lucky stiff

Why the lucky stiff

why the lucky stiff (often known simply as why or _why) is the persona of a prolific writer, cartoonist, musician, artist, and computer programmer notable for his work with the Ruby programming language. Along with Yukihiro Matsumoto and David Heinemeier Hansson, he is sometimes seen as a key figure in the Ruby community.

Why the lucky stiff was the keynote speaker at RailsConf in 2006., He also had a speaking session titled "A Starry Afternoon, a Sinking Symphony, and the Polo Champ Who Gave It All Up for No Reason Whatsoever" at the 2005 O'Reilly Open Source Convention held in Portland, Oregon. It explored how to teach programming and make it more appealing to adolescents.



His best known work is Why's (poignant) Guide to Ruby, which "teaches Ruby with stories." Paul Adams of Webmonkey describes its eclectic style as resembling a "collaboration between Stan Lem and Ed Lear".. Chapter three was published in The Best Software Writing I: Selected and Introduced by Joel Spolsky.

Try Ruby is an online interactive learning tool that provides a browser-based Ruby shell and an instructor that guides beginners through their first steps in Ruby.

His latest project, Hackety Hack, is a Ruby- and Mozilla- based environment used to teach programming to children.


_why is the author of several libraries and applications, most of them written in Ruby.

  • Camping, a microframework inspired by Ruby on Rails and based on Markaby that is less than 4 kilobytes.
  • Park Place, a "nearly complete clone of the Amazon S3 web service."
  • Hobix, a YAML-based weblog application written in Ruby.
  • Hpricot, an HTML parser.
  • Markaby, (markup as Ruby), a DSL to generate valid HTML using Ruby blocks and methods instead of tags.
  • MouseHole, a personal web proxy that can rewrite the web à la Greasemonkey.
  • the RedCloth library, which implements the Textile markup language.
  • the Sandbox, a library for managing several Ruby environments in a single process.
  • Syck, a YAML library for C, Ruby, and several other languages. Syck has been a part of standard Ruby libraries since Ruby version 1.8.0.
  • Shoes, a UI toolkit "for Making Web-like Desktop Apps


_why has appeared with his band The Thirsty Cups live at conferences and has recorded a soundtrack for his book Why's (poignant) Guide to Ruby.


He has illustrated The Ruby Programming Language, authored by David Flanagan and Yukihiro Matsumoto. He also dedicates his illustration every year to RubyKaigi, the biggest Ruby conference in Japan that's like RubyConf.

Etymology of the name

Although the exact origin of _why's name is unclear, it may be derived from Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead, in which Peter Keating exclaims, "Why, the lucky stiff!

External links


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