Ruby is a cross-platform, interpreted and object-oriented language. Ruby has been designed on the Principle of Least Surprise - Matz says "I wanted to minimize my frustration during programming, so I want to minimize my effort in programming. That was my primary goal in designing Ruby. I want to have fun in programming myself. After releasing Ruby and many people around the world got to know Ruby, they said they feel the way I feel. They came up with the phrase the principle of least surprise."
The year 2004 saw a massive surge of interest in Ruby, with the introduction of the Ruby on Rails Web application framework by David Heinemeier Hansson.
As an open source language, Ruby has been ported to run on many different computer platforms and architectures. This means that if you develop a Ruby program on one machine, it's likely you'll be able to run it without any changes on a different machine. You can use Ruby, in one form or another, on most operating systems and platforms.
In this course, we will be using latest version of Ruby 2.
There are multiple ways to install and manage Ruby. If you are on Windows, the simplest way to get Ruby installed is by using the Ruby Installer for Windows. Download the latest version of Ruby 2. After you have downloaded this, double-click this file and install Ruby on your PC, accepting all the defaults. After you have installed your Ruby software, the System Environment Variable path is already set to point to the bin folder of Ruby. Always check whether this has been set properly or not. If not, set it externally. If you are on a UNIX-like operating system like Linux or Mac OS X, then you can either use rbenv with ruby-build or RVM, or chruby. We don't recommend installing Ruby via package managers on UNIX-like systems as the Ruby versions available via package managers might be outdated. More information on various installation options with detailed explanation can be found here.
Downloading an Editor
You can use any editor you like, as long as it's a plain-text editor (and not a word processor) and a directory (a.k.a. a folder) in which to store your Ruby program files. The folder is separate from other work areas so that you can keep track of your practice program files.
Do not hesitate to ask any questions related to installing and setting up Ruby or an Editor correctly in the forums.
Note: The Ruby Logo is Copyright (c) 2006, Yukihiro Matsumoto. I have made extensive references to information, related to Ruby, available in the public domain (wikis and the blogs, articles of various Ruby Gurus), my acknowledgment and thanks to all of them. Much of the material on rubylearning.com and in the course at rubylearning.org is drawn primarily from the Programming Ruby book, available from The Pragmatic Bookshelf.