Best of Ruby Quiz
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If you stop and think about it, programming knowledge is nearly useless by itself. What exactly are you going to create with all that expert programming skill, if it’s all you have? The world needs only so many text editors.
What makes the craft interesting is how we apply it. Combine programming prowess with accounting practices or even just a need to reunite hurricane victims with their scattered family members, and you have the makings of a real, and potentially useful, application.
Practical programming experience can be surprisingly hard to come by. There are classes and books to give us theory and syntax. If you’ve been a programmer for any amount of time, you will have read plenty of those books. Then what? I think most of us inherently know that the next step is to write something, but many of us struggle to find a topic.
I love games. I’m always playing something, and struggling to put together a winning strategy never quite feels like work to me. I use that to make myself a better programmer. I play games with my code.
I assign myself a task I’ve never tried before, perhaps to get more familiar with an algorithm or a library. Or sometimes I’ll give myself a completely routine task but add an unusual twist: implement this fullfeatured trivial program in one hour or less.
This is my form of practice for the big game. I find what works and even what doesn’t. I memorize idioms I like, just in case I run into a similar problem down the road. All the while, I’m getting more familiar with languages, libraries, and frameworks I may need to work with someday.
The set of weekly programming challenges for the Ruby programming language called Ruby Quiz was born out of my desire to share this with the rest of the world. This book holds some highlights from the first year of its run.