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Open Access Highly Accessed Correspondence

An introduction to scripting in Ruby for biologists

Jan Aerts1* and Andy Law2

Author Affiliations

1 Genome Dynamics and Evolution Group, Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Wellcome Trust Genome Campus, Hinxton, CB10 1SA, UK

2 Division of Genetics and Genomics, The Roslin Institute and Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, University of Edinburgh, Roslin, EH25 9PS, UK

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BMC Bioinformatics 2009, 10:221  doi:10.1186/1471-2105-10-221

Published: 16 July 2009

Abstract

The Ruby programming language has a lot to offer to any scientist with electronic data to process. Not only is the initial learning curve very shallow, but its reflection and meta-programming capabilities allow for the rapid creation of relatively complex applications while still keeping the code short and readable. This paper provides a gentle introduction to this scripting language for researchers without formal informatics training such as many wet-lab scientists. We hope this will provide such researchers an idea of how powerful a tool Ruby can be for their data management tasks and encourage them to learn more about it.