I finally wrote my first Ruby gem and it’s called HNsearch. All it does is allows me to search for users and items on Hacker News from my terminal. It was a great experience for me to write a gem of my own and if you like to work with Ruby, then you should write one too.

What all did I use?

HNsearch uses Nestful, Thor and JSON gems.

  • Nestful is a simple gem that allows one to make requests. I used it to communicate to the hnsearch API.
  • Thor is a powerful gem that helped me write the command line interface.
  • JSON does what it is supposed to do. It parses the generated hash to a JSON object which was easy to fiddle with.

How did I do it?

It wasn’t a lot of effort to write a small gem of this sort. I started with some starting queries on the Internet like writing your first ruby gem and how to write your first ruby gem. I found some great posts on the same -

Since, I was trying to write a command-line application, the third link was the most useful for me. I quickly set up a Bundler project using bundle gem HNsearch and it created my starting directory structure.

% tree
|-- .gitignore
|-- Gemfile
|-- HNsearch.gemspec
|-- lib
|   |-- HNsearch
|   |   `-- version.rb
|   `-- HNsearch.rb
|-- Rakefile
`-- README.md

As I needed a gem that I could run directly from the terminal, I created a directory bin and created a file called HNsearch inside it. The file just starts the CLI from my module HNsearch.

Writing a gem of your own is a satisfying experience and you get to learn a lot from it. And another advantage that comes along with it is the part where others can download your gem and use it.


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