2.1. Introduction

This book requires basic knowledge of HTML, plus the reader - you, in other words - should also have a basic understanding of programming.
A couple of years ago I made the mistake of trying to understand Ruby on Rails without knowing anything about Ruby. Ruby just looked so simple, so I didn't give it another thought. But because I did not have a basic understanding of Ruby, I was not able to understand Rails properly. So I kept shunting it into a virtual corner and carried on working with PHP instead. One can only feel the magic of Rails after understanding the basics of Ruby.
The inventor of Ruby, Yukihiro Matsumoto, states in his book The Ruby Programming Language[1] that:
It is easy to program in Ruby, but Ruby is not a simple language.
This chapter is a tightrope walk between oversimplification and a degree of detail that is unnecessary for a Rails newbie. After all, the objective is not becoming a Ruby guru, but understanding Ruby on Rails. I am going to elaborate on the most important points. The rest is then up to you. If you would like to know more about Ruby, then I recommend the book "The Ruby Programming Language" by David Flanagan and Yukihiro Matsumoto.
Because Ruby version 2.0 is the way to go we use it. Please take care to update your current Ruby if you are running older versions. The command ruby -v will print the current running Ruby version:
$ ruby -v
ruby 2.0.0p247 (2013-06-27 revision 41674) [x86_64-darwin12.4.0]

Buy the new Rails 5.1 version of this book.

The beginning of this chaper is going to be a bit boring. Bear with me. It is worth it.

[1] The book is highly recommended for anyone who wants to understand Ruby. David Flanagan did great work together with Yukihiro Matsumoto (a.k.a. Matz).

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