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Practical Ruby Gems 2007th Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
David Berube, Practical Ruby Gems (Apress, 2007)
If you've been following my reviews and you've seen the Ruby and Rails books go by for the past year, you probably know... Read more
For a book that focuses exclusively on ruby gems you would think it would cover how to wrap a C extension up into a gem. Read morePublished on August 19, 2009 by M. Mair Timaru Clinic
For those who aren't aware, ruby gems refers a way of packaging up code so it can be easily distributed for other developers to use, and a tool to help with the distributing and/or... Read morePublished on January 13, 2008 by James Stewart