This chapter addresses a few practical issues.
Some languages require some kind of punctuation, often a semicolon (
), to end each statement in a program. Ruby instead follows the convention used in shells like
. Multiple statements on one line must be separated by semicolons, but they are not required at the end of a line; a linefeed is treated like a semicolon. If a line ends with a backslash (
), the linefeed following it is ignored; this allows you to have a single logical line that spans several lines.
Why write comments? Although well written code tends to be self-documenting, it is often helpful to scribble in the margins, and it can be a mistake to believe that others will be able to look at your code and immediately see it the way you do. Besides, for practical purposes, you yourself are a different person within a few days anyway; which of us hasn't gone back to fix or enhance a program after the passage of time and said, I know I wrote this, but what in blazes does it mean?
Some experienced programmers will point out, quite correctly, that contradictory or outdated comments can be worse than none at all. Certainly, comments shouldn't be a substitute for readable code; if your code is unclear, it's probably also buggy. You may find that you need to comment more while you are learning ruby, and then less as you become better at expressing your ideas in simple, elegant, readable code.