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Ruby programming

Ruby is an object-oriented programming language. It combines syntax inspired by Ada and Perl with Smalltalk-like object-oriented features, and also shares some features with Python, Lisp and CLU. Ruby is an interpreted language.

History

The language was created by Yukihiro "Matz" Matsumoto, who started working on Ruby on February 24, 1993 and released it to the public in 1995.

"Ruby" was named after a colleague's birthstone. Appropriately, the name reflects the language's Perl heritage. Pearl is the birthstone of June while the ruby is the birthstone of July (implying progression).

Matz designed Ruby to follow the principle of least surprise, meaning that the language should be free from the traps and inconsistencies that plague other languages. As of March 2005, the latest stable version is 1.8.2.

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Philosophy

Ruby is object-oriented: every bit of data is an object, including types other languages designate primitive such as integers. Every function is a method. Named values (variables) designate references to objects, not the objects themselves. Ruby supports inheritance with dynamic dispatch, mixins and singleton methods (belonging to a class rather than an instance). Though Ruby does not support multiple inheritance, classes can import modules as mixins. Procedural syntax is included, but everything done in Ruby procedurally (that is, outside of the scope of a particular object) is actually done to the Object class. Since this class is parent to every other class, the changes become visible to all classes and objects.

Ruby has been described as a multi-paradigm programming language: it allows you to program procedurally (defining functions/variables outside classes makes them part of the root, 'self' Object), with object orientation (everything is an object) or functionally (it has anonymous functions, closures, and continuations; statements all have values, and functions return the last evaluation). It has rich support for introspection, reflection and meta-programming.

According to the Ruby FAQ, "If you like Perl, you will like Ruby and be right at home with its syntax. If you like Smalltalk, you will like Ruby and be right at home with its semantics. If you like Python, you may or may not be put off by the huge difference in design philosophy between Python and Ruby/Perl."


The article above is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Ruby programming language".