The Ruby Creation Myth – Sarah Mei minitalk at GoGaRuCo ’12

Sarah Mei’s minitalk at GoGaRuCo on Saturday, 9/15
still unedited!

If you read Ruby’s wikipedia page, you can see a bit about the history of Ruby.

1.5 years ago, went to the red dot ruby conf in singapore. Doing the tutorial . The organizer of the confernce had arranged to do a walking tour of Singapore with all the speaker. The only other speaker who was there for the walking tour was Matz! So Andy, Matz, and Sarah took a 3-hour walk around Singapore. =O She was at Ruby Kaigi in Tokyo, and had sorta met, but it was like “=O programming royalty”. 3 hours with Matz and can ask him anything I want!!!

C for over 20 years. Sarah said: the act of writing C and the act of writing Ruby feel very different. Resrouce issues, but also qualitative difference of how it feels. C developer –> Ruby exists. how does that happen? it feels like the birth of athena.
he thought about it for a few minutes and said, you know, i was writing ruby for a very long time before ruby existed. as a c developer starting in the 80s, he had starte dcustomizing his programming environment . typedefs, and macros, and each one was a very small change to solve a prrticular problem he had, but over time, these extensions grew. as a result, the c code he was wrigin started to look a lot like ruby. matz essentially implemented ruby as a dsl in c, which just blew my mind. did it over a fairly long period of time.

in the early 90s, turning it into a language was an incremental step in something that he’d been working on for a long time. lots of little good ideas, acted on each one, accumulated. changed the way sarah thought about programming languages and programmers and how you relate to people in the community. i’m not the person that has a grand idea and goes and works on it and code flows out of my fingers and TADA a wonderful thing appears. but having a bunch of little good ideas, one at a time, and acting on them as they

anyone in this room can be the next matz. or dhh if you want to be him.
(notetaker’s comment: this is so powerful.)

the genius that he has was really just in the process of noticing the small problems and fixing them as they happened over a long period of time. he did it over and over again. if you do that, you may realize one day that the small problems you’ve been solving are really component parts of one big problem. and your assembled solution suddenly seems like it can solve much bigger problems than you previously thought. then when that happens, you too can have an entourage that follows you around at conferences.


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