Completely new programmer lacks direction

Discussion in 'Ruby' started by Cameron Carroll, Dec 9, 2008.

  1. Hi. I recently picked up a beginning ruby book, having only lightly
    touched python and HLA before jumping into this, and I really lack the
    vision needed to form any programs. It's sort of a combination of not
    quite having a strong enough grasp over the language and its functions
    crossed against having absolutely no idea what kind of programs I want
    to write.
    So I'm just wondering what all of your first types of programs were...
    simple, no doubt, but I'm just looking for a starting point.

    Thank you! :)
    Cameron
    --
    Posted via http://www.ruby-forum.com/.
    Cameron Carroll, Dec 9, 2008
    #1
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  2. Cameron Carroll

    Glen Holcomb Guest

    [Note: parts of this message were removed to make it a legal post.]

    On Tue, Dec 9, 2008 at 11:18 AM, Cameron Carroll <>wrote:

    > Hi. I recently picked up a beginning ruby book, having only lightly
    > touched python and HLA before jumping into this, and I really lack the
    > vision needed to form any programs. It's sort of a combination of not
    > quite having a strong enough grasp over the language and its functions
    > crossed against having absolutely no idea what kind of programs I want
    > to write.
    > So I'm just wondering what all of your first types of programs were...
    > simple, no doubt, but I'm just looking for a starting point.
    >
    > Thank you! :)
    > Cameron
    > --
    > Posted via http://www.ruby-forum.com/.
    >
    >

    Are there any simple tasks you perform regularly or semi-regularly on your
    computer that you don't like doing or wouldn't mind automating? That can be
    a good place to start.

    --
    "Hey brother Christian with your high and mighty errand, Your actions speak
    so loud, I can't hear a word you're saying."

    -Greg Graffin (Bad Religion)
    Glen Holcomb, Dec 9, 2008
    #2
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  3. [Note: parts of this message were removed to make it a legal post.]

    Since you write that you're new to programming, you might like Learn to
    Program [ http://pragprog.com/titles/fr_ltp/learn-to-program ] by Chris
    Pine. I've read good things about it in the past.

    Regards,
    Craig
    Craig Demyanovich, Dec 9, 2008
    #3
  4. Cameron Carroll

    Tim Hunter Guest

    Cameron Carroll wrote:
    > Hi. I recently picked up a beginning ruby book, having only lightly
    > touched python and HLA before jumping into this, and I really lack the
    > vision needed to form any programs. It's sort of a combination of not
    > quite having a strong enough grasp over the language and its functions
    > crossed against having absolutely no idea what kind of programs I want
    > to write.
    > So I'm just wondering what all of your first types of programs were...
    > simple, no doubt, but I'm just looking for a starting point.
    >


    Why are you interested in programming? What kind of things do you
    propose to do with computer programs? (Hint: Think small. Your first
    program won't be a web browser, music player, or IM client. In fact I'd
    say it shouldn't even have a GUI. It should just write stuff to the
    terminal.)

    My first computer program computed the roots of a quadratic equation. A
    lot of people start with a program that prints the lyrics to "99 bottles
    of beer on the wall."

    --
    Posted via http://www.ruby-forum.com/.
    Tim Hunter, Dec 9, 2008
    #4
  5. Cameron Carroll wrote:
    > Hi. I recently picked up a beginning ruby book, having only lightly
    > touched python and HLA before jumping into this, and I really lack the
    > vision needed to form any programs. It's sort of a combination of not
    > quite having a strong enough grasp over the language and its functions
    > crossed against having absolutely no idea what kind of programs I want
    > to write.
    > So I'm just wondering what all of your first types of programs were...
    > simple, no doubt, but I'm just looking for a starting point.
    >
    > Thank you! :)
    > Cameron
    >

    My first 'real' program in any language I use is usually "Guess a number
    between x and y".
    I've discovered www.projecteuler.net though -- and have yet to write my
    usual 'guess the number' program in Ruby, as I did most of my learning
    Ruby on that website, solving problems.

    --Aldric
    Aldric Giacomoni, Dec 9, 2008
    #5
  6. Cameron Carroll

    Todd Benson Guest

    On Tue, Dec 9, 2008 at 12:18 PM, Cameron Carroll <> wrote:
    > Hi. I recently picked up a beginning ruby book, having only lightly
    > touched python and HLA before jumping into this, and I really lack the
    > vision needed to form any programs. It's sort of a combination of not
    > quite having a strong enough grasp over the language and its functions
    > crossed against having absolutely no idea what kind of programs I want
    > to write.
    > So I'm just wondering what all of your first types of programs were...
    > simple, no doubt, but I'm just looking for a starting point.


    Someone in a previous thread from about a year ago answered a similar
    question with something like: Pick a small task that will benefit you,
    because then you will have more volition to finish it.

    With that said, my first rubian (ruby dervish :) was simply to grab
    GPS NMEA statements using the serial port (much easier than it
    sounds). After that, I took on a monumental project that was too much
    for me, and it has been gathering dust ever since I started Ruby.
    I'll get back to it eventually.

    Todd
    Todd Benson, Dec 9, 2008
    #6
  7. On Tue, Dec 9, 2008 at 6:34 PM, Craig Demyanovich
    <> wrote:
    > Since you write that you're new to programming, you might like Learn to
    > Program [ http://pragprog.com/titles/fr_ltp/learn-to-program ] by Chris
    > Pine. I've read good things about it in the past.


    Yeah I bought that for my girlfriend. Then she got a bit stuck on the
    recursion exercise. I had a quick look
    and was very impressed by the example. Its a small book, but its
    proper stuff - its even covering Procs and
    stuff by the end.

    To the OP - motivation/inspiration is hard. The amount of seriously
    cool stuff going on in the ruby world
    can often be a distraction too. Its been a long time since Ruby was
    cool for just one thing.

    But you really need to start coding. Anything at all to build up the
    muscle memory. Its hard to get excited
    about a pet store rails example, but a twitter/flicker mashup is not bad start.

    If you are really stuck, check out the Ruby for Kids stuff- Shoes and
    HacketyHack. Both of which passed
    major milestones recently.

    But ultimately, doing something you care about, that scratches an itch
    you feel is the most important thing.
    Richard Conroy, Dec 9, 2008
    #7
  8. Cameron Carroll

    timr Guest

    On Dec 9, 10:18 am, Cameron Carroll <> wrote:
    > Hi. I recently picked up a beginning ruby book, having only lightly
    > touched python and HLA before jumping into this, and I really lack the
    > vision needed to form any programs. It's sort of a combination of not
    > quite having a strong enough grasp over the language and its functions
    > crossed against having absolutely no idea what kind of programs I want
    > to write.
    > So I'm just wondering what all of your first types of programs were...
    > simple, no doubt, but I'm just looking for a starting point.
    >
    > Thank you! :)
    > Cameron
    > --
    > Posted viahttp://www.ruby-forum.com/.


    My first program moving from Perl to Ruby was a program that colors
    regular expression hits in text files and outputs to the terminal,
    like a colored egrep command. My second program was a spelling word
    quiz program for my son using Mac os x and the say command and a SQL
    database to hold the words. Sometimes, I code simple programs to
    calculate something I have calculated to see if I am right. For
    instance what is the probability of rolling a Yatzee (6 of a kind) in
    the game Yatzee. The answer is (1/6)^5 by the way. Adding a histogram
    of the number of rolls required to get a Yatzee by 10,000 observers
    makes the task more interesting. Stuff like that. I would suggest
    getting the RUBY cookbook from O'rielly. They have lots of example
    tasks and the code to accomplish it. You can easilly read it a few
    pages at a time.
    Tim
    timr, Dec 9, 2008
    #8
  9. Cameron Carroll

    Raju Gandhi Guest

    Another good place to start would be "Practical Ruby Projects: Ideas
    for the Eclectic Programmer" - http://bit.ly/BvOb

    Lots of great ideas for starting a mini project of your own. Also,
    look into Ruby Quiz...

    Hope this helps.

    Raju

    On Tue, Dec 9, 2008 at 4:23 PM, timr <> wrote:
    >
    > On Dec 9, 10:18 am, Cameron Carroll <> wrote:
    > > Hi. I recently picked up a beginning ruby book, having only lightly
    > > touched python and HLA before jumping into this, and I really lack the
    > > vision needed to form any programs. It's sort of a combination of not
    > > quite having a strong enough grasp over the language and its functions
    > > crossed against having absolutely no idea what kind of programs I want
    > > to write.
    > > So I'm just wondering what all of your first types of programs were...
    > > simple, no doubt, but I'm just looking for a starting point.
    > >
    > > Thank you! :)
    > > Cameron
    > > --
    > > Posted viahttp://www.ruby-forum.com/.

    >
    > My first program moving from Perl to Ruby was a program that colors
    > regular expression hits in text files and outputs to the terminal,
    > like a colored egrep command. My second program was a spelling word
    > quiz program for my son using Mac os x and the say command and a SQL
    > database to hold the words. Sometimes, I code simple programs to
    > calculate something I have calculated to see if I am right. For
    > instance what is the probability of rolling a Yatzee (6 of a kind) in
    > the game Yatzee. The answer is (1/6)^5 by the way. Adding a histogram
    > of the number of rolls required to get a Yatzee by 10,000 observers
    > makes the task more interesting. Stuff like that. I would suggest
    > getting the RUBY cookbook from O'rielly. They have lots of example
    > tasks and the code to accomplish it. You can easilly read it a few
    > pages at a time.
    > Tim
    >




    --
    Raju
    Raju Gandhi, Dec 9, 2008
    #9
  10. On Wed, Dec 10, 2008 at 1:28 AM, Aldric Giacomoni
    <"aldric[remove]"@trevoke.net> wrote:
    >
    > My first 'real' program in any language I use is usually "Guess a number
    > between x and y".


    This is an excellent first program, IMO. Start with having the
    computer ask the user to guess a number, then add an option for the
    user to think of a number and the computer to guess it.

    martin
    Martin DeMello, Dec 10, 2008
    #10
  11. 2008/12/9 Cameron Carroll <>:
    > Hi. I recently picked up a beginning ruby book, having only lightly
    > touched python and HLA before jumping into this, and I really lack the
    > vision needed to form any programs. It's sort of a combination of not
    > quite having a strong enough grasp over the language and its functions
    > crossed against having absolutely no idea what kind of programs I want
    > to write.


    What is your motivation to dive into programming at all? Are you
    familiar with mathematics and formal logic?

    > So I'm just wondering what all of your first types of programs were...
    > simple, no doubt, but I'm just looking for a starting point.


    Another reasonably simple program would be a disk cleanup: find all
    files and directories below some know temp directories and delete all
    of them which are older than N days.

    Cheers

    robert

    --
    remember.guy do |as, often| as.you_can - without end
    Robert Klemme, Dec 10, 2008
    #11
  12. Cameron Carroll

    Adam Akhtar Guest

    hi I started ruby a year ago and faced exactly the same problem as you.
    If you do a search for posts under my name in quotes youll find some of
    my earlier posts and reccs there.

    If you havent got a good enough grounding to start confidently building
    your first simple scripts then id say you should just go through the
    chris pine learning to program book. Fortunately its not as dense as
    other books and is an easy read plus it has exercise - a must for any
    book thats aimed at learning. Once youve done that you should be more
    comfortable with the language.

    Thats what i did and after that i went on to the excellent book Everyday
    Scripting. Dont let the testers part in the subtitle on amazon put you
    off its suitable for everyone (other reviewers say so as well)
    especially beginners. In that book youll be making actual scripts such
    as an amazon screen scraper etc rather than exercises like 99 bottles.
    Its a great book and like all good beginner books provides exercises for
    you to practice with.

    After that i dont think youll need pointers in what to do, youll know
    enough that youll start thinking of things because you know you can
    acomplish them. I think when you havent got the grasp of something your
    subconcious seems to hide excellent project ideas from you!

    I went on to make a simple ebay screen scraper as the commercial ebay
    market research sites didnt cover something i needed.

    Then a todo list in preparatino for rails

    and now a budgeting app. They are all written for the console.

    Oh and get really good with arrays and these libary methods .each
    collect .find .find_all .inject .join


    you will use them all the time!
    good luck!
    --
    Posted via http://www.ruby-forum.com/.
    Adam Akhtar, Dec 10, 2008
    #12
  13. Cameron Carroll

    Ron Fox Guest

    Cameron Carroll wrote:
    > Hi. I recently picked up a beginning ruby book, having only lightly
    > touched python and HLA before jumping into this, and I really lack the
    > vision needed to form any programs. It's sort of a combination of not
    > quite having a strong enough grasp over the language and its functions
    > crossed against having absolutely no idea what kind of programs I want
    > to write.
    > So I'm just wondering what all of your first types of programs were...
    > simple, no doubt, but I'm just looking for a starting point.
    >
    > Thank you! :)
    > Cameron

    I'm reminded of the dilbert cartoon where the customer asks Alice if
    she can't write her program to figure out his specifications ;-)

    --
    Ron Fox
    NSCL
    Michigan State University
    East Lansing, MI 48824-1321
    Ron Fox, Dec 10, 2008
    #13
  14. Cameron Carroll

    List.rb Guest

    On Dec 10, 2008, at 6:38 AM, Ron Fox <> wrote:

    > Cameron Carroll wrote:
    >> Hi. I recently picked up a beginning ruby book, having only lightly
    >> touched python and HLA before jumping into this, and I really lack
    >> the
    >> vision needed to form any programs. It's sort of a combination of not
    >> quite having a strong enough grasp over the language and its
    >> functions
    >> crossed against having absolutely no idea what kind of programs I
    >> want
    >> to write.
    >> So I'm just wondering what all of your first types of programs
    >> were...
    >> simple, no doubt, but I'm just looking for a starting point.
    >> Thank you! :)
    >> Cameron

    > I'm reminded of the dilbert cartoon where the customer asks Alice if
    > she can't write her program to figure out his specifications ;-)
    >
    > --
    > Ron Fox
    > NSCL
    > Michigan State University
    > East Lansing, MI 48824-1321
    >


    URL? Sounds funny!
    List.rb, Dec 10, 2008
    #14
  15. Martin DeMello wrote:
    > On Wed, Dec 10, 2008 at 1:28 AM, Aldric Giacomoni
    > <"aldric[remove]"@trevoke.net> wrote:
    >>
    >> My first 'real' program in any language I use is usually "Guess a number
    >> between x and y".

    >
    > This is an excellent first program, IMO. Start with having the
    > computer ask the user to guess a number, then add an option for the
    > user to think of a number and the computer to guess it.
    >
    > martin


    I agree with Martin. My first programs were Hello World (like every
    other beginning developer, no matter what computer language), Arithmetic
    Formulas, then Algebraic Formulas like Martin created. I've done this
    learning from the
    http://www.ruby-lang.org website within the Twenty Minutes in Ruby.
    Also, I've done a bit outside forming different ideas together. I'm
    reviewing Chris Pine's Learn To Program on the same site, since I'm
    currently on Chapter 7, going on to 8 out of the 10 chapters. When you
    read it, it is simple and based upon
    common-sense. If you do not figure out what Pine is referring to, just
    wait for a moment in light thought, and whatever Ruby exercise you tried
    will come to you. I'm going to go back over it with the ruby installed
    this time to write more programs. I wanted to first give it a reading
    type of feel before I started programming. One thing I like what Pine
    said was in Ruby, you don't have to know all of the methods, objects,
    variables, etc. That is what the library is for. I think other
    programmers would say the same.

    I think though the best way to go about it is to stay optimistic and do
    what you love to do with programming. I'm going to learn to create
    video-games with Ruby. ;)
    --
    Posted via http://www.ruby-forum.com/.
    Ruby Developer, Dec 11, 2008
    #15
  16. Ruby Developer wrote:
    >
    > I think though the best way to go about it is to stay optimistic and do
    > what you love to do with programming. I'm going to learn to create
    > video-games with Ruby. ;)


    Plus, since Ruby was written in C, I could experiment with different
    methods to implement. You see what I'm saying? I am a newbie myself, so
    I can not tell you a whole great deal what to do. What I can say is my
    bit of experience and what I've done so far, which is how I can easily
    understand Ruby now. It's the easiest language I have come across.
    --
    Posted via http://www.ruby-forum.com/.
    Ruby Developer, Dec 11, 2008
    #16
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