- Paperback: 448 pages
- Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (February 4, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0596516177
- ISBN-13: 978-0596516178
- Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.9 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 95 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #52,787 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Ruby Programming Language: Everything You Need to Know 1st Edition
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About the Author
Yukihiro Matsumoto ("Matz"), the creator of Ruby, is a professional programmer who worked for the Japanese open source company, netlab.jp. Matz is also known as one of the open source evangelists in Japan. He's released several open source products, including cmail, the emacs-based mail user agent, written entirely in emacs lisp. Ruby is his first piece of software that has become known outside of Japan.
Top customer reviews
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Be aware that this book only covers Ruby 1.8 and 1.9. As of this review (July 18, 2017), the latest stable version of Ruby is 2.4.1, so this book is very out of date (Ruby 2.0 came out more than 4 years ago).
The author assumes the reader has a sound foundation in programming another language and often gives excellent examples and analogies for people that may already understand a concept or context in C/C++, Java, Perl, or Python for example. He does the same to warn about things that are different or reversed to avoid confusion, e.g. (pseudo phrasing) "If you're a Java programmer, note that [it] works the opposite way in Ruby. Instead of..." I would not recommend this book to you if you don't have any experience programming but anyone with a sound handle on the basic fundamentals of coding with instantly fall in love with it.
The book is sectioned and organized masterfully making topics easy to find and forward and backward references found throughout the book are helpful instead of a hinderance. The book may have to be read mostly in order for someone who has no previous experience in Ruby, but the topics are contained well enough so that someone looking to hone their skills in certain areas can find what they need very easily. In the extremely rare event that there is an error in the book it is always something like the font appearing too close together or a misspelling in a comment in one of the code examples. Literally, the worst error in the book is that in one code example the author ended a sentence in a comment with a comma by mistake instead of a period.
Ruby is a very powerful and versatile language. As such the book covers some advanced logical material but the author is considerate enough to warn the reader ahead of time. Chapter 8 in particular, and in the interest of being complete, covers some Metaprogramming techniques that many readers might not ever need to use or know. It's there for you if you need it. The code examples are concise, well documented (even more so in potentially confusing areas), and structured beautifully.
This is one of the best books I have read in a VERY long time. In fact, this book has inspired me to break an 11 year silence in technical book reviews. Wow.
Unlike the Pickaxe, which tries to be everything from an OOP introduction to a complete library reference, this book focuses on concisely documenting the Ruby language. If you're looking to learn how to program, look elsewhere - the Pickaxe is a much better choice. On the other hand, if you're already familiar with OOP concepts, this book (along with [...]) is all you really need to understand the language.
Of note, the book is also very current, covering both Ruby 1.8 and 1.9. As such things go, this is about as future-proof as it gets - it will remain current for years.
I can't really stress enough how well-written this book is. The authors don't overwhelm you with jargon, nor do they bury important details between fluff and analogies - I find it to be the perfect balance of density and legibility. Seldom do I find technical references such a joy to read.
In short, if you work with Ruby (or plan to in the future), you really should buy this book. You won't regret it.