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Ruby in Practice Paperback – April 7, 2009
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About the Author
Jeremy McAnally has been programming for about eight years and doing graphic design for four years. He is curerntly a freelance Ruby and Rails developer, consultant, and author. He has over three years' experience with Ruby and two years' with Rails; in that time has has developed a number of small, localized intranet systems and mediumt- large-scale systems in Ruby.
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*) Ruby techniques: Gives a general introduction to Ruby's strength (which sometimes reads as a bit of a sales pitch), BDD and TDD, as well as scripting with Ruby (including OLE and OSA).
*) Integration and communication: This part covers Rails, web services in general (HTTP, REST, SOAP), automating communication with email and IM, asynchronous messaging and deployment options.
*) Data and document techniques: This part talks about databases, structured text, authentication, searching, indexing and document processing.
Chapters usually present the reader with a problem, then show an example solution which usually makes good use of existing libraries and then finish with further discussion on the topic (alternative ways to implement it, pitfalls in using the shown solution in 'real life' scenarios etc.). For people with previous knowledge of Ruby this book is a good read, which shows how the dynamic nature of the language combined with the quite big amount of readily available libraries enable developers to quickly and efficiently find solutions to common problems. I sometimes do have minor quirks with some of the code, but that's just personal preferences and being nitpicky. All in all it's a very solid book which I enjoyed quite a lot.
I have been programming with Ruby, and Rails, off and on for going on two years. I find it disappointing that there are not more good books on either subject. Naturally, as each book comes out, I eagerly turn the pages.. hoping. Sadly, many of the books are O.K, a few a bit lame.
This book was an enjoyable read for me. The author covers a nice spectrum of different uses for Ruby, including but not limited to, Rails. This is what I like most about the book. It's not a "cookbook". The author actually delves into each subject, giving you more details than you would find in a "cookbook" type of book. While not giving exhaustive coverage in any of the areas it discusses, it gives more than enough to form a foundation for future discovery.
I definitely learned from this book, and it has found a permanent place in my library.
I would say, though, that it is not for someone new to either Ruby, or to Rails. This book is more for someone at what I would term intermediate level with Ruby. It doesn't start "from the ground, up" in any of the areas it discusses, but certainly at a level that someone with a bit of time in the language can pick up and run with.
In my opinion, the book is a keeper, and is recommended.
Although, book is written in rather simple and comprehensive way it is not meant for beginners and requires from a reader at least the intermeddiate knowledge of core Ruby, Rails techniques and understanding of quite a number of other programming concepts.
All together, Ruby in Practice is a must in the library of every Rubyist aspirating to the advanced level.
Then you will see a quick, but comprehensive enough, presentation of various libraries to solve problems in a more concise and/or more efficient way. The reader will find many examples of solutions for n-tier (Web Services, REST, Websphere MQ), for deployment in the workplace (authentification directories, RDBMS, search engines, emailing). I particularly appreciated the generation of PDF documents. These presentations are sometimes also a good reminder of good practice in professional development, as aspects of tests (Test:: Unit, RCov) and specifications (RSpec).
Finally, you will see other important elements in appendix :
1) different installation procedures for Ruby and Gem on the platforms Linux (Redhat or Debian), Windows and Mac OS X.
2) a review of the integration of Ruby in the Java platform with JRuby and deployments WAR for J2EE.
3) how to start Rails applications on different web servers.
The only criticism I can make is the lack of a real common thread throughout the book, which might give the impression of a listing of useful libraries.
If you are newer to Ruby and want to find some good uses of the language than this book can point you in that direction.