What Is Ruby and Why Should You Learn It?

Cole Tomashot
2 min readJul 20, 2021



Ruby is a programming language created by Yukihiro Matsumoto to mix his favorite aspects of Perl, Smalltalk, Eiffel, Ada, and Lisp. When Matsumoto has been asked about the philosophy behind Ruby, he tends to compare the language to humans saying he wanted “to make Ruby natural, not simple. Ruby is simple in appearance, but is very complex inside, just like our human body.

The language was originally released to the public in 1995 and did not see wide usage until 2006, but currently, ruby-lang.org states that “Ruby is ranked among the top 10 on most of the indices that measure the growth and popularity of programming languages worldwide (such as the TIOBE index).” Additionally, the site credits the growth of the language in no small part to the fact that Ruby is entirely free for anyone to use, duplicate, change, and share.


Having started to learn Ruby as the introductory language to a coding bootcamp, I had incorrectly assumed that it would be simplistic, but I quickly learned that Ruby is both quite versatile and a great place to start learning how to code. This seems to be in large part due to Matsumoto’s belief that Ruby should be “natural,” and the fact that the syntax of the language is much easier for me as a beginner to learn and follow along with. Looking again at ruby-lang.org, it states that Ruby’s syntax was inspired directly by Smalltalk, which is another object-oriented language that gives all of its types of methods and instance variables to use.

As for some real-world groups that use Ruby beyond, I found that probably the most exciting examples are the NASA Langley Research Center and Motorola. Both of these organizations specifically use Ruby to script and conduct simulations, though Ruby has also been used by other companies for things such as 3D modeling, robotics, and system administration.

Overall it would appear that the intentions Matsumoto had when creating Ruby have largely been achieved, as the nature of the language’s syntax has made it “simple in appearance” but “complex inside” enough for professionals to use.