Learn Ruby for free with HacketyHack

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Hackety Hack is another great site that teaches you how to program, for free. Specifically, it teaches the Ruby programming language. There’s tons of lessons on there already and they are constantly adding more. Hackety Hack is available for Mac and Windows.

Hackety Hack is another great site that teaches you how to program, for free. Specifically, it teaches the Ruby programming language. There’s tons of lessons on there already and they are constantly adding more. Hackety Hack is available for Mac and Windows.

X Essentially, HacketyHack offers you free lessons in building programs, line by line, using the Ruby programming language, the Shoes toolkit, and the HacketyHack program itself. First, though, I want to take a look at the web site and how the lessons are designed.

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The lessons are sensibly set up, going from the most basic functions to more complex ones, and you’ll find yourself learning while having a good time as well. Ruby programing language is an open source programming language that is both dynamic and easy to learn because it uses a sensible system of commands that follow common sense rather than the more esoteric programmer’s slang. For example, one of the most basic function calls in any code is to open or access a particular file or location. Ruby uses a command called “Open” for this function, as opposed to some of the other languages out there that have complex or weird function commands for the same process like “Loc” and “Call”. Ruby is used for all kinds of programs, from simple applications to mind games to website development. Knowing how to program Ruby would also be a boon to anyone who plans to have a career in coding.

HacketyHack Screen 1HacketyHack Screen 2So, now that you know what Ruby has to offer you, what does HacketyHack have to offer in regards to learning it? As mentioned, the site contains tons of information, like an introduction to programming (for those who have no experience with programming in any language or code) as well as a virtual tour of the HacketyHack program that you can download and run to learn Ruby. There are many lessons available right now, and there are many planned for the future as well as the capability to let users create and publish their own lessons for other users to learn from. Additionally, you’ll be able to immediately use Shoes, which is a great little addition to Ruby that lets you make graphic user interfaces (GUIs) in Ruby.

HacketyHack Screen 4If you want to participate in the HacketyHack community, which I highly recommend, you’ll need to do a quick sign up. This includes choosing a user name and providing an email address (just like pretty much every other web site in the world) and then you should download the HacketyHack program. Bear in mind that you do not have to sign up for the web site but it is strongly recommended so that you can take advantage of the huge base of users and the developers of HacketyHack. They love getting new questions and providing answers, too, so don’t hesitate to ask if you need help.

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Once you have downloaded and installed the HacketyHack program, you will be presented with a welcome screen which will lead to a basic menu. The buttons on the left side will give you access to everything the program has to offer, but I strongly recommend taking the HacketyHack tour first. To get the bubble that suggests this to disappear you need to click on the actual bubble itself, not just the tour button. When you start the tour, it will take you through the most basic functions of HacketyHack and you’ll begin learning about programming basics right away. There’s a handy cheat sheet (really, it’s just a reference guide) that will help you out if you get stuck, as well. The lessons themselves are not timed, or anything, so you can progress at your own pace, take sammich breaks when you want, and essentially relax while learning. I sure wish there had been stuff like this around when I was still a young dog able to learn new tricks!

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The Verdict: HacketyHack is well done. I sure wish there had been stuff like this around when I was still a young dog, able to learn new tricks! You will be able to learn Ruby programming as well as Shoes with few headaches. The community of users and developers is also an invaluable resource and everyone I talked to in the community for HacketyHack was very nice, polite, and helpful. The program comes bundled with both Windows and Mac versions so you won’t have to search for the right link for you OS. The price tag of zero is a great feature too, so head over to HacketyHack’s web site, download the program, and get started learning how to create your own programs.

Get HacketyHack for Windows or Mac here. Learn more about HacketyHack here.