Frequently Asked Questions

My install of Hackety-Hack crashes?

Yes, we noticed that. Sorry. Multi-platform weirdness and all that. There are some known problems with HH on Windows Vista and XP, and they are being worked on.

Always check you have the latest updates at the Hackety Hack Downloads page just in case something has been fixed.

Also, some Windows users have found that moving HH to C:\apps instead of C:\Programs.... makes HH a little happier.

What tutorials are available after I finish 'Beyond Shoes'?

There will be more Tutorials added in the future. Meanwhile may I direct your curious minds to the following excellent resources on learning more about Shoes, Ruby and programming:

  • Shoes website : links to several things Shoes-y, some repeated below.
  • Shoes Manual : a light waltz through Shoes. This is available through Hackety Hack's 'Help' menu;
  • Nobody Knows Shoes : _why's tutorial on Shoes and all the useful bits in it. Many, many, bits.
  • Chris Pine's Learn to program : 1st Edition is online for free. 2nd Edition Book it as Pragmatic Programmers is bigger, better and has many more examples)
  • Poignant Guide to Ruby : the delightful exploration of ruby with some foxes, chunky bacon, and more of _why's stylish examples. get it here
  • Learn Ruby the Hard Way : Don't let the title scare you. This book does not assume any programming skills and yet it's great for novices.

Why can't I see the Turtle?

The tutorial on Turtle graphics uses Turtle.draw which gives the Turtle super-speed: it does the job and hides the turtle before you even see it. Turtles can be surprisingly fast.

Change Turtle.draw to Turtle.start to see the turtle (whom I have nicknamed 'Chell') perform each of your commands. You can also do things like saying 'Chell! I command thee!' before each step, although it will not change the program outcome. But you might enjoy it.

Where are my programs and samples stored?


  • My Programs: your home directory, in the hidden folder '.hacketyhack' (eg: \users\jsmith\.hacketyhack).
  • Samples are in the 'samples' directory in the My Programs directory.

Mac OS X

  • My Programs: your home directory, in the hidden folder '.hacketyhack' (eg: \Users\jsmith\.hacketyhack). Quickest way to get there using the Finder menus > Go > Go to Folder > type ~/.hacketyhack/ then click 'Go'. The files are plain text and can be opened in any text editor.
  • Samples are in the Hackety Hack Package (/Applications then right-click on Hackety Hack > Show Package Contents > Contents > MacOS > app > samples)

Windows Vista / XP

  • My Programs: In your username 'Documents and Settings' folder (eg: C:\Documents and Settings\jsmith\.hacketyhack). For the interested, the '.' at the start is left over from Linux and Mac and would otherwise make this folder hidden. But it's not on Windows.
  • Samples are under the Shoes folder in 'Program Files' (eg: C:\Program Files\Common Files\Shoes\0.r1514\samples)

How do I upload my programs to

  1. Create an account on Start by clicking here
  2. In the HH application look for the 'Preferences' icon on the lower left side of the window
  3. Enter your account name and password then click 'Save'
  4. Now, when you create or edit a program, the 'Upload' button will be available to automatically upload the program to your page.

What is the 'Preferences' page and the 2 text boxes?

The 'Preferences' are for you to type your account details, for uploading files to your profile page. This is a way for you to show others what you are doing, and a way of sharing code if you are having problems. When you enter any programs there will be an 'Upload' button in the editor (next to Run) which you can use to, well, upload the program to your profile page (on the site, click 'My Page' at top-right)

Where is my page on

Check the upper right hand side of the page: when you're logged in, it has your username. Click it to go to your page.

You can usually click on another user's name to get to their page, if you're elsewhere on the site.

If I change a sample, does it change the original?

No. When you click on a Sample program, it is loaded into the Editor and you can change as much of it as you like. When you exit, the sample is not changed.

You can also click the 'Copy' button in the Editor (next to 'Run') then give it a new name and it will become one of your programs. You can then edit your version as much as you wish.

(NOTE: There is a small bug you might experience - after the 'Copy', Hackety Hack temporarily renames the sample program as well. The sample reverts to it's correct name after HH is closed/reopened)

Where'd you get the sweet icons?

Raindropmemory on Deviant Art made them. They're super great, aren't they?


Special thanks goes out to Eric Affleck for writing this FAQ.