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Welcome to RubyKickstart!

RubyKickstart is an interactive guide to learning the Ruby programming language.

The material here follows along with the videos, but it's not necessary to watch them to get the benefits. And get the source code with notes and challenges.

How it works

RubyKickstart is downloaded onto your computer as a folder full of files and folders. It consists of six sessions, all of which have common features:


Each session has a video where I go through the notes with some friends I made this material for. Watch your way through the video and follow along with the material on your computer.


Each session has a set of notes files, which are just simple Ruby programs that are heavily commented to walk through the material of that session. This is the material that we go through for each session.


Existence of examples is intermittent. They are full Ruby programs that demonstrate the material taught in the notes. You can run them on your own and modify them to experiment with the ideas they demonstrate.


Each session has an associated quiz available on the website. The quizzes test that you understood the material for the session.


Challenges are found in each session. They provide fun programming exercises for you to work through, so you have something to work on that utilizes the session's information. Challenges are taken from a few different places. Several are taken from different books that I have enjoyed, including the third edition of Absolute Java by Walter Savitch, which is probably my favourite CS book (for beginners), it was exceptionally well done, and one was taken from Learn to Program by Chris Pine, a book to teach programming to absolute beginners, using Ruby. The rest were spawned out of my own brain, or from real world situations that I have found myself in.

Solved & Specs

Along with challenges, each session provides solutions to its challenges and a suite of automated tests you can use to test the correctness of your solutions.


Although not part of the sessions, RubyKickstart has a number of cheatsheets which contain all the syntax for various topics. Some of the material in the cheatsheets is not covered in the notes or examples for sessions, so make sure you check out the cheatsheets before diving into the challenges.


  • 1
    • Introduction
    • Arithmetic
    • Logic
    • String
    • Basic IO
  • 2
    • Arrays
    • Basic Classes
    • Singleton Classes
  • 3
    • Symbols
    • Hashes
    • Blocks / Procs
    • Method Parameters
  • 4
    • Boolean Return Values
    • Introspection / Reflection
    • Ranges
    • Simple File IO
    • Inheritance
    • Exceptions
  • 5
    • Modules
    • Regular Expressions
    • Ruby gems
  • 6
    • The Web
    • Sinatra
    • ERB
    • Rack
    • Git
    • Heroku

What you'll need to use it

To use RubyKickstart, you'll need several tools:

  • Ruby the happy programming language :)
  • Rake version 0.8.7+ see if you have it by typing "gem list" at the command line, we use it to apply the tests
  • RSpec version 2.0+ currently we use this for testing
  • git lets you download our changes without overwriting your work. Good installation instructions at (
  • A text editor Our Recommendations:
    • Windows: SciTE should come with the one click installer
    • Linux: SciTE also works great on linux :)
    • Mac: TextMate costs $50 but can be used by a beginner, and yet is powerful, has a community, and can be customized to meet your needs


This is several years old now, but I updated it to RSpec 3 and cleaned it up a lot in December 2014. Everything should still work fine and be applicable.

There is now a Gemfile in the root, you can ignore it, it's mostly for letting me know what versions I last checked it against.

The website is down now b/c Heroku changed since I made this. I'll hopefully get it up again, but IDK how much work it's going to take, so it might not happen.


An interactive guide to learning the Ruby programming language.







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