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Programming Ruby: The Pragmatic Programmer's Guide

AuthorsDave Thomas, Andy Hunt Entered2001-07-09 12:54:13 by bcrowell
Editedit data record FreedomCopylefted: anyone can read, modify, and sell (disclaimer)
SubjectQ.A - Mathematics. Computer science (programming languages)
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a good intro
by Ben Crowell (crowell09 at (change 09 to current year)) on 2002-01-12 00:24:15, review #166
Programming Ruby is available in print from Addison Wesley, in HTML, as a downloadable PDF file, and in HTML+XML source code. I first casually read the PDF version, then bought the printed version, which I'm now reading more thoroughly.

Overall, I thought this was a pretty good introduction to Ruby, and I'm grateful to the authors for making it available as free information. The authors' sense of humor is pleasant, and the real-world examples are apropos.

A few caveats: To get much out of this book, you'll need some background in OO programming -- OO terms and concepts are used with a bare minimum of introduction. As a beginner at Ruby, I felt that the book's organization was a little awkward. It basically reads like a reference manual. The methods for the various standard classes are given in alphabetical order, whereas for a beginner it would be more helpful to have them grouped conceptually, with, e.g., dup and clone compared side by side.

As an electronic book, it's unusual, because it was apparently published by AWL, then converted to an open-source online book as an afterthought. Thus the production values are higher than one often sees in open-source books, e.g. the proofreading seemed excellent. However, the PDF version has some formatting problems, which seem to have occurred in the transition from print. There are missing figures and mysterious changes in the size of fonts. The table of contents is kind of mangled, and that really confused me when I read the electronic version first. The grouping of the chapters into parts I, II, ... had been lost, so I got disoriented in the transition to the part which contains the reference material on the Ruby classes. All of a sudden there was just this chapter that begain with some class descriptions, with no introductory text.

Information wants to be free, so make some free information.

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