otw_recruit (otw_recruit) wrote in otw_news,

Python vs Ruby Deathmatch!

Now for something a little more fun.

We are hoping to teach people to code as part of the archive project, because we need a lot of help, and also because this way we hope people will be able to take these spiffy coding skills and do more fun projects for fandom in future.

If you can write an HTML page with a bit of CSS, if you have figured out Photoshop or Premiere or VirtualDub, if you can make a custom LJ layout or muck with an S2 style, if you have ever installed, you can learn this stuff, and we hope to get you to try this.

If you have some coding experience but do not consider yourself a regular coder, by all means give it a shot. Just let us know know about your background when you email the results to us.

As step one in our master plan, we need some reasonably tech-savvy people who are NOT programmers to help us figure out which programming language, Ruby or Python, is more user-friendly for brand-new coders. We would be especially grateful for anyone to try this out who has any kind of physical, sensory, or cognitive disabilities, so we can make sure we don't pick something hard to use for anyone with these problems.

Here is how it works:

1) Flip a coin. Heads you start with Ruby, tails you start with Python.

2) Go to one of the following two pages, which are the "getting started" pages.

Getting Started with Ruby

Getting Started with Python

3) Check your watch when you load the page. Follow the instructions to install the programming language. Check your watch again and see how long it took you.

4) Repeat for the other language.

When you are done, please note down for us:

- what operating system you have
- how long it took you to do the whole install for each
- which set of instructions you liked better and which one you found easier
- if you ran into problems and got annoyed and gave up on one or the other or both, PLEASE let us know that!

Okay, that is the easy part. Now we get to the exciting part.

5) Write a program!

Your program will be a Choose Your Own Adventure story of the epic love/hate between Python and Ruby, two programming languages struggling for domination in the cruel world of Silicon Valley! We want you to create, using the tutorials listed below, a program that will print out something that looks like this:

Python and Ruby meet in a dark alleyway. What happens?
1) They fight!
2) They kiss!
Your choice:

And then whoever is running the program types in either "1" or "2" and the story continues with another choice:

For example, if you choose 1, you get:

Python and Ruby do battle in the alleyway! Who wins?
1) Python
2) Ruby
Your choice:

If you choose 2, you get:

Ruby is victorious! Python weeps bitter tears and plots revenge.

and that is it (although feel free to make this a much more exciting story).

We have provided two tutorials for non-programmers below, one for Python and one for Ruby.

The trick is that we would like you to try writing this program with no help from any programmers or coders. DO feel free to help each other out in the comments, ask your flist for help (as long as you say "no coders answer!"), or to Google for other help or ideas--in fact, if you find a different tutorial or book out there which you think is better than the ones below, we really want to hear about it.

Ruby Tutorial (You won't need anything past the section called "Flow Control".)

Python Tutorial (You won't need anything past the section called "Decisions".)

6) Tell us how it went, and which of the two languages you liked best. If you weren't able to get the program running in a reasonable amount of time, that is itself useful information for us! If you don't have time to do it in both programs, just do it in the one that won your coin toss.

7) Email your results to volunteers@transformativeworks.org. Please put "Python vs Ruby" in the subject line!

8) Deadline for results is 11:59PM GMT on Friday, October 19th, 2007.

Comments will be left unscreened on this post for discussion purposes.

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