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Programming Ruby: The Pragmatic Programmers' Guide, Second Edition Paperback – October 11, 2004

ISBN-13: 978-0974514055 ISBN-10: 0974514055 Edition: 2nd

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 829 pages
  • Publisher: Pragmatic Bookshelf; 2nd edition (October 11, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0974514055
  • ISBN-13: 978-0974514055
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 1.6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #459,695 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Dave Thomas, as one of the authors of the Agile Manifesto, understands agility. As the author of "Programming Ruby," he understands Ruby. And, as an active Rails developer, he knows Rails.



Chad Fowler is co-director of Ruby Central, Inc., and remains an active, driving force in the Ruby community.



Andy Hunt is a programmer turned consultant, author and publisher. He co-authored the best-selling book “The Pragmatic Programmer”, was one of the 17 founders of the Agile Alliance, and co-founded the Pragmatic Bookshelf, publishing award-winning and critically acclaimed books for software developers.


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Customer Reviews

Very well laid out and informative.
Daniel Diemer
The book contains an excellent tutorial, a language reference, and documentation on all built-in classes, modules, and methods.
Harold McFarland
This is the book you want if you're learning Ruby.
Raymond Brigleb

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

149 of 156 people found the following review helpful By Randall Helzerman on April 24, 2005
Format: Paperback
If you are like me, a busy programmer, I know you are wondering when you hear about Ruby, "Do I really have to learn yet another programming language?" I mean, Java, C#, Python? When will it ever end?

Well, it ends when you die, and yes, you do have to learn another programming language :-) But you'll like Ruby, I promise. Things I like about Ruby:

0. As easy to write scripts in as Perl, but it really scales.

1. Exceedingly self-consistent. Ruby has fewer syntactic warts than any programming language I'm familier with. All the features hang together very nicely.

2. Duck Typing: If you use a variable like a string, its a string. If you use it like a float, its a float. If you are familier with Haskell or or similarly typed languages, you get the idea. Ruby gives you about 80% of what Haskell gives you here.

3. Nice module system. This implements a nice mix-in facility--which gives you the power of C++ templates, with more structure. Also eliminates the need for multiple inheritance.

4. Wacky features like call/cc for the true language freaks.

Oh, so you want to know about the book too? Well, I agree with some of the reviewers here who describe the book as less of a tutorial/visionary screed/inspiring gospel and more of a reference manual. But I don't think this is a fair critique of the book. Back in the 60's, before the internet, a language needed a book to do for it what K&R did for C, or what Clocksin & Mellish did for prolog.

But today, you learn about a language by surfing the web.
Read more ›
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37 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Jack D. Herrington on November 6, 2004
Format: Paperback
Dave has done it again. Taking what was already an excellent first edition and growing it by 50%. He has updated all of the original chapters, the language walkthrough and the library reference.

Like most language books Programming Ruby starts with installing Ruby and then goes into a language reference; strings, classes, blocks, regular expressions, etc. It's all covered step by step with examples. The second part, Ruby and It's World, is a grab bag of chapters on more complex Ruby topics like graphical user interfaces, Ruby GEMs, and embedding Ruby.

Part III is a concise reference for Ruby that is handy when you already know the language but need a refresher. And the final part is a library reference with examples of using each method. This is the invaluable reference that you will use in every Ruby project.

This is the book to buy to learn Ruby, and to use as a desk reference. There is no question about that.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By B. Andrews on July 31, 2006
Format: Paperback
I am a successful self taught programmer. I have learned C/C++, Java, Perl, and now Ruby all from books and reading other people's code. I have to say this is the best book on programming for a particular language that I have ever read. And I have read quite a few.

The book itself is very well written, easy to understand, has a little humour every now and then, but not too much to be annoying.

Some of the other reviews say the chapters of the book are not layed out very well and they don't understand what the Ruby Crystallized section is for. I would have to strongly disagree with this. It starts out with installation, Hello World, then it gets right into classes, methods, variables, etc. All the good stuff. The Ruby Crystallized section is basically to be used as a reference manual to the language. Basically, if you want to skip all of the "whys" and "how-tos", just read this section and learn some of the standard API and you're good to go. But if you want a little more in depth ( which is what I want ), start from the beginning of the book. I think the book was designed so that you really don't have to read the entire thing to get a good grasp of the Ruby language and it's concepts. The cool thing about this book is that it has most of the Ruby standard libraries in the back for easy reference. Not a lot of programming books have this.

I had the opportunity to hear Dave and Andy at a conference just recently and I tell you these are 2 really intelligent, great guys. It was a real joy reading this book. And Ruby is really a joy to learn and program!
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27 of 31 people found the following review helpful By D. A Kaplan on June 21, 2005
Format: Paperback
I'd suggest already knowing an OO language before you start reading this book. The book approaches its concepts backwards: It starts with the complexities (except for that intro chapter) and then teaches you the simple concepts. One of the things that was completely stupid was that it showed examples of using regular expressions for 1.5 chapters and then explained what regular expressions were afterwards. The authors do not have the common couresy to let you know they'll explain what their stuff means later.

I also agree with a previous review that says this book should be 1/3rd as long as it ended up being.

Now if you already know OO concepts, this book is great. The authors explain everything in as much detail as necessary or more (and i'd rather have more than less). They often explain something and compare it to C or C++ or Java which I like. And the book seems to be absolutely complete. You'll feel like a Ruby MASTER when you finish it. For someone that already knows OOP, the only way this book could be better would be if it were more concise.

If you're a programmer and you want to pick up Ruby, I suggest it.
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