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Practical Ruby Gems 2007th Edition

3.1 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1590598115
ISBN-10: 1590598113
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

David Berube is a Ruby developer, trainer, author, and speaker. He's used both Ruby and Ruby on Rails for several years, starting in 2003 when he became a Ruby advocate after he wrote about the language for Dr Dobb's Journal. Prior to this, he worked professionally with PHP, Perl, C++, and Visual Basic. His professional accomplishments include creating the Ruby on Rails engine for CoolRuby.com, a site that tracks the latest Ruby developments, and working with ThoughtBot.com on the Rails engine that powers Sermo America's Top Doctor contest. Additionally, he has worked on several other Ruby projects, including the engine powering CyberKnowHow's BirdFluBreakingNews search engine, and he also created the Slueshi text adventure game system, a multiplayer text game engine written in Ruby. David's journalism has been in print in over 65 countries, in magazines such as Linux Magazine, Dr Dobb's Journal, and PHP International Magazine. He's also taught college courses and spoken publicly on topics such as "MySQL and You" and "Making Money with Open Source Software." He lives in New Hampshire and his hobbies include basketball, yo-yos, and sleep.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 271 pages
  • Publisher: Apress; 2007 edition (April 15, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590598113
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590598115
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.7 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,852,932 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By David Cahill on July 22, 2007
Format: Paperback
Practical Ruby Gems does exactly what it says on the tin. The first few chapters cover what gems are, how to install them and manage versions. The final chapters cover how to create and distribute your own gems.

Sandwiched between these fundamentals are a slew of concrete examples with code, covering topics like html parsing (hpricot) and RSS parsing (feedtools), zip and pdf manipulation, as well as topics more familiar to Rails people, such as the use of mongrel, rake, and ActiveRecord.

My first impression was that info on specific gems could easily be found by checking their documentation online.

However, after reading more, I realised I had missed the point. In theory, you could get this stuff online, but in practice, the often poor online documentation can't replace clear explanations and concrete code examples. This book fills you in on the fundamentals, then gives an interesting tour of some of the major gems available, with ready to use code. By bringing this all together, it will almost definitely spark some ideas on how to use gems to improve your Ruby code or your Rails apps.
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Format: Paperback
I'm learning Ruby and building Rails applications. This book offers a valuable overview of some of the Gems available for expanding the power of Ruby, including detailed descriptions of a selection of popular Gems. Things like online image manipulation and PDF creation are possible to easily implement with some of the Ruby Gems described in this book.
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Format: Paperback
This book contains three parts:

Part 1 deals with what gems are, how to install them and do version control.
Part 2, the biggest part of the book, contains chapters that deal with different Gems. All of them contain a description and one or two practical examples on how to use the Gems to get something done. All code is explained after that. The book focuses mostly on Gems that can be used in a web development or sysadmin context.
Part 3 is about creating and distributing Gems yourself.

I think the book is a nice read for starters who finished reading their first Ruby book and now want to create something useful. But I think it can be informative for more experienced Rubyists as well. It's pretty well written but I found that a few code listings contain flaws. This is mostly because the Gems used have been renamed, made obsolete by different gems or had other adjustments. So it's mostly due to the books age (April 2007) and some specifics of my operating system (Ubuntu). The publisher has not posted any errata and the downloadable code is flawed as well (at least on my system). This was a bit disappointing, but my opinion is that it's still a valuable book that will save you time in the long run. I bought the book second hand for 10 euro's so I'm pretty positive about purchasing it. But I think I would not spend the full price on the new book, but rather wait a possibly second edition or a good discount offer.

[...]
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Format: Paperback
Ruby has risen meteorically in prominence in the past few years, and the number of Ruby books has gone from a couple to a couple dozen. I'm pleased to say that this is one of the books that will remain on my bookshelf. Practical Ruby Gems makes few assumptions about the reader's level of knowledge and delivers a brief install-configure-manage tutorial to get novice readers up to speed. The main bulk of the book is 29 short chapters which each highlight a single gem, explain what it's used for, gives a simple script demonstrating how to implement it and has some added commentary on its applicability and explaining the implementation. The final two chapters explain how you can create and distribute your own gems publicly or privately. Overall, the book is clear and concise and filled with useful material.

Disclaimer: I have known David for several years, and we worked together to deliver some LAMP training and run the local LUG. I'm impressed with his level of knowledge and his ability to communicate it, and this book is an excellent demonstratin of that.
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