Entry-level help

Discussion in 'Ruby' started by Patrick Erinn, Jul 21, 2007.

  1. Hellos,

    I'm not sure how detailed I should make my situation here. I had some
    long, history-spanning essay on what I'm doing, but that seemed tedious
    to read through. Basically, what it said was: I'm a pretty big newbie,
    both to Ruby and programming in general (just a couple courses in Java
    in college a couple years ago), looking to break into the field (and out
    of soul-killing tech support). I'm giving myself projects to keep the
    learning interesting (since I have no teachers) but my current one seems
    like it could go a number of ways.

    I want to write a basic simulation (predator/prey) that has a simple GUI
    that I can display using a website, using Ruby for the number crunching,
    JS for the application GUI and HTML to handle whatever else on the page
    (or something...I hear of terms like XHTML, XML and AJAX thrown around,
    but I don't have a firm grasp on them)

    I'm just coding in Windows, but would like the simulation to be visible
    to any member of the public who visits the website that contains it
    (with no user interaction at first, just a display to everyone watching
    what's happening). Is it feasible for this project to use all three
    without needing to convert Ruby to JS, or would the project really just
    end up being in Javascript and whatever markup language the page would
    need?

    Thanks for any advice you all can give!

    --
    Posted via http://www.ruby-forum.com/.
    Patrick Erinn, Jul 21, 2007
    #1
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  2. Patrick Erinn

    Chad Perrin Guest

    On Sat, Jul 21, 2007 at 02:18:55PM +0900, Patrick Erinn wrote:
    >
    > I want to write a basic simulation (predator/prey) that has a simple GUI
    > that I can display using a website, using Ruby for the number crunching,
    > JS for the application GUI and HTML to handle whatever else on the page
    > (or something...I hear of terms like XHTML, XML and AJAX thrown around,
    > but I don't have a firm grasp on them)


    HTML reached version 4. Now there's XHTML, and it looks like HTML itself
    is going the way of the dinosaurs (thank goodness). You can effectively
    think of XHTML as HTML 5. It is, in practice, just a better HTML, and
    most of XHTML is strictly compatible with HTML. The most glaring
    difference for the simplest use cases is that in XHTML you must close all
    tags. Another key difference is that with XHTML it is expected that
    presentation details (such as font color, background color, typeface,
    margin sizes, and so on) will be handled entirely by CSS rather than by
    markup.

    XML is a superset of XHTML. You probably won't need it for what you're
    talking about doing.

    AJAX is pretty much Web2.0-ese for "JavaScript can be useful now." It
    stands for Asynchronous JavaScript And XML, though in practice it's
    really mostly XHTML rather than XML proper. When someone's using AJAX,
    he or she is basically just using JavaScript to allow communication
    between server and client to alter the content of the page and shuttle
    data to and from the server without having to reload the whole page every
    time something changes. This is the sort of thing that allows, for
    instance, Google Maps to be dragged around inside the page to view
    different parts of the map.


    >
    > I'm just coding in Windows, but would like the simulation to be visible
    > to any member of the public who visits the website that contains it
    > (with no user interaction at first, just a display to everyone watching
    > what's happening). Is it feasible for this project to use all three
    > without needing to convert Ruby to JS, or would the project really just
    > end up being in Javascript and whatever markup language the page would
    > need?


    You can run Ruby on the server to handle all data on that end.
    JavaScript is sent to the browser along with (X)HTML (and CSS), where it
    can make the interface more "dynamic".

    I'm not entirely clear on what exactly you want to accomplish, but I
    suspect you'll want to use some language other than JavaScript -- such as
    Ruby -- on the server to handle the heavy lifting, and JavaScript with
    XHTML+CSS in the browser to provide the interface for the user. In fact,
    assuming you're using Ruby on the server, I imagine you'd be using Ruby
    to generate at least parts of a page to be sent to the user, including
    both markup and JavaScript, and depending on how fancy the interface gets
    you'll probably be using AJAX (with the XMLHttpRequest() JavaScript
    object) to communicate with server's Ruby scripts.

    If you're talking about something akin to Conway's Game of Life, but with
    a predator/prey simulation as your model instead, you'll have to make
    some hard decisions about how much should be handled in the browser and
    how much on the server.

    --
    CCD CopyWrite Chad Perrin [ http://ccd.apotheon.org ]
    Kent Beck: "I always knew that one day Smalltalk would replace Java. I
    just didn't know it would be called Ruby."
    Chad Perrin, Jul 21, 2007
    #2
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