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The Well-Grounded Rubyist Paperback – June 7, 2009

ISBN-13: 978-1933988658 ISBN-10: 1933988657 Edition: 1st
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

David A. Black is a Senior Developer at Cyrus Innovation, Inc., and the director of Ruby Power and Light, LLC. He has been programming in Ruby since 2000, and is also a director of Ruby Central, Inc., the parent organization of the International Ruby Conference (RubyConf).

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 520 pages
  • Publisher: Manning Publications; 1 edition (June 7, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1933988657
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933988658
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #110,760 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

David A. Black is a well-known Ruby developer, trainer, consultant, event organizer, speaker, and author. David has been programming in Ruby since 2000, and was a founding director of Ruby Central, Inc. A Ruby standard library contributor, David has written or contributed to a number of popular books about Ruby and Ruby on Rails, including "The Well-Grounded Rubyist", "The Rails Way", and "Ruby in Practice". He is a member of the Professional Development Committee of the ACM.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

78 of 84 people found the following review helpful By grantmichaels on June 6, 2009
Format: Paperback
i've had a tenuous relationship w/ ruby for the past 18 months, which began when a friend sent me the 'pickaxe' and agile rails books over the 2007 holidays. that duo is widely regarded as the de facto introduction to programming with ruby on rails, however, i'd qualify that statement to perhaps only apply to working professionals coming over from another language/framework. i both 1) don't think rails is the best framework for a new ruby coder (sinatra is), and 2) don't think the Pragmatic book is the best introduction to ruby. the well-grounded rubyist didn't exist when i got started, so the first book to pique my interest was the 'beginning ruby' book by peter cooper (apress), and while i was very happy to have found that title over a year ago and having purchased several books and screencasts related to ruby since, the well-grounded rubyist is absolutely the best book to become familiar with ruby at present. the reasoning is consistent w/ my reviews of other books for other programming languages, and is such that there is /NO REPLACEMENT/ for the author being a first-rate educator. a quality instructor is somewhat selfless, always focused on presenting the subject as a first priority, and particularly not how the subject relates to themselves. most programming books are written by practitioners, and since ruby hasn't become particularly available as an option for computer-science students in most programs, there is a very definite void in regard to the number of real teachers writing texts on ruby. i had struggled against my previous experiences coding (asm) and while i learned a lot of the tactics to code in ruby over the past year and half, i never really understood 'why' things worked the way they did.Read more ›
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By J. Mucsi on June 24, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you have any doubts about your Ruby knowledge, then you should read this book. After months of frustration while looking at source code and wasting time with Why's Poignant Guide, I made it a point to read through all pages of the Well-Grounded Rubyist. Once I was done, the difficulty was gone. Now I can read Rails code with ease, all the code makes sense and I feel like I entered a whole new world. David Black guides the reader through the topics he feels are most important. I resisted the temptation to put down the book and start programming, but I am glad I waited. The book is so useful that having finished it, you will be on a new level and your next task will be to learn how Ruby's powerful features can be combined into non-trivial frameworks. If you skip this book, you risk writing mediocre code, at least until you are forced to learn the features and techniques of the language...the hard way.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By New England Yankee VINE VOICE on August 16, 2009
Format: Paperback
David Black has written a thoughtfully balanced book on Ruby basics and best practices. Thankfully, it doesn't waste a single page on things better off on a website somewhere. For example, no elaboration of differences between Ruby 1.9.1 and earlier versions. (Which are, in fact, found on the book's website!)

The book is written referencing Ruby 1.9.1. Be aware that as of this writing, there isn't a 1-click installer on the Ruby language site for 1.9.1 for Windows, and the binaries-only download doesn't include a few key DLLs. If you want to continue using 1.8.6 until an up-to-date installer comes along, the bulk of the book will still be perfectly usable, however. The last note on Windows is that there is text sprinkled throughout the book on such things as paths and other configuration minutia which is specific to Mac and Unix installs. This should not trouble the readers intended for this book in the least.

As a practical matter, since the author spends no time on basic programming concepts, you'll have to have some programming experience to take best advantage of this book. Expressed differently, there is no wasted text for its audience. As one with such experience, I found this to be a perfectly-conceived bootstrap approach to the language. Anyone already having basic OO concepts already should have no difficulty following this book (mine being Smalltalk).

The author and publisher appear to have taken great pains in the flow, layout, and editing to produce a virtually error-free work. I'm enormously appreciative of that; for its own sake, of course, but also because error-riddled computer book are all too common.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Developpez.com writers on June 29, 2009
Format: Paperback
"The Well-grounded Rubyist" belongs to these still too rare books which deal exclusively and in-depth with Ruby, by leaving Rails, its killer app, on side. David A. Black proposes to give us a strong foundation for the comprehension of the Ruby's mechanisms. On this purpose, he adopts a didactic and original step, by presenting the concepts according to a progressive and well balanced difficulty, not following the "traditional" progression found in other books treating of computer programming languages. Thus, for example, the method lookup strategy is described in chapter 4, even before looking in detail at the test and loop instructions in chapter 6. This order, which can seem curious at first sight, appears finally perfectly logical and natural. This progressive and cumulative approach will however impose to the reader a linear reading of the book to withdraw all the benefit from it.

Focusing himself on the fundamental mechanisms of Ruby, the author only partially cover its built-in classes and modules library, in the second part of the book. After a long description of essential (predefined classes, conversion methods, enumerators etc) he devotes two whole chapters to the extensive Ruby's possibilities about I/O operations and regular expressions.

The three final chapters, which compose the third and last part of the book, treat dynamic aspects of Ruby. What would appear to be the most complex topic of the book is in fact surprisingly easy to assimilate, and one realizes that the efforts of the author to gradually lead us to a sufficient knowledge of Ruby in order to tackle without pain the most difficult subjects, bore its fruits.

This book is intended more particularly for those who discover Ruby, but will be also advantageous to more advanced Ruby developers.
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