The Book of Ruby: A Hands-On Guide for the Adventurous book review
written by craig, 26 August 2011
I should point out that The Book of Ruby is not an introduction to programming. The reader will benefit from some development knowledge, but there’s no need to be familiar with Ruby syntax or concepts.
The chapters are logically ordered and start easily with variable types, classes, loops, conditional statements, and exception handling before moving on to more advanced topics such as modules, mixins, threads and dynamic programming. The writing style is friendly, chatty and easy to read. Most chapters end with a “Digging Deeper” section which provides useful advanced information.
It’s difficult to fault the first half of the book, but the final chapters are more challenging. This was possibly my limited experience with Ruby, but I found several sections difficult to follow. I suspect most developers would benefit by reading it from start to finish: it’s not necessarily a book you can dip into.
A few aspects struck me as odd. For example, most books of this type dedicate a chapter to installation of the language on various OS or server combinations. Collingbourne give us a single paragraph and a couple of links. Perhaps Ruby is easy to install so that’s all we need? So is MySQL, yet he provides a four-page appendix about installing the database.
Despite the niggles, “The Book of Ruby” is an excellent introduction to the language. I’ve seen a few negative comments from Ruby experts but the majority of points seem minor and, besides, the book isn’t aimed at them.
Have I been persuaded to drop PHP? Not quite, but I’m no longer afraid of the Ruby or daunted by its syntax. If you’re looking for a good introduction to the language “The Book of Ruby” should be on your buying list.