Getting plugged into Ruby

Jun 26 2010

Brad Mead asked a question on my previous post about my favorite community hang outs, lists, sites, etc. Instead of posting a long comment reply, I decided to turn it into a post of its own.

If you don’t like link posts, then you might want to skip this one. But I always end up picking up a couple things from other folks that share their online resources, so maybe this will do that for someone else too. This post is kinda aimed at corporate-ish developers that maybe aren’t already plugged in too much. For the rest of you, a lot of this might just be obvious.


I don’t follow too many individual bloggers. In fact, I actually don’t read that many blogs at all these days. But the ones I do check occassionally are usually aggregate blogs that give me a pretty good sense of what’s going on in the world of Ruby.


I’m a big fan of screencasts. I tend to learn quite a bit from watching other people write code. Maybe you do too.


Considering I work at home nearly 100% of the time (with the exception an occasional nomading trip to Starbucks), I don’t get much driving time to listen to podcasts. But I manage to squeeze in some time during my trips to Chipotle and late at night to listen to a few. Here are some of the Ruby/OSS related ones.


You’ll want to get very familiar with GitHub and the community surrounding it. Since who/what you follow largely depends on what specific gems or frameworks you’re using, I won’t list specific ones here. But suffice it to say, that GitHub plays a huge role in bringing the Ruby community together. Git wit it!

IRC/Mailing Lists

I’m grouping these two together since they tend to go hand in hand. Once you start using a particular Ruby gem/framework out there, you’ll usually find they have an associated mailing list and/or IRC channel. I like to use mailing lists mostly for learning interesting tidbits from other people’s questions and throwing out the occasional question myself. IRC is great when you need to get some help (or give some help) in a ‘just in time’ type of way. I know I mentioned it in my previous post, but it is quite amazing how helpful the folks in the Ruby and open source communities can be. Even for newbies like me… :)


I’ve yet to go to a Ruby-related conference, but hopefully I’ll make it to one sometime soon. Probably the best way to find these is just to google for them.

User Groups

If you can’t make it to a conference, perhaps look for (or start) a Ruby users group in your area. I’ve started attending our local CVREG group and it’s been great. I’ve met some great folks so far and hope to get much more involved in the local Ruby community.


I admit that a lot of my community interaction does happen over Twitter. I went through my followers and created a Ruby list which you can follow if you’re interested in some of the Ruby folks I follow.