, is Ruby supported by the development community? Something that exists and is somewhat unique to Ruby, are RubyGems. Gems can be thought of as small programs that you can use in your codebase, freeing up huge amounts of time. As an example, Devise is a authentication Gem that builds the entire user interface, allowing new users, forgotten passwords and much more. That Gem, at the time of this post has 26,223,272 downloads.
Another area that we can look to is the support channels that exist online for Ruby along with other languages. Stack Overflow is a support website that allows people to post questions and receive answers from anyone in the world. Right now on that site, if you search for questions tagged with the word ‘ruby’ you receive over 180,000 active questions. The support in the Ruby community is fantastic and is getting better daily.
The creator of Ruby was Yukihiro Matsumoto. There is an acronym that Ruby developers base their work off of. It is MINASWAN. It stands for Matz Is Nice And So We Are Nice. This simple acronym has created a community full of people looking to help and support others.
So is Ruby worth learning? We think so.