Beginning Ruby: From Novice to Professional

Front Cover
Apress, May 1, 2007 - Computers - 664 pages

Ruby is perhaps best known as the engine powering the hugely popular Ruby on Rails web framework. However, it is an extremely powerful and versatile programming language in its own right. It focuses on simplicity and offers a fully object-oriented environment.

Beginning Ruby is a thoroughly contemporary guide for every type of reader who wants to learn Ruby, from novice programmers to web developers to Ruby newcomers. It starts by explaining the principles behind object-oriented programming and within a few chapters builds toward creating a genuine Ruby application.

The book then explains key Ruby principles, such as classes and objects, projects, modules, and libraries, and other aspects of Ruby such as database access. In addition, Ruby on Rails is covered in depth, and the books appendixes provide essential reference information as well as a primer for experienced programmers.

 

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Recently I decided to learn Ruby on Rails (RoR), and even though I’ve been assured repeatedly that I don’t need to know that much of Ruby proper before I start dabbling with RoR (of course, I do have some prior programming/web development experience), I quickly decided that I would still want to know as much about Ruby in its own right as possible. After looking into several books on Ruby, I decided to give “Beginning Ruby” a try, largely based on the positive Amazon recommendations. I am glad I did, but this may not be the most pedagogical book that I could have gone through.
The book is very well written, with many examples and lots of code. You can either type the code examples directly, or, preferably, download them form the accompanying website. The downloaded code, however, is not very clearly labeled and you end up opening several files before you stumble across the right one. The book also provides many resources and links for further reference.
One thing that I definitely didn’t like about this book is the lack of exercises. I am still the old school like that: I like to be given a specific problem to work on in order to master any material. Yes, this book seems to be largely geared towards the experienced programmers who want to learn the Ruby way of doing things, and the simpler exercises would probably be waste of time for them. However, I think even they would appreciate being able to work on a concrete problem with the solutions (or at least an outline of a solution) provided at the end of the book or online. On the other hand if you are truly new to programming, this book will definitely be the best resource for your needs.
Overall, this is a good reference book that would need some major revisions in order to become an acceptable textbook on Ruby. If you want to quickly learn Ruby syntax you may find it useful, but if you are new to programming you should look somewhere else.
 

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This book gives you an understanding of what Ruby is, a good step to open the gate to enter Ruby world.

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