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Ruby Challenges / Analyzing Shakespeare

Hey there! We're thoughtbot, a design and development consultancy that brings your digital product ideas to life. We also love to share what we learn.

This coding exercise comes from Upcase, the online learning platform we run. It's part of the Ruby Challenges course and is just one small sample of all the great material available on Upcase, so be sure to visit and check out the rest.

Exercise Intro

Difficulty: Easy, but requires isolating an external service during testing.

As a Shakespeare buff, statistics junkie, and Unix lover, Ben finds himself wanting a command-line tool for analyzing Macbeth.

Write a command-line program that prints the number of lines spoken by each character in the play.


To start, you'll want to clone and run the setup script for the repo

git clone
cd analyzing-shakespeare

Sample usage/output (using made-up numbers):

$ ruby macbeth_analyzer.rb
  543 Macbeth
  345 Banquo
  220 Duncan

You can find an XML-encoded version of Macbeth here: Your program should download and parse this file at runtime.

Your solution must be tested, preferably via TDD. Running your tests should not download the play from the server.

Note: some lines are attributed to a speaker called "ALL". Your program should ignore these.

Featured Solution

Check out the featured solution branch to see the approach we recommend for this exercise.

Forum Discussion

If you find yourself stuck, be sure to check out the associated Upcase Forum discussion for this exercise to see what other folks have said.

Next Steps

When you've finished the exercise, head on back to the Ruby Challenges course to find the next exercise, or explore any of the other great content on Upcase.


analyzing-shakespeare is Copyright © 2015-2018 thoughtbot, inc. It is free software, and may be redistributed under the terms specified in the LICENSE file.



This exercise is maintained and funded by thoughtbot, inc.

The names and logos for Upcase and thoughtbot are registered trademarks of thoughtbot, inc.

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