Learn Ruby The Hard Way

August 17th, 2011 by Rob Sobers

Most of the perks of working at Fog Creek are pretty well known: plush New York City office, free gourmet lunches, brilliant people, an espresso machine that probably costs more than a Honda Civic. The list goes on and on! The benefit I’m most grateful for–edging out the peanut butter M&Ms by a very small margin–is the generous parental leave policy.

My daughter arrived at the end of March. My wife and I had decided to take staggered parental leave. I took some vacation for the first week, then went on paternity leave after my wife’s maternity leave was over, giving me six weeks with my new daughter over the summer.

Being the primary caregiver for an infant is a lot of work, but it turns out that babies need much more sleep than adults (and apparently they can’t have caffeine) so I was able to score some downtime during my paternity leave. I suppose I could have used the time to do something really practical like learn to cook or speak French, but, like most Creekers, I simply cannot stop thinking about code.

So, I made this free programming book: Learn Ruby The Hard Way

It’s a Ruby translation of Zed Shaw’s popular book Learn Python The Hard Way. Translating the book was a great way to teach myself Ruby while creating a byproduct that will hopefully help others learn, too.

I’ve received an outpouring of gratitude from the community for creating this free resource, but I’d like to pass that gratitude on. Zed, as a prolific open-source developer, and Fog Creek, as a remarkable company, both have a history of doing great things for programmers.  And thanks to them, I was able to contribute something pretty cool as well.