Famous Ruby Personalities: Who do you recommend?

by Satish Talim on September 25, 2008

Ruby is designed to make programmers happy

Do we really care? Goggle for Famous Ruby Personalities and you will be surprised to find no relevant information on this. Let us try and addresses this issue and salute the Famous Ruby Personalities that have helped Ruby developers and enthusiasts have fun, joy and be happy while programming!

Rock Stars

Rock Star

Yukihiro Matsumoto or “Matz,” as he is known online, obviously is the first choice for giving us this wonderful Ruby programming language. Amongst the many things Matz is involved in, Eihiro Saishu and Matz are actively promoting “The Ruby Association Certified Ruby Programmer examinations.” The future for Ruby certainly looks interesting, and potentially very dramatic.

Dave Thomas author of the Programming Ruby book commonly known as “The Pickaxe” because of the pickaxe on the cover. The book has helped Ruby to spread outside Japan.

David Heinemeier Hansson1 the creator of the popular Ruby on Rails web development framework and the Instiki wiki. Ruby on Rails is attributed to the rise in the popularity of the Ruby programming language, all over the world.

Bruce Tate2 has an amazing track record when it comes to identifying successful technologies. In his book Beyond Java, Bruce looked at languages and technologies that may challenge Java’s dominance in some development niches. He is instrumental in the growing list of Java developers adopting Ruby.

why the lucky stiff (often known simply as why or _why) is the persona of a prolific writer, cartoonist, musician, artist, and computer programmer notable for his work with the Ruby programming language. His best known work is Why’s (poignant) Guide to Ruby, which “teaches Ruby with stories.” His other contributions are: Try Ruby an online interactive learning tool that provides a browser-based Ruby shell and an instructor that guides beginners through their first steps in Ruby. Hackety Hack, a Ruby- and Mozilla- based environment used to teach programming to children. Shoes3 a UI toolkit “for Making Web-like Desktop Apps.”

The Rising Stars

Ruby continues to grow in popularity, thanks to the contributions of these rising stars (amongst many and in no particular order) -

Charles Nutter4 is a strong advocate of JRuby, a Java implementation of the Ruby interpreter, being developed by the JRuby team. Hopefully, JRuby will bridge the gap between the Ruby and Java communities.

Chad Fowler5 has been a software developer and manager for some of the world’s largest corporations. Until recently, Chad lived and worked in India, setting up and leading an offshore software development center. He is also co-founder of Ruby Central, Inc., a non-profit corporation responsible for the annual International Ruby and Rails Conferences, a leading contributor in the Ruby community and a contributor and editor for numerous books. Chad’s most recent book is Rails Recipes, published by the Pragmatic Programmers.

James Edward Gray II6 started the Ruby Quiz and ran it for the first three years. He wrote documentation for some standard libraries including ERb and PStore and created some open source libraries including FasterCSV and HighLine. He has also written a couple of Pragmatic Programmer books with lots of Ruby in them. He speaks at some Ruby conferences, and now helps maintain a few of Ruby’s standard libraries.

Peter Cooper is an England-based developer and serial entrepreneur with diverse interests across the worlds of technology and open source. He’s the editor of Ruby Inside, the most popular Ruby news blog, as well as the author of the popular book Beginning Ruby.

Ezra Zygmuntowicz7 has been using Ruby for 5 years or so and Rails since it’s first public release in 2004. He is the founder of EngineYard.com, a fully managed Ruby application hosting service. He has a number of open source projects such as BackgrounDrb, ez-where, Rubinius and Merb. He is also the author of the Rails Deployment book for the Pragmatic Programmers.

Ryan Bates has been involved in web development since 1998. In 2005 he started working professionally with Ruby on Rails and is now best known for his work on Railscasts, the free Ruby on Rails screencast series.

Ryan Davis known as “zenspider”, is the author of a number of valuable Ruby open-source tools, including RubyInline and ZenTest. He is working on Rubinius for Engine Yard.

David Black is the author of two books – “Ruby for Rails” and “Rails Routing“. His new book The Well-Grounded Rubyist will be released soon. David has his own consultancy, Ruby Power and Light, LLC and is also one of the founding directors of Ruby Central, Inc., the parent organization of the annual International Ruby Conference and the International Rails Conference and RailsConf Europe.

Yehuda Katz has been working with Ruby and Rails since before Rails 1.0, and got involved in Merb early on. He is a member of the jQuery Core Team, and a core contributor to DataMapper. He contributes to many open source projects, like Rubinius and Johnson, and works on some he created himself, like Thor. Yehuda is co-author of jQuery in Action, a contributor to Ruby in Practice, and is working on Merb in Action, set to be the first Merb book on the market. He is now employed by Engine Yard, where he works on internal development projects, and of course, Merb.

Who do you recommend? I need YOUR help. Which Ruby Rising Stars would your recommend and why? Post your recommendations as comments to this blog post.


  • This blog post is also being discussed on dzone
  • I am updating this post based on reader feedback

Technorati Tags: , , ,

  1. Let Java retire from the spotlight of web applications in dignity
  2. Interview: Bruce Tate. Bruce takes part in the “Path to Ruby Mastery” interview series on 25th Nov.
  3. A Teeny-weeny mp3 player using Ruby and Shoes
  4. Charles Nutter talks to RubyLearning Participants and Interview: Charles Nutter
  5. Chad is taking part in the “Path to Ruby Mastery” interview series…
  6. James took part in the “Path to Ruby Mastery” interview series on 30th Sept.
  7. Ezra takes part in the “Path to Ruby Mastery” interview series on 2nd Dec.
Posted by Satish Talim

{ 44 comments… read them below or add one }

Matt Todd September 25, 2008 at 11:26 am

+1 James Edward Gray II

James is always contributing tons of his energies to progressing the community with lots of tangible code and instruction and while he may not be as outspokenly opinionated, he has a great deal of wisdom developed and exercises it consistently. He is a great communicator, always has something interesting to share, and is really freaking smart.


Zach Holman September 25, 2008 at 11:28 am

I’d toss Ryan Bates into the mix, since his Railscasts are some of the best ways to learn Rails. For that matter, Geoffrey Grosenbach, too, for his PeepCodes, and Gregg Pollack and Jason Seifer from RailsEnvy.


Clayton September 25, 2008 at 11:29 am

Ryan Bates gets my vote! I’ve learned a lot from those simple screen casts.


Priit September 25, 2008 at 11:39 am

Ryan Bates is my personal hero :) He made my entrance to ruby world so easy.


Alexey Kovyrin September 25, 2008 at 11:46 am

+1 for Ezra Zygmuntovich


Lex Williams September 25, 2008 at 12:19 pm

Charles Nutter++


saurabh purnaye September 25, 2008 at 12:34 pm

Yukihiro and David are really heros. We would always be thankful for them! Additionally I would personally recommend Satish Talim, Shashank Date and Vaibhav Domkundwar who have introduced us with ruby and rails!!


wosmvp September 25, 2008 at 12:38 pm

Matz +++
David Heinemeier Hansson +++
Dave Thomas +++
why the lucky stiff +++
Every Rubyist +++


Rainer September 25, 2008 at 12:58 pm

Personally, I would recommend you, Satish. Your Ruby course is really cool, and I hope to be able to use what I’ve learned in a real-world project. Ruby is the finest language I’ve discovered in years, and you helped a lot of people including me to make the first (and second) steps with Ruby. Other recommendations I consider important:

Matz ++ we wouldn’t be here without you
DHH ++ without Rails, Ruby probably wouldn’t have the attention of the industry
Andy Hunt / Dave Thomas ++ Your books are cool, especially “The Pragmatic Programmer”
Chad Fowler ++ Your book “My job went to India” should be on the shelf of every programmer who isn’t willing to lose his or her job
why the lucky stiff ++ for taking Ruby to new shores with the very cool “shoes” framework
James Edward Gray II ++ Hope to take a few Ruby quizzes any time soon

Sorry for not mentioning all of you, but I’m just starting out with Ruby and don’t know you all – yet…


Mourner September 25, 2008 at 1:27 pm

+1 to Ryan and Ezra


remi September 25, 2008 at 1:46 pm

+1 Geoffrey Grosenbach

I wonder if Ryan Bates ever would’ve started RailsCasts were it not for PeepCode? PeepCode was and still is *amazing* for learning Rails. Geoff does the RoR podcast, too.

+1 _why

No true Rubyist hasn’t read the Poignant guide. I use _why’s code on a daily basis, whether it’s Hpricot, Markaby, Camping, Shoes, Syck …

No only would I potentially not be using Rails today if it were not for Geoff, I *definitely* wouldn’t be professionally coding Rails full-time! That’s because I heard about my new employer from one of the RoR podcasts! +1 Geoff, definitely :)


Ferdinand Tukacs September 25, 2008 at 1:57 pm

Christian Guimaraes +.
This guy really now Ruby(and Java, and Smalltalk, and…). He work in silent way, like Hal Fulton. Is a Ruby Developer in Europe, working for a big communication enterprise.


José Carlos Monteiro September 25, 2008 at 2:55 pm

Matz, naturally.
You – Satish – of course.
Ola Bini, for JRuby contributions as well as Charles Nutter.
Ryan Davis
DHH, for well known reasons.
Ezra Zygmuntowicz, for Merb.


Jon Thoroddsen September 25, 2008 at 3:41 pm

I lost my long nice post because there was no warning that I was required to leave an email address. Here are the names from that long post.
Matz, _why, Jim Weirich, Zed Shaw, Ryan Davis.


James Edward Gray II September 25, 2008 at 3:57 pm

I’m a huge fan of Ara T. Howard (http://codeforpeople.com/). You can browse his massive list of contributed libraries on his site, but honestly my favorite part of Ara’s body of Ruby work are his day to day posts on Ruby Talk. I’ve learned more just reading Ara’s emails than I have from many technical manuals I have read.


Alex Soulim September 25, 2008 at 5:14 pm

+1 Ryan Bates
+1 Peter Cooper
+1 Ezra Zygmuntowicz
+1 DHH


Willian Molinari September 25, 2008 at 5:45 pm

+1 Matz, obviously
+1 Satish Talim ( You interviewing yourself!?? =P )
+1 _Why ( i like his projects )
+1 Ryan Bates, to know more about Railscasts


ashbb September 25, 2008 at 8:11 pm

+1 _why, of course. He is my hero!

And +1 David A Black, I like his ongoing book ‘The Well Grounded Rubyist’ :-)


Mercurial Alchemist September 25, 2008 at 8:47 pm

+1 Ezra Zygmuntowicz
+1 _Why


david September 25, 2008 at 9:04 pm

+1 Ezra, wycats and matz


Jens September 25, 2008 at 11:33 pm

I’d say Ezra Zygmuntovich. His book is awsome and so is his blog. He also doing some real great stuff for the future of ruby with merb and in the act of supporting rubinius. Go Ezra!


Carlan Calazans September 25, 2008 at 11:51 pm

+ Matz
+ RB (oh man, rails cats)
+ PC
+ Rails envy guys (Gregg Pollack and Jason Seifer)
+ Fabio Akita
+ You (following Willian and José)


Carlan Calazans September 25, 2008 at 11:52 pm

I mean, rails casts, sorry.


Chris Nelson September 26, 2008 at 12:02 am

+1 for Jim Weirich, creator of Rake, Flexmock, and co-creator of Rubygems. I have the good fortune to work with Jim on a project right now. He’s an incredible developer, teacher, and coder and one of the most cheerful people you will ever meet. A friend refers to him as the Santa Claus of the ruby community and this description fits perfectly.

Also, having met DHH in person I can say his reputation for ego is completely without merit. I found him to be extremely friendly and gracious.


Michael Guterl September 26, 2008 at 12:05 am

Ara T. Howard
Luis Lavena
Eric Hodel
Ryan Davis


Victor September 26, 2008 at 1:29 am

Hal Fulton (author of the perfect “Ruby Way” book)


abhishek ambavane September 26, 2008 at 9:59 am

I would personally recommend Satish Talim, Shashank Date who introduced me with ruby and rails,


Jason September 26, 2008 at 11:11 am

Jay Phillips, for his contribution to Ruby of the Adhearsion voice development framework.


rifraf September 26, 2008 at 11:30 am

John Lam for RubyCLR and his great efforts on IronRuby.
IronRuby may not be trendy – but I need it in the real world now!


Shaliko September 26, 2008 at 11:38 am

+1 Ryan Bates


Jusme September 26, 2008 at 5:00 pm

I have corresponded with Chad Fowler in the past and found him to be a real jerk. Chad, it always comes back to haunt you!


Brice September 27, 2008 at 12:31 am

+1 _why
He is brilliant. Anytime I needed stuff in ruby. He was the creator. Hpricot, YAML, Shoooes and soo on


Satish Talim September 28, 2008 at 6:44 am

Thanks guys. Let your recommendations come in. Also, I’d like to point out that though this blog posts mentions only some select names of famous Ruby personalities, it does not belittle the great efforts taken by countless Rubyists to bring Ruby to the stage where it is now.


Ed Borasky September 28, 2008 at 11:54 pm

+1 for David A. Black and Hal Fulton
+1 for every author of a Ruby or Rails book
+10 for Russ Olsen’s “Design Patterns in Ruby”

Did anyone mention Obie Fernandez? Ian Dees? Brian Marick? Chris Pine? Andy Hunt?


etapeta September 29, 2008 at 1:49 pm

Besides your names, I learnt a lot from Jay Fields, Dr.Nic, Obie Fernandez and Ola Bini.


Michael Cowden September 30, 2008 at 4:00 am

+1 for Ryan Bates & David A. Black


Marcus October 1, 2008 at 2:20 am

* Dr Nic Williams
* Yehuda Katz
* Evan Phoenix
* Ilya Grigorik


Simon October 1, 2008 at 8:51 am

How about Tobias Luetke (Rails core, Typo, Liquid, Shopify)


Steve October 14, 2008 at 9:04 pm

+1 for
Yehuda Katz
Evan Phoenix
Obie Fernandez


Diogo Lisboa October 28, 2008 at 12:56 am

+1 Giles Bowkett, Dr. Nic, Obie.


Satish Talim October 28, 2008 at 8:43 am

Many of you wrote in asking for Twitter ids of these Ruby Gurus and I am trying to compile the same. The names whose ids are required is here. In case anyone knows these ids, please post it here as a comment. Thanks.


sikanrong October 30, 2008 at 2:48 am

I recommend jay phillips: read up on adhearsion – telephony with ruby :)


Nikhil August 19, 2012 at 8:57 am

I strongly recommend Dan Kubb ( @dkubb ) , one of the author of DataMapper, one of the hardest Ruby projects around


Raven August 19, 2012 at 9:47 pm

Michael Hartl and Gregg Pollack are my Ruby super heroes!

Michael Hartl is the author of the book Ruby on Rails Tutorial and even a made an online version of it for everybody to read for free!

Gregg Pollack is the founder of Envy labs. The team behind the great Rails for Zombies free course and the team behind the more interactive redesign of tryRuby.


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