Like a Java in a Nutshell, this book was a terrific way to get a quick overview of the languages syntax and libraries. It wasn't good at showing how things fit together, but it was great for getting a quick sense of what sorts of things it could do. I became familiar the major keywords, reviewed the standard libraries, and every once in a while got a great little example.
The section called "Training Your Intuition" is worth the price of the book. It goes from page 47 to 64, presenting things you need to get used to in short bullet points. That section gave me a fast leg up for reading Ruby code. The material that precedes and follows it ain't half bad, either. I began to get an understanding of Ruby's more dynamic aspects from this book. But mostly, it's a tremendous snippet library, with small code segments for a wide variety of tasks, so you can find the bits and pieces you need to solve your problems.
This one is a great language tutorial, but it isn't written for beginning programmers. It's written for programmers who want to know how to do stuff in Ruby. It's for those of us who got our computer science training when mastadons roamed the earth, so it focuses on the new and cool stuff like closures, and makes it so that even our nearly-fossilized brains can leap the understanding gap. (Come to think of it, object-oriented programming is still waiting for that book!) Like The Ruby Way, it provides lots of little snippets, but it fits nicely between the overview provided by the Nutshell book and the "how to use it" approach of The Ruby Way, which warns you at the outset that it may not be possible to learn Ruby from that book--but which nevertheless does a very good job in that area.
Sean wrote: > Programming Ruby (the pickaxe book for those in the ruby > community) is still considered the pinnacle of Ruby books. > I don't think you can fairly review ruby books without > t mentioning it. > You know, I have that one sitting on the shelf in my office. I looked at it briefly on first my inspection several years ago, and I scanned it again on this go-round before deciding that The Ruby Way would probably meet my needs better.
But now that I know I'm looking for a book that sits in the middle between them, I'll take you up on your suggestion and give Pickaxe another look. :_)
> Also, I understand The Ruby Way will have a new edition > coming soon, which is good because the current edition is > a little dated, though quite valuable. > > A number of great Ruby books are upcoming at the Pragmatic > Programmers site as well. > Cool! I'll have to get on the Ruby mailing list so I can stay on top of things. Thanks for the tips!