SU Ruby Course Request

Would any of you SU Ruby gurus be willing to make a course on a website like ?
Dan Rathbun
Thomas Thomassen
Chris Fullmer

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I have been thinking about making a blog post with information for how to get started if you have never coded before. So far I haven’t gotten around to do it though. I can’t make any promises but if I would find the time to do it, is there anything in particular you think should be included?


First, thank you for your Townhouse System, and all your other plugins.
I have been watching Ruby tutorials on YouTube, but they just aren’t specific to Sketchup. After watching some of them, it is amazing how much there is to learn, just in Ruby, and then Ruby specific to Sketchup is a whole new level. I seem to learn mostly by looking at other people’s plugins, not really knowing the why. The plugin I’m trying to make is to make a UI, and have it put blocks together randomly; A door level, some mid windows level, and a roof level. I have made some starter blocks, I just don’t understand the ruby. I was hoping by pointing to an e-learning site, whomever made the tutorials could benefit from it, financially at least. I guess what I’m asking for is a lot. Just video tutorials on how to use ruby in Sketchup. This what I’ve made so far in SU7. MG Build (1.9 MB)

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“If you have never coded before” I’m not sure this is the best place to start.
That’s because to code SketchUp extensions you need to master 3 domains:

  1. SketchUp and its concepts.

  2. Ruby

  3. The SketchUp ruby API

Even for people who have programmed in other languages, the learning curve is steep and involves a number of bits and pieces and editors that I had to discover by luck and trial and error.
See my post:
(Advice to Ruby Newbies from a Not Quite Newbie Anymore)

I don’t necessarily think Sketchup plugins is a bad place to start code. The biggest problem I can see is how little tutorials and other resources there are for beginners. It’s much easier to find resources for something as widespread as HTML for instance.

Off course it requires you to really know Sketchup. I don’t think anyone should think about writing a plugin or add-on for any program without first being an advanced user.

You don’t need to master ruby before starting experimenting with plugins. I had never heard about the language before starting making my first scripts to automate some tedious tasks in SU. However I had previous experience with PHP and a little javascript so I knew the basics about how writing code works.

I wouldn’t say you need to master the API before starting making plugins. Quite the opposite, you wont start to learn the API before you start make plugins.

If there were more resources to help people get started with the ruby API it would probably be the first thing I’d recommend to many people I meet who want to learn to code. I meet many of these people through the SU community to start with so they are often experienced SU users already. Also it helps a lot of people to have a goal you’ve set up yourself to achieve when learning something new. I sometimes meet people who have a very specific idea of a really simple plugin/script that would help them in their daily work which I think is the best motivation you can have to learn something new.

Nice list by the way. I can relate to many of the things in it when learning to code plugins myself!

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My architecture school didn’t teach me this (PHP or java…or even HTML). I would have loved learning this though. Wish I had thought of writing some plugins whilst i was doing all the design tasks!!

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We have been working on new examples and tutorials which will be released this year. :slight_smile:

@ChrisFullmer - ping! (just for reference)


Hello everyone! Are there any news about this topic?

I am one of these people @eneroth3 has mentioned, I have some specific ideas about what my little scripts should be doing, but very basic idea of programming (a tiny bit of Java and experiments with Grasshopper visual programming. I know this does not count as programming, but still…)
So I am trying to estimate how much effort=time it will take me to master scripting.

Example scripts give me very little understanding about how the system works…

The basic tutorials I found online seem to be quite intuitive, but they are too simple for the stuff I am trying to do. This is all I foung Homepage | SketchUp Developer and the following tutorials.

Perhaphs someone can advise a book including SU API and Ruby introduction?

Thanks, Anna.

I do recommend the book “Automatic SketchUp” by Matthew Scarpino. The sages don’t like it, and it’s far from complete or up to date, but for a newbie who is totally lost, it’s the only reference where Ruby and the SketchUp API are explained together. It’s free at

See my full post at (Advice to Ruby Newbies from a Not Quite Newbie Anymore)

Thanks! I have seen your post, thanks for summarizing your experience!

I basically agree with @barry_milliken_droid about the three areas to learn, though I think that once one has grasped SketchUp and the basics of Ruby it is very useful to study other people’s extension code while learning the SketchUp Ruby API.

Like most code libraries (and most books on Ruby for that matter) the API documentation presents classes and methods out of context, leaving you unclear how to string them together to do anything useful. Seeing how others pull it off is an important learning tool. I learned that way, and I don’t encrypt my extensions so that others can do the same (of course, I don’t write extensions with valuable intellectual property, so I don’t have an economic motive for concealing how they work). Also, there are enough omissions, outright errors, and confusing terse examples in the SketchUp Ruby API docs that studying them can actually increase your confusion. Again, working extensions show how others have dealt with these flaws.

The difficulty with tutorials is that to fit into a workable amount of time and space they necessarily have to limit what they can cover. The vast assortment of extensions and plugins illustrate many ore techniques than any single tutorial could hope to do.

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Right now we are very busy preparing for the next release. But once that is out the door we will be starting to post some stuff.

Any chance of this ever happening?