I’ve taught a fair number of Ruby classes over the years, but one particular class stands out in my mind. Class was over, and as I was going out the door one of my students, an experienced Java programmer, stopped me and voiced a complaint that I have heard many times since. He said that the hardest part of learning Ruby wasn’t the syntax or the dynamic typing. Oh, he could write perfectly correct Ruby, sans semicolons and variable declarations. The problem was that something was missing. He constantly found himself falling back into his same old Java habits. Somehow his Ruby code always ended up looking much like what he would have written in Java. My answer to him was not to worry, you haven’t missed anything—you just aren’t done learning ...

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