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Why’s “Try Ruby” (Web Version of irb) Back Online

By Peter Cooper / September 2, 2009

Screen shot 2009-09-02 at 19.19.38.pngTry Ruby was a Web site by Why The Lucky Stiff that provided a Web-based version of irb (the interactive ruby prompt) and a 15 minute tutorial for people to learn and play with Ruby. With Why's disappearance, however, the site went down and an invaluable Ruby community resource was lost.

Luckily, Andrew McElroy has made a great effort in getting Try Ruby back online. It's not precisely the same, but it's as close as you're going to get for now (one key difference is that the irb process is not persistent - instead the history is re-run on each new line). There's even the 15 minute introductory Ruby tutorial! An extra bonus is that Andrew has released all of the code he has for Try Ruby in a Github repository. Why's code was never open sourced but Andrew has done a good job in starting to rebuild the backend.

Note that this is not a Why-approved project (yet). To the best of my knowledge there is still no further information on Why's disappearance.


  1. john says:

    Not Ruby 1.9.1, though . . .

  2. anonymous says:

    who the heck cares. install ruby and try it. this is a waste of time project.

  3. Peter Cooper says:

    @anonymous: I sorta thought that when the first one came out, but I've seen so many people say it helped them become curious about Ruby and actually "give it a go" that I certainly don't hold that opinion anymore. Whatever makes it easier.. :)

  4. anonymous says:

    I agree with anonymous

  5. Tim Inman says:

    It's why I tried Ruby and got hooked.

  6. William M. says:

    It's very awesome that this is back online again. A lot of people were worried this was going to be lost to history. Thanks, Andrew!

  7. FerFebles says:

    It was my first try in ruby and, after two enjoyable years of full Ruby work, I'm very pleased to see this site online again!

  8. anonymous says:

    Don't listen to those impostors that claimed to be me above.

    This should be permanently hosted on, imho.

  9. Peter Cooper says:

    I'm glad y'all commented but I'm not seeing the point behind the anonymity here - it's not like you're spilling the beans on your salary or asking how to use a FleshLight :)

  10. Unamamous says:

    I had a flesh light and i accidentally the whole thing.

    Anyway, glad to see this back online.

  11. toto says:

    I resurrected why's ruby guide from the caches because I thought it was to good for the world to not have it around. I put it up on GitHub Pages:

  12. lezardbreton says:

    The real url is this one :, I don't see the point of using a url-shortener, this is not twitter :)
    By the way, they are fixing a security hole right now.

  13. Andrew McElroy says:

    Andrew McElroy here:

    First off, thanks for publishing this article.
    Second, it would be trivial for me to make this ruby 1.9.

    It is temporarily offline due to some prick installing a rootkit on the vm it was hosted on. It should be back up by noon central time today.

    I will move this to 1.9 once I get $SAFE = 4 working.
    By working, it must return the results of an eval.

    As for anon, not everyone has write access to their own machine.
    This is perfect for quickly showing a coworker ruby.

  14. Andrew McElroy says:

    Also, once I get security a little better under wraps, I will also have a jruby version of this as well.

    I am open to new lesson plans idea, too.

  15. anonymous says:

    Now that you mention it, I am curious. How does one use the FleshLight?

  16. anonymous says:

    ruby is great, but i totally agree that it's just as easy to install it for test spin than it is to use some kind of sandbox doohickie. now a "try FleshLight" site...i think you're onto something there mr. cooper.

  17. Lee says:

    "We will be back in a few hours. Someone discovered a security hole. They reported it, but not until someone else thought it would be cute to drop a rootkit in."


  18. MattHulse says:

    It's back up but the tutorial isn't working right now. Following the tutorial just leads to security errors: SecurityError: Insecure operation - eval. Must still be working on it.

    To anonymous 1 and 2: I used _why's try ruby when evangelizing Ruby at my workplace. It is so much easier (and cooler) to be able to give someone a link and tell them to take 15 minutes to see what the Ruby commotion is all about without having to install anything. Maybe it's a waste of time to you because you have irb installed and you have no need for a 15 minute tutorial on basic Ruby. The idea is to let people try ruby without having to install anything. Very worthwhile in my opinion and thanks to Andrew for reviving it.

  19. Peter Cooper says:

    @lezardbreton: I've not used a shortener before, I just did this time as I wanted to get a feel for how many people click through to things from Ruby Inside, as I'd never really got an idea for it before (since I almost never link to my own stuff) :)

  20. Peter Cooper says:

    For those anonymouses (anonymii?) who expressed an interest in the FleshLight, I heard this review yesterday and thought it was pretty hilarious: - no, it's NSFW.

  21. Christopher Small says:

    I agree that having an online version is definitely a plus - it really is a lot less fuss to not have install something to try it out, and as several have pointed out, there are those who would not have gotten into Ruby had it not been for the online irb. So, thank you, kudos and good luck with the hackers.

  22. seydar says:

    I've used this at school to write programs to help me do statistics.

  23. Peter Wagenet says:

    I'm yet another person who played around with the previous online version. Sure, it's no substitute for a locally installed copy, but it's a great way to see how awesome Ruby is without having to spend the effort to install.

  24. Peter Cooper says:

    Testing 1 2 3. Upgraded WordPress..

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