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Beginning Ruby: From Novice to Professional Paperback – March 26, 2007

ISBN-13: 978-1590597668 ISBN-10: 1590597664 Edition: 1st

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

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Product Details

  • Series: Beginning
  • Paperback: 664 pages
  • Publisher: Apress; 1 edition (March 26, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590597664
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590597668
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 1.5 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #729,012 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I'm a blogger and nice publisher (and author!) primarily in the Ruby space. I'm author of Beginning Ruby, the best book to get you from nowhere to somewhere when it comes to Ruby.

Prior to focusing on writing and blogging, I built a RSS (Web feed) processing business called Feed Digest which I sold in 2007, as well as a popular code snippets site which I sold also in 2007.

I'm a very active Twitter user at

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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See all 38 customer reviews
Peter Cooper writes well, takes every topic from the beginning, and explains very clearly, with examples.
Marius van Handel
I've learned a great deal very quickly, I'd recommend this book to anyone who is wanting to learn Ruby who zero to advanced programming experience.
J. Whelpley
I checked out Chris Pine's "Learn to Program", and of course _why's Poignant Guide to Ruby, and then this book.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

53 of 55 people found the following review helpful By Michael McKee TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 30, 2007
Format: Paperback
Beginning Ruby is easily one of the most readable and clearest technical texts I have encountered in a while. I am not a professional programmer just an experienced web designer. That means that I've been exposed to some programming in the form of Perl, PHP and JavaScript but don't really know them. At the urging of a knowledgeable friend I've decided to learn to program with Ruby.

I've tried the online version of the Pickaxe book to start learning the process and found that it makes too many assumptions about programming skill for me. Not so Beginning Ruby. It is well written and assumes little programming background, not zero background but little. Perfect.

Peter Cooper has managed to introduce topics in a logical and non-intimidating manner. Explanations are clear. The writing is conversational but neither wordy or pandering. After working through about a third of the book I am feeling positive about gaining a practical working knowledge of Ruby. I don't think it actually will bring me to a truly professional level. That will take years of practice and study.

The first half or so of the book covers Ruby at the command line and text file levels. The focus of the second half moves towards using Ruby on the web. Ruby on Rails gets a more than cursory section and using Ruby without Rails in CGI is covered too, as is working with HTTP and other internet but not directly web content programming topics.

Absent is coverage of any kind of GUI programming for Ruby. That's okay because making regular installed programs not my interest. Though with OS X now offering Ruby integration with its programming environment I may eventually want to learn more.

But no one book can cover everything.
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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Michael Slater on December 17, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an excellent book for anyone getting started with Ruby, or who has been using Rails for a little while and feels they need stronger Ruby skills (which, I suspect, describes a great number of Rails programmers, myself included).

Despite its title, this is not just a beginner's book. It does start at the beginning, and it is written without assuming a lot of background, but it is not a simplified, dumbed-down treatment. I found it to be very easy to read, and it follows a natural progression from language basics through a variety of advanced topics.

The author is a very experienced Ruby programmer, and his insights shine throughout the book. (Among many other things, he's the creator of Feed Digest, Ruby Inside, and code snippets, which he sold to DZone.

In addition to an exposition of the language that builds nicely over the course of the book, there's chapters on the Ruby ecosystem, how to design an application, and network programming. There's also a chapter that covers many of the useful libraries and gems.

There is one chapter that summarizes Rails, but this is definitely a Ruby book, not a Rails book.

Any Ruby book will inevitably be compared to Dave Thomas' Programming Ruby (commonly known as "the Pickaxe" for the image on its cover), which has been the standard reference for the language since its debut and won't lose its spot as a reference work. I found Beginning Ruby to be easier to absorb, however, and I thought the examples were especially clear and useful. If you're already deep into Ruby, you probably don't need this book. But if you're relatively early in the learning curve, I highly recommend it.
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By H. Collingbourne on April 17, 2007
Format: Paperback
When I was learning Ruby what I really wanted was a well-structured book that began with the assumption that I already knew how to program and then guided me quickly through the special features of Ruby. At the time such a book did not exist. Now, with the publication of Peter Cooper's "Beginning Ruby", it does.

The book is well written, nicely laid out, the explanations are clear and the code examples are useful. In short, if you already have some programming experience and want an accessible introduction to the world of Ruby, this is the book to get.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Bob Boyken on July 31, 2007
Format: Paperback
I have been a professional programmer for nearly twenty years and I have learned and used many programming languages along the way. My normal process for learning a new language is to do a lot of online research regarding the books that are available and buy several of the books that are consistently praised my most folks.

Ruby posed some difficulties in this area because, until recently, there have not been very many Ruby books available in English. I purchased several books, and while I will not say that any of them were bad, I will say that until I got my hands on "Beginning Ruby", I was not making very good progress in learning the language.

All of the other Ruby books that I have tried to use for learning followed that same very tired pattern. The first several chapters of the book cover various aspects of the language in-depth. There would be a chapter about variables, a chapter about flow control, a chapter about classes and objects, etc. Each chapter covers the subject in detail. That's fine for a language reference, but not a very effecting way to teach someone a new programming language.

Mr. Cooper's approach is one that I would like to see other authors of programming tutorials adopt. After the obligatory chapters on getting Ruby installed on your system, and giving a "whistle-stop" overview of the language, he begins to cover surprising number of topics in the third chapter. Rather than cover each facet of the language in-depth, he covers many, many facets of the language, even some more advanced concepts like symbols and blocks, but only superficially. The result is that by the time you hit chapter four, you are ready to start writing a "real" application that uses many of the features you were just introduced to.
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