What do Zen and Zombies have in common? You probably got the beginning with the letter ā€œZā€, but did you also guess Ruby? This blog post is to share two awesome and fun filled ways to learn Ruby and Ruby and Rails.

First, let’s start with the Zen. Edgecase created a great way of learning Ruby. It is through Ruby Koans . Koans are a way of teaching Zen through questions. The master asks the student a question. The student then meditates on it until they come to the answer , eventually leading to enlightenment. The Ruby Koans are cleverly designed to teach bite size tidbits of the Ruby language through the completion of unfinished test cases. Each test case is a Koan. Every time you fix the test case by filling in the blanks, you are gaining a deeper understanding of the language. The main path_to_enlightment.rb file leads you through test cases that explore many areas of the languages such as Strings, Classes, Methods, and Exceptions. Enlightenment has never been so much fun.

Moving from enlightenment to tasty brains for Zombies, we have Rails for Zombies http://railsforzombies.org. Envy Labs has raised the bar in online tutorials. The traditional way to learn Ruby on Rails is to download the programs, struggle a bit as you figure out how to install it and then work through exercises locally through a book, website guide or podcast. Rails for Zombies takes out all the pain of the traditional way and replaces it with enjoyment. Everything is done in the browser, including code. The format is to watch a video with Zombies and Rails code and then take what you learned by completing a lab exercise in the browser. After you complete the lab, you unlock the next video. Over the course of five labs, you create a Twitter web app for the Zombie hoard. It’s a win for you and the Zombies.

So if you are curious about Ruby, these are two great ways to try it out. I promise you that will have fun learning. Although, some people may also experience occasional uncontrollable desire to eat brains….

Photo Credits

Zen: http://www.flickr.com/photos/shebalso/121744939/

Zombie: http://www.flickr.com/photos/70109407@N00/5188908499/