Jumping into Ruby

I love Perl. However, I have had this odd fascination with Ruby. I have no idea why, as I have never used the language before. However, based on what I have read and seen, it appears to be very similar to Perl, but with some new features (chief among them is object-orientation).

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One concern that I did have about Perl was that is seems to becoming less popular. I understand that the language has stagnated and the community has fragmented (Perl 5 vs 6 communities). My business-brain tells me that this makes talented Perl developers are becoming less in demand, and that any commercial app or product that I build in Perl may experience difficulty finding staff or freelancers to work on it.

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So I’ve upgraded myself to Ruby. In the last few weeks, I worked through the Ruby and jQuery learning tracks on Code Academy. I’ve also done reading on Sinatra, the Ruby equivalent to Dancer, DataMapper (which is interfaces between Ruby objects and database records, I think kind of similar to Core Data in iOS), and web site architecture (ie single-page apps). It blows my mind today how complex modern websites are, and how important and plentiful Javascript is.

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Sometimes I feel anxious and intimidated about trying to learn this stuff. I feel overwhelmed about learning all this stuff to write a quality web app. However, I remind myself to start small; focus on basic functions and expand from there. I also need to remember that I do not need to be perfect; the fact that I am expanding my learning is what is really important. The practical and technical skills that I am practicing now are very helpful when combined with my knowledge of general business, IT management, and the importance of non-technical IT functions (support, security, cost, reliability, recoverability).

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As for my small business, I’ve temporarily (permanently?) abandoned the one idea that I had. Not because I think it was a bad idea, but because someone else approached me wanting my help in executing an idea of their own. Personally, I much prefer the idea of working with some co-founders rather than doing it all myself. I just hope that they are as keen on the idea as I am.

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