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Learn to Program (Pragmatic Programmers) [Paperback]

by Chris Pine
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)

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There is a newer edition of this item:
Learn to Program, Second Edition (The Facets of Ruby Series) Learn to Program, Second Edition (The Facets of Ruby Series) 4.3 out of 5 stars (31)
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Book Description

January 20, 2006 0976694042 978-0976694045 1

It's now easier to learn to write your own computer software than it has ever been before. Now everyone can learn to write programs for themselves--no previous experience is necessary. Chris Pine takes a thorough, but light-hearted approach that teaches you how to program with a minimum of fuss or bother. Starting with small, simple one-line programs to calculate your age in seconds, you'll see how to have your webpage send you email, to shuffle your music more intelligently, to rename your photos from your digital camera, and more. You'll learn the same technology used to drive modern dynamic websites and large, professional applications.

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Chris Pine first discovered the programming language Ruby in early 2001 and immediately began using it to build tools for his day job: programming computer games. After hours, he volunteered with gifted children teaching them advanced mathematics. With Ruby, he began to teach his students programming as well. Once he saw how easily his students learned advanced programming concepts in this environment, he decided to expand his teaching materials into a book. Chris enjoys board games and juggling, and lives with his darling wife and two darling children in darling Oslo, Norway. He is very happy.

Product Details

  • Series: Pragmatic Programmers
  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Pragmatic Bookshelf; 1 edition (January 20, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0976694042
  • ISBN-13: 978-0976694045
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 7.5 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,078,885 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I'm currently living with my darling wife and two darling children in darling Oslo, Norway. Things are good. :-)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
55 of 57 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Learn Programming Through Ruby Colored Glasses February 1, 2006
By Jason
As a relative newcomer to Ruby, one of the first things that struck me was the overall simplicity and clarity of the language. I couldn't help thinking that Ruby could serve as an excellent language to teach programming fundamentals. Chris Pine's "Learning to Program" tackles that very task. The latest title in the Pragmatic Programmers Facets of Ruby series, "Learn to Program" arms the reader with the basic skills and concepts required to write their own computer programs using the Ruby language.

The book begins with downloading and installing Ruby and then quickly gets the reader writing their first program - and it's not "Hello World". Pine instructs the reader on the basics covering everything you'd expect: numbers, strings, variables, type conversion, basic IO, methods, flow control, classes, and more. The author does a fine job making the material easy to read and easy to understand through his clear presentation and conversational tone. "Learn to Program" is chock full of simple examples, and this book is very well suited to sitting down with at your keyboard and working your way through each chapter. The chapters are short and can be absorbed quickly without bogging the reader down unnecessarily. Several of the chapters conclude with short programming assignments for the reader to attempt in order to apply the concepts just learned.

"Learn to Program" is written for those who have little to no experience programming. It is a fine introduction for the person who has never written a single line of code. It's no Dummies book though, and a certain degree of comfort and familiarity with computers is a prerequisite for getting the most out of the book.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good beginners book January 25, 2006
This is a fine introduction to programming using the Ruby programming language. It also serves as a good introduction to Ruby for programmers, though the Pick axe book would be better for that. All the basics are covered, flow control, variables, classes are covered in some detail. The text is jovial and clear.

This is a fun book that is easy to get through. If you have had trouble learning to program in the past you might like to try again with Ruby. It's a very friendly language and this book makes it even easier.
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27 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why Aren't More Books Written Like This??? June 16, 2006
First things first, this is a wonderful book for learning to use Ruby on Rails. While reading this book, I asked myself "why aren't more beginners books written like this?" For a beginners book, the last thing that I want is a 700 page behemoth that screams THIS IS CONFUSING I AM SCARY I AM INTIMIDATING!!!!! At 150 pages, this book is concise, clear, to the point, and entertaining. For the low price that this book retails at, Chris Pine has written a book that gets away from deluging the reader with too much information, and instead gets back to basics what a BASIC book is supposed to be about (no basic the language, but basic in material).

If you want to learn Ruby on Rails and get up to speed on the ins and outs of this new, hot way to do web development with less code than ever before, pick up this book and you'll get moving in no time!!

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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Learn to Program, not "Learn to Program in ---" February 6, 2006
When I was getting started, I spent several months using "Learn to Program in ---". While I learned a lot about that language, I missed a lot of the fundamental concepts and practices that would have made me a more effective programmer.

This book does an excellent job of teaching ***programming***. The author explains each idea in plain friendly English, and provides good examples in Ruby, one of the simplest languages. Even experienced programmers might enjoy (and benefit?) from reading this book. This book is so clear and well written, I'll also use it to teach programming to my home-schooled children when they're ready.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Introduction to Progarmming and Ruby February 7, 2006
Learn to Program by Chris Pine is a concise introduction to the world of Learn to Program Coverprogramming using an interpreted scripting language called Ruby. An initial "cool point" goes to Pine for writing Learn to Program around Ruby, which is totally free to use, copy, modify, and distribute. The examples start from the basics of getting Ruby correctly installed and configured for your particular operating system. Although Ruby is mostly developed on Linux, it is a cross-platform language that is supported on many types of UNIX, DOS, Windows 95/98/Me/NT/2000/XP, MacOS, BeOS, and OS/2. I ran the examples on my Windows XP laptop without any problems, using a simple, free text editor called Textpad for some of the examples and the command line to round out my experience. The best part of it all...all of the programming tools were free! Gotta love it.

Pine aptly starts out with the essentials for most newbies to programming: data types, arithmetic operations, variables, and variable assignments. I found the overall approach and programming examples to be fun, detailed, and loaded with little tidbits of information, which gave great insight into the "how" and "why" of things. Pine's examples and explanations throughout Learn to Program were great at illustrating the power of Ruby and programming in general, without having the overtly silly and annoying tone typically found in the "Dummies" series of books.

Learn to Program progressively and painlessly takes the reader through increasing complex (for most newbies) programming concepts such as methods, classes, objects, recursion, and flow control. To reinforce the concepts in each chapter there are sections called "A Few Things to Try", which were both interesting and amusing.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars One of the worst programming books ever
I bought this book for my girlfriend to help her get her feet wet with programming, and was pretty disappointed by it. Read more
Published on January 17, 2012 by Alien Owl
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for Kids
We are using this book to teach our 8 year old, and it has been GREAT! It is simple, and easy to understand AND FUN! Read more
Published on September 11, 2009 by Ames Reviewer
5.0 out of 5 stars The most "accidental" books are the good ones...
The most "accidental" books are the good ones--the books where the author, who may or may not be a writer, finds himself writing, and the audience presents itself through the most... Read more
Published on May 25, 2009 by Colin Jensen
4.0 out of 5 stars Playful, captivating introduction to Ruby
"Learn to Program" is a quick, playful introduction to the Ruby programming language. I read it in just a few hours (including frequent laugh breaks), and I'm not the fastest... Read more
Published on February 15, 2009 by Adam J. Heller
2.0 out of 5 stars Good intentions but not very pedagogical. Too confusing for beginners.
This claims to be aimed towards absolute beginners.
While I admire the intentions of this book, it fails to deliver since it is not at all pedagogical enough to be for... Read more
Published on December 20, 2008 by White-k
5.0 out of 5 stars New to Programming, this is it!
I have wanted to learn programming for a long time. I even had a few false starts with Java. This book was perfect. It started at ground zero. Very basic. Read more
Published on October 8, 2008 by Drazzi
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book to teach your kid to program
I picked up Learn to Program for two reasons:

* I was curious about a book that could teach you to program. Where do you start? Read more
Published on May 17, 2008 by Stormy
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book for Beginners
I bought this book a couple of summers ago. My son and I (he was 11 years of age at the time) worked through most of the exercises in the book together. Read more
Published on April 6, 2008 by Paul W. Sauer
5.0 out of 5 stars I never thought I could program...Until NOW!
I absolutely love this book! I have tried time and time again to get different books and take different classes to learn how to program. Read more
Published on October 9, 2007 by Eliot Jordon
1.0 out of 5 stars Way to Simple and Short
While looking for a book on entry level ruby programming I came across this. The reviews were good so I bought it. I was extremely disapointed however. Read more
Published on July 5, 2007 by R. Oneill
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