why the lucky stiff
why at poignantguide.net
Wed May 12 20:45:03 EDT 2004
Dick Davies wrote:
>WPGTR stands out because of its narrative nature, so I'm not sure I feel
>right saying 'x should be covered in chapter y' because that might
>jar with the flow....
Yeah, see I feel like the narrative flow is much more important than
trying to teaching concepts in order. Yeah, sure, there's steps you
gotta take, but I think as long as each concept works in its
chronological context, then the thing works as a whole. It doesn't make
the book a very good reference, but we've already got references. I'm
not interested in rewriting the Pickaxe.
>But do you have a clear idea of who you're teaching? Is a Ruby newcomer
>the same as a programming newcomer, for example?
I'm speaking to the simplest of programming newcomers. Within reason.
It's not worth explaining floppy drives and processor architecture and
memory management. I'm not going to touch GC. I'm not interested in
covering everything. I'm not interested in validating Ruby on a
corporate level. That's all besides the point.
Users these days are sensing the dialogue with their computer. They
type in URLs, these cryptic combinations of letters and dots and colons
and slashes. And it takes them places. I just want to be the next step
for them. So that they can personally witness a language worth speaking
and visualize how it could expand their relationships with their machines.
And, to be honest, I just want the thing to be poignant. I want it to
evoke the poignant feelings I have when I see Ruby work.
Like this. Today I needed to recursively convert a bunch of files to
file mode 0644. I probly could have done it with `find' and `chmod'
piped. But I'm more comfortable with Ruby, so I did:
File.chmod( 0644, *Dir["**/*.txt"] )
And it worked. I yelped. I absolutely love that it works that way.
I'm four years into using Ruby and I still get giddy. (Yeah, not a good
example for beginners.)
Anyway, to answer your question, I think both Ruby newcomers and
programming newcomers can benefit from a book that acts as a visually
engaging foray into a beautiful language. But I really want to bring in
the innocents, because these other types are always in and out.
Seriously, thanks for your comments, Dick.
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