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Beginning Ruby: From Novice to Professional
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Beginning Ruby: From Novice to Professional [Paperback]

Peter Cooper
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)

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There is a newer edition of this item:
Beginning Ruby: From Novice to Professional (Expert's Voice in Open Source) Beginning Ruby: From Novice to Professional (Expert's Voice in Open Source) 4.0 out of 5 stars (23)
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Book Description

March 26, 2007 1590597664 978-1590597668 1

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.

What you’ll learn

  • Understand the basics of Ruby and object-oriented building blocks.
  • Work with Ruby libraries, gems, and documentation.
  • Work with files and databases.
  • Write and deploy Ruby applications.
  • Explore Ruby web frameworks and aspects of network programming with Ruby.
  • Develop desktop and GUI applications with Ruby.

Who this book is for

Beginning programmers, programmers new to Ruby, and web developers interested in knowing the foundations of the language.

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

A bio is not available for this author.

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: #595,888 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

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
53 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb book for the novice programmer May 30, 2007
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book for novice Ruby programmers 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
5.0 out of 5 stars Great programmer's introduction to Ruby April 17, 2007
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
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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Everybody can do better than I can
We entered at novice level, and exited halfway through novice level. I've had this forever, I guess it just wasn't in my programming.
Published 25 days ago by emmathers
I wish I had this book when I first started my Ruby study—it would have saved me days of struggle and needless confusion. Well-written by an intelligent human. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Rick Henningsen
5.0 out of 5 stars Good details!
I've been studying ruby through various websites and books, I like the detail this book goes into. I'm more of a person that learns by knowing why things work, if you just tell me... Read more
Published 19 months ago by Karissa
5.0 out of 5 stars In depth, Well Written
Peter's background is a writer and he's really smart. The way he explains and expresses Ruby is very simple to assimilate and understand. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Y. K. K.
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Reference, Subpar Textbook
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... Read more
Published on October 30, 2012 by Dr. Bojan Tunguz
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but..
Very well written and easy to grasp. But rushes through certain parts such as the "Code Blocks" section.. Read more
Published on July 11, 2012 by Ylda Hakimo
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely amazing!
I am an SQA engineer and just started to learn Ruby in order to participate in code reviews. My first attempt of self-education failed due to typos and misleading instructions in... Read more
Published on July 9, 2011 by Eugene Guinsburg
4.0 out of 5 stars Awesome book but...
I'm one of the guys who bought the Kindle version, yet every single example in the book is cut off on the left side. Read more
Published on February 26, 2011 by Storm Lee Holloway
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
This books foreword set the precedent. Never before have I enjoyed a books foreword so much.

The style of writing in this book is easy going, not patronising, doesn't... Read more
Published on November 15, 2010 by S. Makse-Hill
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book on Ruby
This is exactly what I was looking for in a book on Ruby. If you are new to Ruby, I recommend reading this book before getting into Rails.
Published on January 18, 2009 by Adam B. Martin
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