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4.3 out of 5 stars
Ruby Best Practices
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 11, 2012
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
The book is good. It showed me couple of techniques. Author promised to write one more version, it sounds exiting to me! Thanks Gregory T. Brown for writing this. Recommended for reading.
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on November 28, 2010
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
This book is easy to read and follow. The author's approach both witty and easy to follow. His presentation is a perfect balance of not being too technical but technical enough to be valuable. It keeps you reading rather than putting you to sleep. He covers various situations with a pragmatic solutions.

You'll come away with new ideas on how to approach your code.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on June 28, 2010
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Even though the author knows what he's talking about, he takes quite a while (in each and every case) to get to the point. As a result of this, I have found this book difficult to read. Additionally, there are no clear footer notes for the libraries (all of which are quite good) that he mentions in the different sections.

Finally, there are occasions when this books sounds like an ad for the projects that the author wrote. Most of his examples start with his projects vs other open-source projects. I found this distasteful, as I felt as if I was being forced to read ads about his projects!

I personally would like to see a distilled version of this book...more content less fluff!

H
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on June 2, 2010
Format: Paperback
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. As an experienced programmer and intermediate level Rubyist (doing Ruby for about a year) most other books are too basic. If you're already comfortable coding in Ruby and looking to take your Ruby language level skills to the next level, this is the book for you. I learned a ton of stuff in each chapter and feel like I have a much more thorough understanding of the language than I did before.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on April 4, 2010
Format: Paperback
3 stars - the book as it stands
5 stars - the book how it WILL be

David Flanagan and Yukihiro Matsumoto's book "The Ruby Programming Language" was much more useful for me honestly.

My gripes for "Ruby Best Practices" include:
* Missing design patterns applications (eg, how to implement the Strategy pattern using Proc or Method objects; Singleton was actually discussed on pp. 72-74 but could be more explicit)
* Any exception handling best practice advice, besides what's touched on in Chp. 1?
* Should be in cookbook format
* Summarize Ruby's best idioms (the one on p. 257 with [:month, :day, :year, :hour, :minute, :second].map { |attr| dtime.send(attr)} was kind of neat)
* Summarize Ruby's naming conventions and known anomalies
* Performance considerations? Even "TRPL" touched on what's fast and slow in Range membership tests for example, for both Ruby 1.8 and 1.9
* Module objects used as a namespace mechanism, any best ways or distilled advice, besides what's touched on p. 133?
* Summary of corner-case gotchas of Ruby syntax? (eg, when parentheses are required for method invocations, as covered in "TRPL")
* XML processing could be better other than what's in Chp. 1 (with the Nokigiri module) Comparison of modules would be great
* Any Perl-ish Unix filter best practice advice? (ala Tim Maher's "Minimal Perl")
* DSL advice?
* Any install-specific advice, what's the best and most flexible configuration for production for example? (ie, environment variables, proper location according to Linux FHS, and so on) How about Mac OS X or Windows installs?
* Brief Rails best-practices section would be nice, but that's probably pushing it ;)
* Some Factory methods best practices?
* C extensions best practices?
* Ruby 1.8.6 syntax left behind, and was not mentioned on book front or back cover (where it should be), though it's in the Preface. There's an Appendix that touches on some 1.8.6 migration issues however (Ruby 1.9.1 and beyond are the future I agree, but 1.8 is still being distributed for Mac OS X and Debian GNU/Linux at the time of this writing)
* Some so-so advice:
Eg:
....so-so: "I'm not generally a big fan of logfiles." (p. 168)
....so-so: author shows that /[0-9][0-9][0-9][0-9]/ can be rewritten as /\d{4}/ (p. 105)
....so-so: Chapter 2 Designing Beautiful APIs - most of this material already covered in D. Flanagan/Matz' book

Appendix B. Leveraging Ruby's Standard Library was the most useful part of the book for me. (I find it to be the most accessible! Most of the other content is just too buried in prose.)

A cookbook or "Power Tools" format can benefit this book IMHO. Mike Loukides (editor) should've seen this beforehand I think (Mike was one of the authors of the venerable "Unix Power Tools.")
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on March 12, 2010
Format: Paperback
After learning the basics of Ruby and feeling at ease with the language, it's time to take it to the next level. It's time to start writing code like the experts: the Ruby way. Ruby Best Practices is just the book to help you do that, with a friendly tone and lots of yummy code examples for you to chew on and learn.

Overview

Ruby Best Practices was written by Gregory T. Brown and comes at 298 pages. The subtitle "Increase Your Productivity - Write better Code" pretty much sums what the book is about: taking your Ruby skills to the next level by learning how to write code like the experts, thus increasing your productivity.

The book covers a lot of topics such as (but not limited to): designing beautiful APIs, testing and debugging your code, taking advantage of Ruby's dynamic features, and how to maintain your projects.

The Good

Real Examples. The code examples use throughout the book were extracted from actual open source projects. This is really great because you get to see how other people are actually solving problems, rather than just theoretical and abstract examples.

Practice Code Reading Skills. Each chapter starts off with some sample code taken from an open source project, which you may not understand at first. This is a good exercise at reading other people's code, which is essential to becoming a better programmer. Once you get a grasp of the problem, Gregory Brown then goes into more detail and explains various techniques that can be used to solve that problem.

Nice read. I enjoyed the way the book was written. Gregory Brown writes in an easy-to-understand way, with a friendly "voice" which makes you feel like he is in the trenches with you. Another thing I appreciated was that each chapter ended with a few bullet points summarizing the covered topics and offers some advice on when you might want to use some of them. (Check Tip #2 to make the most out of the examples).

The Bad

There's not much I didn't like about this book, only a few nitpicks really.

Lost interest when I got to Chapter 7. Although this is not the book's fault, rather it was me that wasn't really interested in that chapter ("Reducing Cultural Barriers") to begin with. I just read it half way and then jumped to the next chapter which renewed my interest. (Check Tip #1 to avoid this).

Long examples with a lot of baggage. The examples presented in the book, namely the ones at the beginning of each chapter, are sometimes long and need a bit of context. I actually think this is good, but some might not like it. What it comes down to is: this is not a cookbook for copy-and-pasting solutions straight into your project. The book tries to show you the many tools Ruby gives you to solve your problems, which you then have to transpose into your project and think about it.

Reading Tips

Here are a few reading tips that will help you make the most out of the RBP Book:

Read the most interesting chapters first. Each chapter is fairly self-contained so read the chapters in any order. This way you won't rush through reading Chapter 1 just to get to Chapter 2, for example.

Reread the code examples. Once you've finished reading a chapter, before proceeding to the next, go back and reread the initial example that got you started. Make sure you now fully understand it.

Read your book next to the computer. Take your time reading each chapter and pause often to actually try out the new concepts you've learnt. And most importantly, play with the code, have fun!

The Verdict

If you're really interested in honing your Ruby coding skills, then this book is for you. It will show you how "real" Ruby code is written, what techniques you have at your disposal while tackling those hard-to-solve problems, and at the same time practice your code reading skills.

Even though the book is being open sourced, I still think you should support the hard work of a fellow programmer and buy a hardcopy. Personally, I prefer holding a book in my hand while reading, then again, I might be a bit "old-fashioned" that way. Plus, if you buy it then you're showing O'Reilly that it's worth open sourcing their books.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on March 3, 2010
Format: Paperback
I've been developing in Ruby and in Rails for several years, but have not taken the time to make sure that my coding standards and techniques are in line with other Ruby developers. This book does a great job providing helpful tips and techniques to take full advantage of the Ruby programming language and code in a way that is consistent with the majority of Ruby developers.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on February 6, 2010
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
As I was managing a Python to Ruby conversion, Ruby Best Practices was just about the best book I picked up to get over the initial hurdle. Most books waste too much time on basics that anyone who's worth their chops should be able to pick up without much difficulty. Ruby Best Practices was the perfect intermediate point between telling me what a class is and focusing too much on metaprogramming fu that I'll never need.

The code samples are some of the best that I've ever seen in a technical book and the overall focus was perfect for getting from simple code to elegantly constructed Ruby.

Ruby Best Practices quickly became one of my favorite technical books.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on September 25, 2009
Format: Paperback
If you're coming here to expect a cookbook you needn't bother. What you'll find instead, is a thoughtful guide to the gestalt of Ruby development. This book digs deeper than a book like "The Ruby Cookbook" because it gets to the underlying principles that guide good Rubyists. This book fills a big void in the are of Ruby books. Other books will tell you how to get something done, this one will explain why to do it a certain way.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on September 24, 2009
Format: Paperback
I'm greatly impressed by this book. I've looked through perhaps two-dozen Ruby books, and with few exceptions they trot out clumsy, contrived examples that not only do a poor job of explaining syntax, but fail to demonstrate better Ruby practices.

Ruby Best Practices excels where these other books fail. It uses honest-to-gosh, real-world code, and thoughtfully explains the reasoning for coding a solution in a particular way.

It explains the choices one may have to make, the possible trade-offs, and leaves you with enough information to start applying these ideas to your own code.

No style of presentation will please everyone, and if you are looking for terse, superficial examples that do not fully demonstrate the real-world how's and why's of a particular approach you will be disappointed. This book requires that you read along, and *think* along, as code is presented and solutions reasoned out. You will, however, be a better Ruby hacker as a result of it.
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