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Switching to Ruby From .NET

Claudio Lassala

It is with great satisfaction that I introduce the “Switching to Ruby From .NET” series at RubySource. In this post I’ll explain what you should expect from this series.

Hopefully I am here for a while, so I’ll tell you a little bit about who I am and my background.

What’s This Series All About?

This series is about Ruby. This series is about Rails. It’s also about Ruby on Rails. But first and foremost, this series is all about guiding .NET developers ease their way into Ruby, Rails, and related things.

For most people, it’s easier to learn anything new if you can relate it to something you’re comfortable with. Like learning a spoken language: when we learn a second language, it’s natural keep drawing parallels between the secondary and the primary languages.

This series will be filled with comparisons between Ruby and C#, Rails and ASP.NET, Visual Studio and… (well, there isn’t really a single dominant IDE in the Rails world, but that’s another post).

It features real experiences from a former .NET developer who indulged into Rails development very recently. The pain is real, but the medicine tastes like bubblegum!

Who is This Series For?

There is mostly two types of .NET developers: ones that stick with Microsoft all the way (using only MS tools, frameworks, etc.), and ones whose main target are Microsoft users, but they’re more open to use anything that can ultimately get the job done, regardless as to whether it’s Microsoft’s, some third-party, open source, or built in-house. The first group has the vast majority of developers, while the second one has been growing in the last couple of years.

This series focuses on the people in the second group, who aren’t afraid of trying new things.

What about people in that first group? They are usually not willing to void their comfort zone, because that’s just the way their personality is, or other reasons, such as political or economical. Regardless of the case, maybe over time we can get some of them to come taste different waters now and then.

If you’re already an experienced Rails developer, the only thing you may learn here is what kind of difficulties .NET developers typically face coming into Rails. That may be helpful in case you’re a consultant or trainer working with our .NET comrades.

What Are We Going to be Covering Here?

Below is a list of topics that will likely be covered, though not limited to. We’ll be playing it by ear: if there’s something you’d like us to cover, let us know. If there’s something you’d like to have more of, again let us know. In no particular order:

  • Why should a .NET developer look into Ruby or Ruby on Rails?
  • What are the main differences between .NET and Ruby on Rails?
  • Where do I start?
  • Comparing Ruby and C# (this one will certainly be spread across several posts)
  • What things will I miss from my .NET experience? What things will I really like in Ruby on Rails?
  • I used to use Visual Studio, Team System, etc; what should I use now?
  • Windows? Mac? Linux? Which one do I use?
  • Testing
  • View Engines
  • Build tools
  • ORM’s
  • Cloud
  • What else?

Please send us any feedback so we can make sure to work towards providing you with the best content possible.

What’s going to be the frequency and for how long will it run?

We are aiming for an item every two weeks, running for several months.

History Repeats Itself

Several years ago I was a Clipper programmer. I was comfortable and productive with it. Then came an opportunity to work with FoxPro and Visual FoxPro. I took it, and found a great way to learn about my new tool: after going through a short book for beginners, I started asking tons of questions at online forums, and got help from lots of great people. Shortly after I was trying to help people out online. I didn’t know much about it, so I’d see somebody’s question and go out research on the topic. That way, I’d both learn something *and* help somebody else. Eventually I got pretty good at FoxPro, and I was comfortable again…

Then came .NET. What did I do to learn it? I learned some of the very basics, had great people helping me out, and helped others however I could. Eventually, I became competent with .NET, and I was comfortable again…

Then there was Ruby on Rails. What did I do to learn it? I learned some of the very basics, great people helped out me and now… well, now I’m trying to help other people (hopefully you!), while I still have great people helping me (hopefully you!!).

Who am I?

I’m Claudio Lassala. Originally from the overcrowded city of Sao Paulo, Brazil, and I’ve been living in the hot and humid city of Houston, Texas, since late of 2002. I’ve been developing software for over 20 years, and I’ve received the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) award for the last 10 years running (initially for Visual ForPro, and then for C#). I have written several articles and delivered several presentations (as mentioned, I have learned tons from helping others learn). I’m also the host for the Virtual Brown Bag.

You can find more information about me on my blog, at www.lassala.net

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