Ruby Learning with Java Habits

After reading Noel Rappin’s post on the smallest things that annoy ruby job interviewers, I realized I’ve committed some of these no-no’s.  Digging deeper,  I think it’s because, as of yet, I’m not fully comfortable with ruby’s idioms.  I am still learning to swim in the baby end of the pool.  I can read ruby code and it makes sense, but when I try to code on my own, I usually fall back to some java habits.

So when I’m working in ruby, usually I’ll code it in a way that’s very java like, with for-loops, explicit return statements, etc…  the no-no’s that Noel posted about.  Since java is my first programming language, this looks very familiar to me and eases me into developing in ruby.

Then once everything is working.  I go back and make it “look” like ruby.  I’ll go line-by-line in the code, looking for ways to look better.  When you think about it, this practice is a lot like when you take a foreign language in high school.  You thought what you wanted to say first in English, translated it in your head into Spanish, and then finally said the words.  Though a problem might arise when someone talked back to you Spanish, more mental gymnastics.

But does this fool anybody when talking about programing languages? Maybe.  But I think the more important question is if am I somehow cheating myself in my ruby learning? I’m striving for a fluency in both languages, java and ruby;  not one over the other.

To address this in my next ruby side project, I think I’m going to eliminate as much of the javaisms I can as I code, not after a finishing point.  It might take longer for me to actually get something simple done, but I think it’s worth it.

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