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Ruby in Practice
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on May 28, 2009
I actually picked this up at a local Borders.

I have been programming with Ruby, and Rails, off and on for going on two years. I find it disappointing that there are not more good books on either subject. Naturally, as each book comes out, I eagerly turn the pages.. hoping. Sadly, many of the books are O.K, a few a bit lame.

This book was an enjoyable read for me. The author covers a nice spectrum of different uses for Ruby, including but not limited to, Rails. This is what I like most about the book. It's not a "cookbook". The author actually delves into each subject, giving you more details than you would find in a "cookbook" type of book. While not giving exhaustive coverage in any of the areas it discusses, it gives more than enough to form a foundation for future discovery.

I definitely learned from this book, and it has found a permanent place in my library.

I would say, though, that it is not for someone new to either Ruby, or to Rails. This book is more for someone at what I would term intermediate level with Ruby. It doesn't start "from the ground, up" in any of the areas it discusses, but certainly at a level that someone with a bit of time in the language can pick up and run with.

In my opinion, the book is a keeper, and is recommended.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on May 13, 2009
Ruby in Practice written by the Jeremy McAnally and Assaf Arkin is a solid book about Ruby programming language. It is divided into three parts which address the most common applications of Ruby. Firstly, it describes in details basic characteristics and strengths of Ruby such as metaprogramming, usage of duck typing, testing, and reporting. Second part covers usage of Ruby for internet communication, emailing and for web application creation and deployment using Rails. In third part, authors discuss techniques for data and document based applications and Ruby application in searching and indexing or parsing of different document types. All addressed problems are explained using well chosen and informative examples which can be utilized in real world situations.
Although, book is written in rather simple and comprehensive way it is not meant for beginners and requires from a reader at least the intermeddiate knowledge of core Ruby, Rails techniques and understanding of quite a number of other programming concepts.
All together, Ruby in Practice is a must in the library of every Rubyist aspirating to the advanced level.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 3, 2011
Jeremy McAnally and Assaf Arkin tackle lots of different topics of interest to developers. The book is structured in 3 main parts:

*) Ruby techniques: Gives a general introduction to Ruby's strength (which sometimes reads as a bit of a sales pitch), BDD and TDD, as well as scripting with Ruby (including OLE and OSA).

*) Integration and communication: This part covers Rails, web services in general (HTTP, REST, SOAP), automating communication with email and IM, asynchronous messaging and deployment options.

*) Data and document techniques: This part talks about databases, structured text, authentication, searching, indexing and document processing.

Chapters usually present the reader with a problem, then show an example solution which usually makes good use of existing libraries and then finish with further discussion on the topic (alternative ways to implement it, pitfalls in using the shown solution in 'real life' scenarios etc.). For people with previous knowledge of Ruby this book is a good read, which shows how the dynamic nature of the language combined with the quite big amount of readily available libraries enable developers to quickly and efficiently find solutions to common problems. I sometimes do have minor quirks with some of the code, but that's just personal preferences and being nitpicky. All in all it's a very solid book which I enjoyed quite a lot.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on March 16, 2009
For me, this book aims at a public at ease with the various aspects of Ruby. First, whereas many others would have begun directly with technical points after a short introduction, the reader will find in this book a presentation of three strengths of Ruby (duck typing, functional programming and meta-programming for Domain Specific Languages), which is at least a good reminder.
Then you will see a quick, but comprehensive enough, presentation of various libraries to solve problems in a more concise and/or more efficient way. The reader will find many examples of solutions for n-tier (Web Services, REST, Websphere MQ), for deployment in the workplace (authentification directories, RDBMS, search engines, emailing). I particularly appreciated the generation of PDF documents. These presentations are sometimes also a good reminder of good practice in professional development, as aspects of tests (Test:: Unit, RCov) and specifications (RSpec).
Finally, you will see other important elements in appendix :
1) different installation procedures for Ruby and Gem on the platforms Linux (Redhat or Debian), Windows and Mac OS X.
2) a review of the integration of Ruby in the Java platform with JRuby and deployments WAR for J2EE.
3) how to start Rails applications on different web servers.

The only criticism I can make is the lack of a real common thread throughout the book, which might give the impression of a listing of useful libraries.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on September 10, 2009
The book read like a traditional Cookbook style reference. The problem I found with the book is that it lacks enough recipes to separate it from the Dave Thomas Programming Ruby and Agile Development with Rails, both introductory programming books. In addition, I find that screencast and websites do a better job at teaching several of the tutorials that are found in this manual.

If you are newer to Ruby and want to find some good uses of the language than this book can point you in that direction.
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