The Ruby Rogues

The Ruby Rogues podcast is a panel discussion about topics relating to programming, careers, community, and Ruby. We release a conversation with notable programmers and Rubyists each week to help programmers advance in their careers and skills.

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MRS 016 Marc-Andre Cournoyer


MRS 016 Marc-Andre Cournoyer

Today's episode is a My Ruby Story with Marc-Andre Cournoyer. He was the creator of the Thin web server and he will be speaking at the Ruby Dev Summit. On this episode, Marc talked about how he got into programming and Ruby. Listen to learn more about Marc!

[01:05] – Introduction to Marc

Marc is the creator of the Thin web server, one of the most popular Ruby server. He also had some minor contributions to Ruby. One of them is called Tinyrb, which is a small Ruby VM. Then, he wrote a book about creating your own programming language. He will be speaking at Ruby Dev Summit.

[02:45] – How did you get into programming?

Marc’s first experience with a computer was when he’s around 8 or 9 years old. It was on the early 1990s. His parents won a Commodore 64 at the grocery store. He got bored really fast with the games so he looked at other things. One of them is the Commodore Basic. You could not save on a Commodore 64 if you didn’t add the tape recorder so he would have to start again each time. He also went to a library and got some books about Commodore 64 programming. Eventually, he started creating his own simple programs.

A few years later, Marc got a Pentium 2. It was around 1995. He saved money and bought himself Microsoft Visual Basic 4. It has the UI with the drags and drops where you drop buttons and timers on a page. You would double click the buttons and you would open a window where you can put your code. He had about hundred projects on that machine.

[05:35] – How old were you when you got into VB?

Marc was 14 or 15 years old when he got into VB.

[06:05] – How did you get into Ruby?

After that, it has become Marc’s career choice to become a programmer. He went to university. After that, he got his first job in 2002 doing Visual Basic 4 application that runs inside Microsoft Office suite. He also did a little bit of Java and .NET. He didn’t enjoy programming, he started losing my passion, and he stopped doing projects on the side. But he still kept on reading some books about programming.

One of them is a book by Joel Spolsky, The Best Software Writing. It was published in 2005. The last chapter is an extract of Why’s (Poignant) Guide to Ruby, which was an introductory book about Ruby. Marc liked the syntax so he started practicing Ruby more. He started doing side projects again because it was fun programming Ruby. And then, he discovered Rails about a year later. Because of that, he created many other projects and got a job at a startup in Montreal.

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Marc-Andre Cournoyer

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