The History of Ruby

By now, Ruby is already 26 years old, and through this whole time its creators kept updating and improving it, giving the users the best quality. Over the course of the years, Ruby has changed significantly. It has grown up from a little boy to a mature man. In this post, I will go over the history of this programming language.

How it all began, 1993

Yukihiro Matsumoto and his colleague were engaged in a discussion, where the idea of creating an object-oriented scripting language came to mind. Matsumoto knew both Perl and Python, but he liked neither of the two; first one – because it was a “toy” language, and second one – because it was not a true object-oriented language.

The language that Matsumoto was looking for possessed several characteristics:

  • It had to be portable,
  • It had to provide exception handling,
  • It had to provide garbage collection,
  • It had to be syntactically simple,
  • It had to have iterators and closures,
  • And it had to be truly object-oriented.

Since Matsumoto could not find all the above mentioned characteristics in a single existing programming language, he decided to create his own language. In 1995, he released the very first version of Ruby, which still can be found and downloaded from a website.


First steps

Ruby was establishing itself a bit more firmly after the release of an update in 2016, then 1997 and 1998. During this time, Ruby was only known in Japan, but Matsumoto was planning to change this.

Moving further

In 1998, the core team wrote a homepage for Ruby in English. When the first Ruby mail list Ruby-Talk was created on the internet, the word of Ruby finally spread out of Japan and further into Europe and the Americas. Even now, after so many years, Ruby-Talk still exists and still functions, thanks to their active members who actively participate in the discussions.

In 1999, the creators published their first book on Ruby: The Object-oriented Scripting Language Ruby. Its popularity in Japan made it known to English-speaking countries, and in 2001, the first book on Ruby, Programming Ruby, was published. The language attracted many people and the learners around the world increased.

In 2003, the new version was released, now including additional features, such as fully qualified names, WEBrick, open-uri, PP, native YAML support, StringIO, and so on. In 2004, RubyGemswas released.


2005 was the year when Ruby took off with a bang, due to the release of Ruby on Rails, the web framework. The world community loved the framework so much that the numbers of those who studied the language noticeably increased. There were two more versions released, in 2007 and 2008, with the new features being new methods, more strings formatting tweaks, new socket API, and many more.


The release of 2013 stabilized some features, including more speed improvements, keyword arguments, built-in syntax documentation, refinements, UTF-8 by default, and so on. The version of 2014 introduced some speed improvements and bug fixes, and since then there were only fixes with the newest versions.


Ruby is a great language: very easy to learn and very fun to use for programming and web development. The creator Matsumoto was looking for the language that would satisfy himself. In fact, he managed to bring excitement to many more people around the world. Among the predictions about the future will be one that surely makes me believe that the core team will continue polishing the language and bringing it to perfection, making it soon outsmart the programming language giants that the little guy is competing for.

Many programming languages define some elements, classes and instances, such as Booleans, integers or “null”, as primitives. Ruby, however, is object-oriented and it treats every value as an object. All variables in Ruby have connections to objects.

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