During my teaching, one obvious effective tool for learning Ruby is the Interactive Ruby Shell (IRB). It helps students figure out how to play with Ruby’s syntax before they go on to write their first script. I’d heard about Pry before, but it wasn’t until lately that it came up on my radar again. Here is a small collection of links to blogs, resources, and screencasts that I have found helpful in understanding how powerful it is in development.
I can’t see myself using it just for a plain Ruby program, but it definitely is better than the basic Rails console.
I just use it like this from within the base of my project:
$ bundle exec pry -r ./config/environment