On Wed, Feb 10, 2010 at 5:53 PM, Marnen Laibow-Koser
If you need to ask the mailing list a question like this, then you are
not ready to be writing Ruby tutorials. Sorry, but that’s the way it
I’m not sure that this is true. Sometimes, when the person writing the
tutorial has a very firm commanding of the subject matter, they gloss
the kinds of things that trip up newbies. To someone well versed in
exit is so obvious that they probably don’t think to address it.
I was tutoring a student at my school for “Problem Solving and
in C” (CS211, first programming course) and he was struggling with
like figuring out where his files were, simple syntax, understanding
prototypes, understanding that functions can’t see eachother’s data.
I would not have focused on if I were writing a tutorial, things the
probably gave a cursory explanation to.
When you are just starting out with something, you have a steep slope
of you, and only after you climb over it will you have the foundation of
knowledge necessary to understand most of the available resources.
I’m trying to learn Clojure right now, and getting started was very
frustrating, there were things the Clojure book just says, that I needed
specific steps and examples for, but the author thought that just
to do something was enough. So I had to do a lot of work and a lot of
digging, and consider quitting several times, because the perspective of
author was so different from my perspective.
So I think there may be a case for tutorials for newbies by newbies,
the things that trip up the tutorial’s author are the kinds of things
author is going to emphasize, and these are much more likely to be the
of things that the readers will also be struggling with. When you don’t
anything, and you figure something out for the first time, you know
firsthand what the hurdles are for someone in your situation, and so if
readers are in that same situation, then the tutorial’s subject matter,
emphases are more relevant to them.
This is my hypothesis. It might be useful to have Charlie ask some of
people he is writing the tutorial for to use a different tutorial by
with more knowledge, and see how effective each was (ie gather some
empirical data to test the hypothesis).