Computer Science Programming Basics in Ruby
Exploring Concepts and Curriculum with Ruby
Publisher: O'Reilly Media
Final Release Date: 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
 
3.6

(based on 9 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

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    (2)

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    (4)

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71%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Concise (6)
  • Easy to understand (6)
  • Helpful examples (5)
  • Accurate (3)
  • Well-written (3)

Cons

No Cons

Best Uses

  • Novice (8)
  • Student (6)
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    • Developer (4)

Reviewed by 9 customers

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(2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

 
2.0

Well...

By queenp

from mcr, UK

About Me Codemonkey

Verified Reviewer

Pros

  • Concise
  • Easy to understand
  • Helpful examples

Cons

  • Too basic

Best Uses

  • Novice

Comments about oreilly Computer Science Programming Basics in Ruby:

Admittedly I'm not an expert, but I was pretty disappointed by this book. I *have* taken a couple of introductory CS courses, and was reading this book with a view to translating familiar concepts from writing C and Python into use in a somewhat unfamiliar language (Ruby).

My main comment here: Ruby isn't a great language for expressing Computer Science basics. This book doesn't delve very far into the basic CS stuff I'm familiar with, but what I've subsequently learned about Ruby is that it's offers various very powerful tools that aren't basic computer science, and make basic computer science techniques not relevant.

When you're writing C, it's important to understand von Neumann architecture, to learn about stacks, heaps, pointers, overflows, and the importance of good algorithms and data structures in designing your applications.

When you're writing Ruby, more advanced Object Oriented structures seem to be more relevant, but they're also beyond the scope of a basic CS book. So overall the book disappointed by neither getting stuck into the things that are interesting about Ruby, or about CS.

 
4.0

Ruby Basics

By Cat

from San Francisco, CAA

Verified Reviewer

Pros

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Novice
      • Student

      Comments about oreilly Computer Science Programming Basics in Ruby:

      This book helped me through my Intro to Comp Sci Using Ruby course by explaining the basics about computer science using Ruby. At the end of each chapter, there are problems related to the topic that helps guide the user what they should know by then. It would be more helpful if there were answers to the questions at the back of the book.

       
      5.0

      Clear, Concise and Loaded

      By Naa Adj.

      from Washington DC

      About Me Educator

      Pros

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

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Intermediate
        • Novice
        • Student

        Comments about oreilly Computer Science Programming Basics in Ruby:

        It's a super easy read! Explanations and illustrations are clear, which makes understanding detailed processes easier than I had expected. I used it for my summer school Ruby class, and I learned a lot from the thorough coverage of the different aspects of Ruby.

        Best to use it in conjunction with the slides and practicing the examples provided in it.

        It does mostly focus on the theory pat of the language, and less on the shorthand/built-in methods. You should expect to refer to the online ruby API often if you need shortcuts.

        (4 of 4 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 18 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.

              (5 of 5 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.

                (7 of 8 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.

                  (6 of 6 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.

                  (8 of 9 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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