Recently after doing a Code Retreat with Cory Haines I found myself really wanting to work on my Ruby fu. I was inspired by the idea of practicing my trade everyday in some simple exercises that allow me to focus on parts of the language to really learn it well.
So I decided to pick up the Ruby Koans which I was introduced to a year or so ago but never thought I needed that. I always figured I could just keep learning by using Ruby for my projects, but then I realized that I was just using the same few parts of the language to build my apps.
Following the craftsman analogy, I was using the same saw and hammer because they are comfortable. I didn’t take the time to learn about the pneumatic framing nailer because I already had a way to pound in nails, but boy does it make building things easier.
So if you are new to Ruby or have been using it for awhile I really recommend you find some exercises to keep your skills sharp and explore new parts of the language. I really think the Ruby Koans are perfect for this, I see them being easy to get started and with enough substance that even seasoned developers will pick up new things.