- Paperback: 400 pages
- Publisher: No Starch Press; 1 edition (July 11, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1593272944
- ISBN-13: 978-1593272944
- Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 1 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 20 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,212,239 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Book of Ruby: A Hands-On Guide for the Adventurous 1st Edition
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"Conventional wisdom has suggested that the so-called 'Pick-Axe Book' (Programming Ruby by Dave Thomas) is so good that there is no room for other options. I prefer Collingbourne's book. The Book of Ruby is a clear, easy read ... with the end result of having good working knowledge of Ruby." (Andrew Binstock, Dr Dobb's Journal)
About the Author
Huw Collingbourne is the Director of Technology for SapphireSteel Software, developer of the Ruby In Steel IDE. With 30 years of programming experience, he has written programming columns for numerous magazines, presented features on computing for BBC Television, and currently edits the online technical journal Bitwise Magazine. He has previously released two free ebooks on Ruby—The Little Book of Ruby and The Book of Ruby.
Top customer reviews
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Ruby is a programming language that I always liked. When "No Starch Press" offered me the opportunity to review "The Book of Ruby" I was curious because the two previous books I've read from them were simply excellent. I already have four books on Ruby so I was wondering how this one could compare to those but most important, if it would follow the same "fun style" as Land of Lisp and Learn You a Haskell. After reading the book, unfortunately, my feelings are mixed.
The book is well-written, with a good structure, covering beginner topics to advanced ones. It contains 20 chapters (without the introduction) and 4 appendixes. The initial chapters focus on the basics of the Ruby language. The later ones focus on more advanced parts of Ruby and more specific topics, for example, debugging and Ruby on Rails. This is a positive aspect of the book since for someone starting with Ruby can have in a single source access to several important topics. The chapters also have a "Digging Deeper" section at the end, presenting interesting discussions of the topic at hand. Also a nice read was the last chapter since it deals with the dynamic aspects of the language (use of eval, etc).
However, the book has some issues. The most important one is about the coding style, or the lack of it. The book is not consistent, does not follow Ruby conventions and it shows quite easily. I believe this is bad for a novice programmer in the language since it makes examples harder to understand, not to mention other things. Second, the book does not have the same "fun style" as the other No Starch Press books. This is a not problem per se but since the book subtitle is "A hands-on guide for the adventurous", the reader is more or less mislead to think it follows the other books "fun style". Third, the examples are too contrived and a few project ideas are missing. Ruby is a very nice language and with it you can do lots of things without writing lots of lines. So, it is a little disappointing that a book that aims itself for someone that wants to learn the language (but not programming from scratch) is not offered with some pointers in how to expand what is learning.
To conclude, the book is nice but probably is not the best book for a complete novice and not the best ruby book.
I was not so happy with the later portions of the book which cover more in depth Ruby topics (such as blocks, closures, regexps, etc.). These chapters are where the 'mixed bag' comes in. For example, I thought the chapter on debugging and testing was way too short or should have been omitted altogether. The subject of unit testing is very important and deserved its own, completer chapter. And I don't agree with the characterization of unit testing as "a postdebugging testing technique". Part of the joy of unit testing is all the bugs that are shaken out along the way.
Chapter 10 covers blocks, lambdas and closures with lots of examples. This is good, but I was surprised that the initial section on closures consisted of one example (and not a very exciting one at that) and two paragraphs. It's left to a sort of sidebar to actually get into the use of closures.
Also, in the section on exceptions I found the first example of raise to be odd. It contains the following:
rescue Exception => e
handleError( e )
I'm not sure why you'd have that begin/raise/rescue combination and not simply call handleError(e). A simpler, more relevant example would be trapping an exception, doing some clean up (e.g. closing files) and then reraising the exception for a higher handler to deal with.
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