• ISBN13: 9780596516178
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  • Notes: Brand New from Publisher. No Remainder Mark.

Product Description
The Ruby Programming Language is the authoritative guide to Ruby and provides comprehensive coverage of versions 1.8 and 1.9 of the language. It was written (and illustrated!) by an all-star team: David Flanagan, bestselling author of programming language “bibles” (including JavaScript: The Definitive Guide and Java in a Nutshell) and committer to the Ruby Subversion repository.

Yukihiro “Matz” Matsumoto, creator, designer and lead developer of Ruby an… More >>

The Ruby Programming Language

5 thoughts on “The Ruby Programming Language”

  1. Originally planned as a second edition to Ruby classic, Ruby In A Nutshell, The Ruby Programming Language is a new book by David Flanagan and Yukihiro Matsumoto (a.k.a. Matz – creator of Ruby) and published by O’Reilly. The book covers both Ruby 1.8 and 1.9 and with its esteemed authors and technical approach, is sure to become a new “Bible” for Ruby developers.

    As of the start of 2008 this book is REALLY fresh and up to date. Its style is very direct and matter-of-fact; well suited for existing Ruby developers and proficient developers coming from other languages. The examples are clear and logical and the explanations concise; this is a well edited and authoritative book.

    The structure of the book is a delight with ten well-defined chapters (with titles such as Reflection and Metaprogramming, Statements and Control Structures, and Expressions and Operators) that each contain a tree of sections. Consider Chapter 4, Expressions and Operators. A sample dive down to section takes us through 4.5, Assignments; 4.5.5, Parallel Assignment; and finally to, One lvalue, multiple rvalues. This is a breath of fresh air in a Ruby reference work.

    The only downside, in terms of the thousands who might be browsing Amazon looking for a single Ruby book to start off with, is that this book is so well focused on documenting the core elements of the Ruby language, it doesn’t work either as a tutorial / beginner’s introduction to Ruby, or as an exhaustive reference work (as, on both fronts, the Pickaxe attempts to be.) This lack of dilution may be an ultimate strength, however, since anyone above the station of “beginner” will be able to learn Ruby thoroughly from this book, use it as a general reference, and then be able to use the exhaustive documentation that comes with Ruby itself to cover the standard library and built-in classes.

    In conclusion, whether you’re an existing developer or a newcomer to Ruby, you need just three things to be up and running with Ruby in the book / documentation department. Forget the Pickaxe and its mediocrity, and buy this, the Ruby Way (by Hal Fulton), and learn how to use the documentation that comes with Ruby.

    This book will act as the “Bible” for Ruby, the Ruby Way will make you an expert, and learning how to use the documentation that comes with Ruby will mean you’re not using information that’s out of date within a couple of years. The perfect combo! It’ll last you for years.
    Rating: 5 / 5

  2. ‘The Ruby Programming Language’ is one of ‘those’ O’Reilly books that become staples in the family of GREAT texts that have come before. At 400+ pages, the following content is discussed:

    01. Intro

    02. Structure of Ruby Programs

    03. Datatypes & Objects

    04. Expressions & Operators

    05. Statements & Control Structures

    06. Methods, Procs, Lambdas, Closures

    07. Classes & Modules

    08. Reflection & Metaprogramming

    09. Ruby Platform

    10. Ruby Environment

    Logically laid out, wonderful writing, clear and concise examples with a length that is ‘just right’ (this is so hard to not find bloated books) this is perfect for those that know some Ruby and/or programming in general. If you are new to software development, this book probably is NOT for you as it’s not a “learning” text. There are other Ruby books that cover said topic though so make sure to pick those up as well.

    Awesome job O’Reilly for this relatively new and fast growing language that is used on the web and wherever you want!!

    Rating: 5 / 5

  3. This book is quite simply one of the finest software development books ever written. The style, the length, the scope, and the structure are all absolutely perfect. The balance creates a reading experience that seemingly opens a channel to your brain and feeds the information in.

    Flanagan is a master author of technical books, especially languages. His JavaScript book is equally well done. Matsumoto’s unique technical mastery here leaves no stone unturned. And even the artwork by “why the lucky stiff” added a fun element that just rounded out the book as the best in its class.

    If I could forget the whole thing, just so I could read it again, I would. It is that good.
    Rating: 5 / 5

  4. For a long time now Dave Thomas’ Programming Ruby: The Pragmatic Programmers’ Guide, Second Edition (aka. The Pickaxe) has been the standard in the Ruby community as the book to learn Ruby from. Unfortunately the Pickaxe is not the best programming book ever written. In fact, its bulk and slowness almost killed my inspiration to learn Ruby. I respect Dave Thomas a lot for what he does for the Ruby community but the Pickaxe and I just did not click.

    Since I didn’t find the Pickaxe to be excellent reading material, I had been eagerly anticipating David Flanagan’s The Ruby Programming Language to come out and unseat The Pickaxe as the de facto book to recommend to newcomers to Ruby.

    I am happy to say that The Ruby Programming Language did not disappoint. I picked up this book solely expecting to just review it since I already comfortable programming in Ruby. However, once I started reading the book I found myself frequently learning things about Ruby that I didn’t know before. Not like little things either like, “oh that’s interesting”. I’m talking significant things like “holy crap that’s sweet!”.

    This book covers both Ruby 1.8 and Ruby 1.9. Initially this concerned me because as impressive as it is, it must have been quite a headache for the authors and was not sure how they were going to pull it off. It turns out to be pretty much a non-issue. The authors make a note of what is 1.8 or 1.9 only and it does not disturb the flow of the book since it doesn’t come up too frequently. I do hope though that after Ruby 1.9 stable is released they upgrade the book and tear out all the 1.8 specific material. Since I currently use 1.8 on a daily basis I don’t mind having 1.8 material in there but after everything has shifted to 1.9 it would be rather irksome.

    The style of the book is fairly straightforward. It starts with an introduction to how Ruby programs work and then goes into an explanation of Ruby datatypes and objects. The later chapters cover advanced topics like reflection and metaprogramming. The authors opted not to go the tutorial route, which I think, was a good approach since the book is not designed to be an “intro to programming” text.

    In the preface of the book, the authors state:

    > [The Ruby Programming Language] is loosely modeled after the classic C Programming Language (2nd Edition) (Prentice Hall Software) by Kernighan and Ritchie and aims to document the Ruby language comprehensively but without the formality of a language specification. It is written for experienced programmers who are new to Ruby, and for current Ruby programmers who want to take their understanding and mastery of the language to the next level.

    O’Reilly is hoping that The Ruby Programming Language becomes the equivalent of K&R’s The C Programming Language for Ruby and I hope it succeeds. I think that every language needs their own K&R book for people to turn to as the definitive authority. That’s something that I feel like the Java programming language never had and it creates something of a hurdle when browsing for a Java book.

    The third edition of the Pickaxe is in beta and will be coming out soon. I really hope it makes a strong showing when it hits the press because after the bangup job Flanagan and Matz did with The Ruby Programming Language, there is no reason to look at the Pickaxe till then.
    Rating: 5 / 5

  5. I only began learning Ruby in earnest a few weeks ago, and I really appreciate how quickly I can go in depth with this book. I examined many well-known Ruby language offerings at the bookstore, and there really was no comparison in terms of readability and comprehensiveness.

    True, the book can be fairly exhaustive in detailing langauge specifics; no doubt this will turn some readers off. The problem with other books is that they often avoid detail at the expense of clarity. For my money, this book makes learning the minutae required for competent programming that much easier, by being so complete and well-organized. There’s no need for readers of this book to turn to any sort of “supplementary text,” as is so often the case with less well thought-out books.

    One caveat: if you are coming to Ruby as a very inexperienced programmer, then this book is probably not the place to start (perhaps try “Beginning Ruby: From Novice to Professional” by Apress? I haven’t read it, but it seems to have good reviews…)

    Originally a “Nutshell” offering, written by Ruby creator Yukihiro Matsumoto, the new edition (written along with David Flanagan) retains the laudable grittiness of a “Nutshell” book, but can be read cover-to-cover. The very first chapter takes readers on a tour of the language, then presents a nifty Sudoku solver consisting of just 129 lines. It’s startling how well the program reads, and how quickly one begins comprehending Ruby code. The approach gives readers a feel for Ruby’s succinct, efficient syntax, as well as its expressiveness and power.

    Highly recommended.
    Rating: 5 / 5

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