Roblog

home about me text processing with ruby

About me

I'm Rob Miller: sometime web developer, writer, marketing bod, and various other things. When I code I work mainly in Ruby and SQL; when I write it's typically, though not always, on technical subjects; I've worked in marketing for lots of generally FMCG clients. I'm interesting in rather a lot, and I'll try my hand at any of it.

I spend my days crunching numbers and herding cats at Big Fish — a design, branding, and marketing consultancy — where I'm Operations Director, looking after all of the non-design aspects of the business, from client services to digital.

Before I got back into techie pursuits, in 2010, I worked as a journalist and lived for a time in Bosnia where I reported on war crimes trials at the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina. I'm still a fully signed-up Balkanophile, and follow the region's news whenever I can.

Ceasing to work as a journalist hasn't diminished my love for writing, as I assume you can see from this blog. Some of the most popular entries here have been:

  • Decoding "Almost Sinatra" — an article in which I break down Konstantin Haase's "Almost Sinatra", trying to discover the Ruby tricks within and gain an education in just how concise Ruby can be.
  • Ruby's -e, -n, and -p switches — I talked here about these three command line arguments to the Ruby executable, inherited from Perl, that enable you to perform powerful one-liners in the shell to process text.

I don’t just write about techie things, but I keep my non-tech things a bit segregated; you can find book reviews, travel writing, and other attempts at “serious” writing on my writing blog.

I also wrote my first book in 2015: Text Processing with Ruby. Aimed at the novice-to-intermediate Ruby developer, TPWR takes you from the basics of reading files through to parsing structured files, using regular expressions to extract data from text, and writing Unix utilities that can play nicely with other processes — with lots more along the way. If you've ever found yourself with a mountain of text and not known what to do with it, TPWR might help. TPWR was picked up by Pragmatic Bookshelf in the summer of 2014, and is available to buy from their website.

I also enjoy working on open source projects. You can find some of the ones I've worked on on my GitHub profile. Among the more popular ones are: ruby-wpdb, a WordPress binding for Ruby; varnisher, a tool for purging Varnish HTTP caches; and batchtapaper, a mass-adding tool for Instapaper.

If you'd like to contact me, you can email me at r@robm.me.uk.