Top positive review
53 people found this helpful
Superb book for the novice programmer
on May 30, 2007
I've tried the online version of the Pickaxe book to start learning the process and found that it makes too many assumptions about programming skill for me. Not so Beginning Ruby. It is well written and assumes little programming background, not zero background but little. Perfect.
Peter Cooper has managed to introduce topics in a logical and non-intimidating manner. Explanations are clear. The writing is conversational but neither wordy or pandering. After working through about a third of the book I am feeling positive about gaining a practical working knowledge of Ruby. I don't think it actually will bring me to a truly professional level. That will take years of practice and study.
The first half or so of the book covers Ruby at the command line and text file levels. The focus of the second half moves towards using Ruby on the web. Ruby on Rails gets a more than cursory section and using Ruby without Rails in CGI is covered too, as is working with HTTP and other internet but not directly web content programming topics.
Absent is coverage of any kind of GUI programming for Ruby. That's okay because making regular installed programs not my interest. Though with OS X now offering Ruby integration with its programming environment I may eventually want to learn more.
But no one book can cover everything. If you are comfortable with hand editing code or using the command line then you should find Beginning Ruby a friendly text, part tutorial, part reference and at the introductory to intermediate levels excellent. I can't speak for the pros. Look for their reviews.