Computer Science Programming Basics in Ruby
Exploring Concepts and Curriculum with Ruby
Publisher: O'Reilly Media
Released: April 2013
Pages: 188

If you know basic high-school math, you can quickly learn and apply the core concepts of computer science with this concise, hands-on book. Led by a team of experts, you’ll quickly understand the difference between computer science and computer programming, and you’ll learn how algorithms help you solve computing problems.

Each chapter builds on material introduced earlier in the book, so you can master one core building block before moving on to the next. You’ll explore fundamental topics such as loops, arrays, objects, and classes, using the easy-to-learn Ruby programming language. Then you’ll put everything together in the last chapter by programming a simple game of tic-tac-toe.

  • Learn how to write algorithms to solve real-world problems
  • Understand the basics of computer architecture
  • Examine the basic tools of a programming language
  • Explore sequential, conditional, and loop programming structures
  • Understand how the array data structure organizes storage
  • Use searching techniques and comparison-based sorting algorithms
  • Learn about objects, including how to build your own
  • Discover how objects can be created from other objects
  • Manipulate files and use their data in your software
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oreillyComputer Science Programming Basics in Ruby
 
3.5

(based on 6 reviews)

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    (3)

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75%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Concise (4)
  • Easy to understand (4)
  • Helpful examples (3)

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Novice (5)
    • Student (4)
      • Reviewer Profile:
      • Developer (4)

    Reviewed by 6 customers

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    (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

     
    4.0

    A good read for beginners

    By Ish Sookun

    from Mauritius

    About Me Developer, Sys Admin

    Verified Reviewer

    Pros

    • Easy to understand
    • Helpful examples
    • Well-written

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Novice
      • Student

      Comments about oreilly Computer Science Programming Basics in Ruby:

      I was kinda impressed the way the book starts. It doesn't just dive into the language but instead introduces some basic programming concepts which are not boring at all. Maybe this is not something an advanced level programmer would require. Yet as the title suggests basic I believe the introduction part starts well.
      Each chapter includes code examples to better grasp the concept and I had fun to play with. While this book does not make you a Ruby expert it definitely will help a beginner understand & apply basic programming concepts through Ruby.

      (1 of 14 customers found this review helpful)

       
      1.0

      Probably my last review

      By StevenAbaby

      from San Diego, CA

      About Me Sys Admin

      Verified Reviewer

      Pros

        Cons

        • Not comprehensive enough

        Best Uses

          Comments about oreilly Computer Science Programming Basics in Ruby:

          The simple calculator was not at the end of chapter 8, but rather it was chapter 5 exercise 5. Today I am doing the exercises at the end of chapter 6. Exercise 4 is an interesting problem involving the storage of pixel data. They give sample data that I'm supposed to work with, but it is more complex than anything that was covered in the chapter. So I searched on Google again, and I've decided it's just not worth the trouble. I need a better book.

          (4 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

           
          4.0

          Great intro to basics!

          By JimSchubert

          from Seattle WA

          About Me Developer

          Verified Reviewer

          Pros

          • Accurate
          • Concise
          • Easy to understand
          • Helpful examples
          • Well-written

          Cons

            Best Uses

            • Novice
            • Student

            Comments about oreilly Computer Science Programming Basics in Ruby:

            Computer Science Programming Basics In Ruby

            I read this book as part of the O'Reilly blogger program. I have been a professional software engineer since 2008, and I thought that I wouldn't gain much from this book from a technical perspective and just provide some creative feedback for future readers. I also regularly enjoy teaching others about technology and different aspects of development. I was very impressed with the authors' presentation of material.

            If you have a degree in computer science, this book is most likely not for you. The actual material discusses things like what an array is and how to use one. It also provides examples of how to use branching conditional structures, objects, files, etc; like the title says, these are the basics.

            What impressed me the most was the use of diagrams throughout the book. As engineers we regularly try to cut corners by going light on documentation, which is a practice that plagues the field and turns our science into more of an art. What is even more difficult than writing documentation or learning materials for other engineers? Writing for non-engineers. This book does an excellent job of explaining concepts that most authors take for granted. For example, I think you would have difficulty finding an introductory level book that doesn't explain arrays with a picture of adjacent boxes to represent indexes; as engineers we assume that new engineers may have issues with data structures, but we regularly take control flow for granted. I think we assume that control flow can be really explained by requesting it to directions, but this simplification may not work for everyone. This book presents control flow by providing an application example, then displaying the logic of the example in a flowchart. I love that. I think this aspect alone would easily reduce some of the intimidation a new student to the computer science field may have.

            I would recommend this book to students or anyone considering a career move into software or web development. I would also personally be interested on reading more by this team of authors on advanced topics.

            (6 of 7 customers found this review helpful)

             
            5.0

            The title and content were perfect match

            By teak

            from Jyväskylä, Finland

            About Me Developer

            Verified Reviewer

            Pros

            • Concise
            • Easy to understand

            Cons

              Best Uses

              • Novice

              Comments about oreilly Computer Science Programming Basics in Ruby:

              For me most important thing in a non-fiction book is that the title and content match. Rarely I've seen as perfect match as in this book. The book is rather short, but it manages to talk on many important issues in Computer Science and show how things are done with Ruby.
              Personally I don't have CS degree, but some CS courses were included in my physics masters degree. Furthermore before reading this only thing which I knew about Ruby was that it exists. I do have experience in programming mainly with C++ and Fortran (Hey, I'm physicist :). So I'm not in the target group of this book, but I found the book useful for me as nice starting point for Ruby if I start to use it for my work.

              The book starts with basics of algorithms and then goes to how computers work. After this the book goes through standard toolbox of programming languages with examples in Ruby. These include variables, conditional statements, loops, sorting and object oriented programming.

              The book was well written and I can recommend this to anybody in the target group of the book. I'm bit struggling between 4 or 5 out of 5, but 5 it is.

              (4 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

               
              4.0

              Computer Science 101

              By mko

              from Poland

              Verified Reviewer

              Pros

              • Accurate
              • Concise

              Cons

              • Not comprehensive enough
              • Too basic

              Best Uses

              • Novice
              • Student

              Comments about oreilly Computer Science Programming Basics in Ruby:

              The book is a simple, short introduction to computer science and programming. It's an unusual book as it is really short and concise (side note: compare it to The Art of Computer Programming by Donald E. Knuth – 3168 pages). However, this doesn't mean it is unusable, contrary, it is a nice introduction for beginners.

              If you are person who wants to learn some basics of Computer Science and programming, you don't have strong attitude towards any particular programming language and you have some basic knowledge of algebra, you should definitely take this book into account.

              After reading this book you will learn how to use most common programming constructs: conditional structures, loops, arrays, hash tables, some advanced sorting algorithms (read on my remarks on that), input and output operations. All that presented in a Ruby way. It's hard for me to say whether Ruby is a good choice here as I grow up on Pascal and C, but I think it might be a good choice after all as it is a dynamic language.

              In general, I think this book is worth considering. The only part I would consider hard to follow is a part covering sorting algorithms. In my opinion, explanations provided by authors will left readers in place where they know something but can not understand everything. I'd rather read something regarding standard sorting algorithms provided by Ruby framework.

              Anyway. I think this book is worth considering if you have never ever done anything with Computer Science and programming.

              (5 of 6 customers found this review helpful)

               
              3.0

              Good introduction to Computer Science

              By Jason

              from Washinton, DC

              About Me Developer

              Verified Reviewer

              Pros

              • Concise
              • Easy to understand
              • Helpful examples

              Cons

                Best Uses

                • Novice
                • Student

                Comments about oreilly Computer Science Programming Basics in Ruby:

                Computer Science, more than any other field I know of, poses a difficult balance between theory and practice. It is difficult to understand the theory without having some practical knowledge. It is difficult to teach the practical aspects of Computer Science without a solid foundation in theory. I'm years into my development career and still discovering the true value of CS concepts I was able to mentally retain long enough to sit an exam.

                I wanted to review this book for 3 reasons:

                1. I am on a mini ruby kick at the moment and am reading/viewing everything I can get my hands on

                2. I wanted to see how Computer Science was taught from a non traditional language (C/Java) standpoint

                3. I wanted to fill any holes in my knowledge and/or revisit what I've already forgotten

                The book is a short read, at 188 pages, yet does an admirable job of providing a basic overview of both the core Ruby programming language and some fundamental computer science concepts. I was particularly impressed with the overviews of some major sorting/searching algorithms and measurement of complexity (Big O Notation). The authors made these topics very accessible which is an impressive feat.

                I was admittedly a little disappointed that Ruby was used only because it is a popular modern programming language (as was stated in the book) and not because it provided any deep or novel insights into Computer Science concepts. I don't really know what I was expecting but I think there is an opportunity for a book to be written that delves down into computer science concepts using modern languages – taking the above examples: which Ruby algorithms use binary search, what do they look like, etc.). Clearly that wasn't the intent of this particular book, and I'll take the blame for assuming it was, but the title would have been slightly less desirable to me had I known in advance.

                As the book's title indicates, it focuses on basic concepts so it is probably not meant for seasoned developers. All in all this was an interesting title and I'd recommend it for anyone beginning a Computer Science course or thinking about pursuing one. It won't make you a developer overnight but it will certainly provide insight into the kinds of things you will learn and, by the end of the book, you should be able to write some simple Ruby applications!

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