Consolidating Ruby Syntax | Day 4
Rather than going through a traditional content-based lecture today, it was more hands-on such that we went through an ad hoc problem as a class – it was helpful in that we had the opportunity to crowdsource the problem in a heuristic manner. The benefit was really in just being able to approach the problem with an open mind and, yet, in a methodical manner – the paradoxical state of freedom emerging through accepted constraints.
With each day we’re progressing deeper in our understanding of the Ruby language and its underlying syntax – it is essential to have this foundation before moving forward with the Rails framework (you have to walk before you can run, after all). After the lecture, we were presented with a CRM project to work on, in the spirit of 37signals. I’ll most likely be finishing off that assignment on the weekend.
In any case, most of the day was really spent consolidating our understanding of Ruby. I spent several hours reading through Huw Collingbourne’s “The Little Book of Ruby” and then, afterwards, there was a group session on Ruby fundamentals. One of the highlights was Will explaining the mechanisms of the initialize method, regarding how it possesses an internal form of communication, which could be constituted by random words, and a global one which is accessible from descendent classes. Also, it was beneficial to be able to ask any question that one wanted, even if it appeared trivial. For instance, I wasn’t sure what the self in something like self.method meant and Will clarified for me that the self referred to the class itself. Small things like that, but asking those questions helped everyone in the session grasp the intricacies. Another moment that distinctly stood out was, again, when we were discussing the initialize method. I knew that initialize and .new were constructors from my readings but never really grasped the interrelationship between them: having someone explicitly making the connection for you, saying “initialize is performing .new,” helps you cement the blocks of your partial knowledge into a structure of consolidated understanding. There should definitely be more sessions like this in the future, especially when the concepts become more complex.
On a less serious note, I had the opportunity to discover Toronto’s underground PATH today and it reminded a lot of what Montreal has. Being a suburb kid who immediately went to Montreal after high school, I never had the opportunity to explore Toronto. I often joke to myself that I know Montreal better than what’s supposed to be my hometown – that’s going to change. I definitely won’t have much time to explore Toronto while at Bitmaker Labs – the workload is pretty heavy – but I’ll be making the effort to do so afterwards. Can’t wait to immerse myself more fully in TO’s tech and entrepreneurial scene!