First Time? Get Coding With Ruby in 20 minutes or less

It’s kind of weird looking back at where I started – the level of confusion and uncertainty was so high. Thankfully, I made it through, graduated from a great coding bootcamp and am here to offer some tips to get you started.

When I first started coding, it was on CodePen. It was great at the time, it had a preview window that automatically re-rendered when you updated the HTML or CSS. Soon though, that became kind of old. I wanted to start using text-editors that I kept hearing about and start running programs from my own computer.

The following is a quick walkthrough that should get you up and running to be coding in Ruby in 20 minutes or less. Let’s dive in:

  1. Update OSX
    • Check in the App store to see if you need an update, if so do that first. You always want to be running the most recent stable update of OSX.
    • OSX is more compatible for a Dev environment than windows, although Windows is doable.
  2. Install Chrome 
    • You shouldn’t be using Firefox, or God forbid, Internet Explorer. Chrome has awesome built in tools for developers so download and install that.
    • To access built in Chrome Devtools, right-click anywhere on the page and click ‘inspect element’. This will open up a whole assortment of cool tools like in-browser editing for HTML/CSS, and a console for debugging among other useful tools.
  3. Install Atom
    • What is Atom? Atom is a text-editor built for coding. It will make your programs color coded so it’s easier to navigate through and there are a million and one different packages you can experiment with for all sorts of expanded capabilities!
    • If you don’t want to use Atom, that’s fine. Another popular option is Sublime. If you are new to Text-Editors, give Atom a solid few weeks to acclimate to before switching.
    • Get Atom
  4. Install iTerm2
    • This is more of preference I suppose but I have learned to love it. iTerm is kind of a beefed up version of the stock terminal that Apple provides you with.
    • Download and Install
  5. Install ZSH
    • ZSH will just make things a little easier for you. You will be able to autocomplete commands by hitting tab and it will color code things for you. In general, I have found that it makes working in the terminal a much more enjoyable experience.
    • To install, go back to your terminal and type in the following: sh -c "$(curl -fsSL"
    • Verify Successful Install by doing the following:
      • Go to System Preferences
      • Go to Users & Groups
      • Click on the Lock and input your password
      • Right Click on your account
      • Click Advanced Options
      • Check to make sure your login shell is /bin/zsh
        • If it is not, restart your computer
      • Complete Installation by restarting iTerm
  6. Make Atom your Default Editor
    • Do this to make your life easier.
    • Open Atom and then the menu, click on Install Shell Commands
    • Run the following command: echo "export EDITOR=\"/usr/local/bin/atom --wait\"" >> ~/.zshrc
    • Verify Successful Install by typing the following commands into your terminal (iTerm2):
      • cd ~
      • Then, atom .zshrc
        • At the bottom of this file, you should see the following line: export EDITOR="/usr/local/bin/atom --wait"
  7. Install Ruby
    • Go to your terminal and type in the following: brew install ruby-install
    • Install the latest form of Ruby, ruby-install ruby 2.3.3


Congratulations, you now have a dev environment to work from! You have successfully installed the programming language, Ruby as well as a terminal, iTerm2 and a text-editor, Atom. With these three pieces, you can pretty much do anything, at least for now. Don’t get too hung up looking into devtools right now, let’s work with the basics and master those before moving forward. For some quick intros into the world of coding check out some of my other articles – Getting Started & Back to Basics: Ruby 101

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