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Ruby by Example: Concepts and Code Paperback – June 8, 2007

ISBN-13: 978-1593271480 ISBN-10: 1593271484 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 326 pages
  • Publisher: No Starch Press; 1 edition (June 8, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1593271484
  • ISBN-13: 978-1593271480
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #824,261 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Kevin C. Baird received his Ph.D. from the State University of New York at Buffalo. He originally wrote his dissertation in Python but rewrote the project after discovering Ruby, and he hasn't looked back since. He has presented at RubyConf and written articles for Linux Journal, Music & Computers magazine, and the New Interfaces for Musical Expression conference proceedings.


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Customer Reviews

VERY nicely done.
Eric Armstrong
I think this book would be an excellent choice for someone wanting to learn Ruby, regardless of your level of programming experience.
Michael Ivancic
The problem is that he just did some things in a weird way and really didn't explain everything in the code like I expected.
John M. Wargo

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Thing with a hook on January 26, 2008
Format: Paperback
Ruby By Example seeks to teach Ruby by introducing a series of small scripts, explaining how they work, often by showing some examples in irb, Ruby's interactive shell, and reinforcing the explanations with some suggested modifications to the script to highlight the principles just expounded. The closest examples in other languages I'm aware of are Dive Into Python and (to a lesser extent) Wicked Cool Perl Scripts.

This is a very nice idea, and there are some examples that are a cut above the usual fare: chapter 9 includes a Bible Code generator, and an implementation of the 'methinks it is like a weasel' sentence natural selection program from Richard Dawkins' The Blind Watchmaker. There's also mention of memoization, profiling and benchmarking, the Schwartzian transform for sorting, and even Symbol#to_proc. There's also quite a gentle introduction to Rails, which is probably sufficient for someone new to Ruby and Rails to move onto Ruby for Rails.

However, the execution isn't always perfect. Probably the biggest downside to this pedagogical approach is that there's not really one obvious place to describe how a particular feature works in depth, or the focus moves away from its practical use in a script. As a result, many of the explanations are compressed. Chapter 1 provides a 'crash' description of object orientation in 9 lines.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Scott Schram on August 26, 2007
Format: Paperback
"Ruby by Example, Concepts and Code" teaches the Ruby language through immersion in examples.

The book begins with a brief introduction to Ruby and the interactive Ruby shell (which allows typing in Ruby code and immediately seeing the results).

The 45 examples that follow are carefully crafted to introduce new language features. A typical example includes these sections:

* The Code
* How It Works
* Running the Script
* The Results
* Hacking the Script

The reader is tempted to open up the examples in an editor, run them and tinker with them.

There is a focus on programming paradigms (or styles). The three main types covered are: imperative, object-oriented and functional. The imperative style "tells computers: Do this, then do that, then do this next thing." "Object-oriented languages define objects (types of things) that know how to perform methods." "Functional languages treat programming problems like mathematical relationships" and allow handling of functions and blocks of codes as if they were objects themselves. Ruby has strengths in all three of these areas, but this book offers more coverage of the functional paradigm than you might see elsewhere.

The examples advance in scope and complexity and cover practical topics like HTML and XML handling, CGI programming (which is a simple technique to make programmable web pages) and finally a sample Ruby on Rails web application.

An appendix compares and contrasts Ruby to several other languages (C, Haskell, Java, Lisp, Perl, PHP, Python and Smalltalk). For each language, the author gives some history, the particular focus or strengths of that language, and how Ruby was inspired by or shares some of the best features of each.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Michael Ivancic on July 19, 2007
Format: Paperback
This book has really helped me dive-in, start using, and more importantly start understanding Ruby. About a year before this book came out I read the Ruby Pick Axe but didn't feel like I had a great understanding and command of the language (I was also new to object oriented languages). I needed real life examples and actual code that illustrated Ruby concepts and showed them in action. That's exactly what I got with this book.

I think this book would be an excellent choice for someone wanting to learn Ruby, regardless of your level of programming experience. I'm self-taught with entry level programming skills and I had no problem understanding the concepts and examples in this book. The book even explains the basics like variables, objects, and methods and doesn't assume you know anything about object oriented languages, programming, or Ruby. The example scripts are pretty neat and very useful too. I've already started customizing my own version of the sample Rails photo album for my wedding pictures too. (Thanks Kevin!)

Whether you're looking to learn how to program or looking to learn a new language, I would highly recommend this book! I plan on keeping it in my programming book collection!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on August 8, 2007
Format: Paperback
Any programmer who would better understand the basics of Ruby would do well to consider RUBY BY EXAMPLE, a learn-by-doing guide which analyzes a series of Ruby scripts, examining how the code works, explaining its concepts, and demonstrating modifications. Readers will learn how to use the interactive Ruby shell to maximum advantage to learn the language, and will learn to use utilities that help analyze HTML, XML and more. An important guide for any using or learning Ruby or Rails, and for reference libraries catering to this audience.

Diane C. Donovan
California Bookwatch
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