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Ruby Reviews
by Eric Armstrong
March 21, 2006
Reviews of books on Ruby that I've either read or wish I could find.


Ruby in a Nutshell

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 Ruby Way

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.

As Yet Unfound

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.

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About the Blogger

Eric Armstrong has been programming and writing professionally since before there were personal computers. His production experience includes artificial intelligence (AI) programs, system libraries, real-time programs, and business applications in a variety of languages. He works as a writer and software consultant in the San Francisco Bay Area. He wrote The JBuilder2 Bible and authored the Java/XML programming tutorial available at Eric is also involved in efforts to design knowledge-based collaboration systems.

This weblog entry is Copyright © 2006 Eric Armstrong. All rights reserved.

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