Learning Ruby
The Language that Powers Rails
Publisher: O'Reilly Media
Final Release Date: May 2007
Pages: 260

You don't have to know everything about a car to drive one, and you don't need to know everything about Ruby to start programming with it. Written for both experienced and new programmers alike, Learning Ruby is a just-get-in-and-drive book -- a hands-on tutorial that offers lots of Ruby programs and lets you know how and why they work, just enough to get you rolling down the road.

Interest in Ruby stems from the popularity of Rails, the web development framework that's attracting new devotees and refugees from Java and PHP. But there are plenty of other uses for this versatile language. The best way to learn is to just try the code! You'll find examples on nearly every page of this book that you can imitate and hack. Briefly, this book:

  • Outlines many of the most important features of Ruby
  • Demonstrates how to use conditionals, and how to manipulate strings in Ruby. Includes a section on regular expressions
  • Describes how to use operators, basic math, functions from the Math module, rational numbers, etc.
  • Talks you through Ruby arrays, and demonstrates hashes in detail
  • Explains how to process files with Ruby
  • Discusses Ruby classes and modules (mixins) in detail, including a brief introduction to object-oriented programming (OOP)
  • Introduces processing XML, the Tk toolkit, RubyGems, reflection, RDoc, embedded Ruby, metaprogramming, exception handling, and other topics
  • Acquaints you with some of the essentials of Rails, and includes a short Rails tutorial.
Each chapter concludes with a set of review questions, and appendices provide you with a glossary of terms related to Ruby programming, plus reference material from the book in one convenient location. If you want to take Ruby out for a drive, Learning Ruby holds the keys.
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by PowerReviews
oreillyLearning Ruby
 
2.8

(based on 12 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (4)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (4)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (2)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (2)

25%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Easy to understand (3)

Cons

  • Too many errors (4)

Best Uses

  • Novice (3)

Reviewed by 12 customers

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2.0

Love O'Reilly, but dont get this

By TJ

from SF

About Me Novice

Verified Reviewer

Pros

    Cons

    • Bad Examples
    • Difficult to understand
    • Too many errors

    Best Uses

      Comments about oreilly Learning Ruby:

      I recently got interested in learning how to code and been reading at quite a fast pace. Several O'Reilly books are EXCELLENT. The starter ones are great (PHP, MySQL, JavaScript & CSS by Ronin Nixon is my favorite) and I was able to understand a lot from the much more advanced ones.

      This book is not very good at all. The examples are full of errors (and no one seems to be checking on the errata page) and it is overall quite hard to understand.

      Perhaps if you are more advanced then it would be OK to get this. Of course, then there would be NO need to at that point (book is called LEARNING Ruby, afterall).

      In the end, this book is really not written well for anyone... wish I read some of the comments before buying...

      (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

       
      2.0

      Learning Ruby: Good but Not Great Primer

      By Elissa Shevinsky

      from Mountain View, CA

      About Me CEO

      Verified Reviewer

      Pros

      • Concise
      • Easy to understand

      Cons

      • Not comprehensive enough
      • Too basic
      • Too many errors

      Best Uses

      • Novice

      Comments about oreilly Learning Ruby:

      For a task like "Learning Ruby" I would normally choose a guide that is very up-to-date. As other reviewers have noted, this book was published in 2007. A newer text is required for more useful information on installing Ruby and Rails.

      While this text is useful as a quick easy-to-read tour of Ruby there are books that are both more up to date, more comprehensive, and more authoritative. "The Ruby Programming Language" comes to mind as an iconic text, also published by O'Reilly, and without the errors and thinness that account for poor reviews of "Learning Ruby."

      While I found the simplicity of "Learning Ruby" made it very approachable, my recommendation is to read the more authoritative and more comprehensive book "The Ruby Programming Language" instead.

      This copy was reviewed as part of the O'Reilly Blogger Review program.

       
      3.0

      For begginners

      By Przemysław

      from Kraków, Poland

      About Me Developer

      Verified Reviewer

      Pros

      • Easy to understand
      • Helpful examples

      Cons

      • Outdated
      • Too many errors

      Best Uses

      • Novice

      Comments about oreilly Learning Ruby:

      This book is good introduction to the Ruby language for beginners. Book covers the most important aspects of language: syntax, data structures, classes, some common libraries, etc. Reader need to be aware that book was published in 2007 and there are outdated parts (e.g. there are newer versions of Ruby and Ruby on Rails).
      Learning Ruby can be still valuable position for beginner however I would recommend find more up-to-date book.

      (4 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

       
      3.0

      A good start, but needs work

      By Forrest

      from Cambridge, MA

      About Me Sys Admin

      Verified Reviewer

      Pros

      • Concise
      • Easy to understand
      • Helpful examples

      Cons

      • Too many errors

      Best Uses

      • Intermediate
      • Novice

      Comments about oreilly Learning Ruby:

      I think this is probably one of the better starts in the "learning ruby" books out there. However, the book has several errors that can mislead.

      The opportunity for a second improved edition is definitely called for - but O'Reilly says they have no plans, which I think is crazy - Ruby is fast becoming a very important language out there. Give the author the chance to improve his work. Everyone benefits.

      (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

       
      4.0

      A good introduction, with a few annoying errors

      By Forrest

      from Undisclosed

      Comments about oreilly Learning Ruby:

      Overall, this is a very good introduction to the Ruby language.

      There are, however, a few annoying errors (some reflected in the user-contributed Errata) that can throw a new user off. In particular, he doesn't often explain some of the functions he uses like "p" and its significance to other similar functions, which can be confusing.

      Hopefully a second, expanded edition is in the works that will have these corrections and more material for the new user to learn from.

      (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

       
      3.0

      Read the description and you'll get what you want from this book

      By Matt Polito

      from Undisclosed

      Comments about oreilly Learning Ruby:

      Learning Ruby is exactly what the title says. This book offers a great 'introduction' to Ruby as a fun, powerful language. Now I would say that as a Ruby user, I'm not quite advanced but not really a beginner. I would have to say that this book is definitely catered to someone very new to the Ruby world. The books author, Michael Fitzgerald, uses a very easy to read style of writing that, to me, made this read far easier than a normal technical book. He uses this same easy to follow/read style in Ruby Pocket Reference (http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/9780596514815/?CMP=AK) and Learning XSLT (http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/learnxslt/index.html) as well.

      Inside you will find small easy to digest chapters that give a quick explanation on what you'll need to know such as: blocks, arrays, loops, functions. The basic stuff that will lay the groundwork. I believe that the books description may be the most accurate depiction of this book. It does not lie about it's intent. Going in you will know that this is a book that will show you how to get started and really primes you for other more in-depth books (The Ruby Way).

      Personally I didn't really understand why at the end of the book you get an extremely brief introduction to Rails (http://www.rubyonrails.org) . The only reason I think is because on the cover you get a tagline of 'The Language That Powers Rails.' So they kind of needed to put something in there. That is really the only grief I found with the book. While doing some searching for other reviews of this book... I found that many people didn't like it, but I truly believe that those people may have already been using Ruby for a bit. Then of course this book would seem like a waste. It is what it is and that's a beginner's introduction.

      Rated: *** out of 5

      (2 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

       
      1.0

      I want my money back

      By ShiroNanami

      from Undisclosed

      Comments about oreilly Learning Ruby:

      When you have code like this:

      [An example of rolling 2 dices]

      r_1 = rand(6); r_2 = rand(6)

      r1 = r1>0?r_1:1; r2 = r2>0?r_2:6

      And a comment like this:

      "...a little fancy footwork to make sure it does not return 0..."

      These are signs that you just got duped.

      Obviously the author isn't well-versed in Ruby.

      No feedback, lots of errors, low on technical.

      More importantly, this thin book has a price of a THICK book.

       
      4.0

      Should be titled: Learning Ruby *Fast*

      By Scott Schram

      from Undisclosed

      Comments about oreilly Learning Ruby:

      Michael Fitzgerald directs his book "Learning Ruby" to two audiences:

      * "experienced programmers who want to learn Ruby"

      For this audience, the book excels. The author suggests that experienced programmers "read the code, skim the explanations as needed". Ruby syntax is very readable, so this works very well. An experienced programmer could learn Ruby in about a day using this technique. You won't know every intricacy of the Ruby language, but you'll know enough to start reading and writing in the real world and where to look for more information.

      * "new programmers who want to learn to program"

      I think most new programmers would be comfortable with more explanation than this book provides. However, the examples are small, and with some hands-on using Ruby's interactive interpreter (irb) it might work for some.

      Following the introduction to the Ruby language, the author includes:

      More Fun with Ruby - a mixture of topics including sprintf (for formatting strings), XML handling libraries, RubyGems (a package utility for Ruby that provides access to a repository of re-usable libraries), rDoc (the Ruby documentation generator) and a light introduction to some other advanced topics.

      A Short Guide to Ruby on Rails - a nice introduction, followed by a short tutorial.

      A Ruby Reference.

      A glossary of Ruby terms.

      Throughout the book, the author points out planned additions to version 1.9 of the Ruby language. Those changes would not make this book obsolete.

       
      3.0

      Good, but buggy

      By Anonymous

      from Undisclosed

      Comments about oreilly Learning Ruby:

      I agree with a previous poster, there are several syntactical (and logical) bugs here. One of them doesn't take into account the requirement of parenthesis to arguments that appeared recently.

      The lack of response to the bug reports is a bit of a turnoff, considering we paid for the book.

      Also, though the book says this is available for free online for 30 days; when I checked, it was not (that's false advertising).

      (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

       
      1.0

      Buggy

      By Virgininan

      from Undisclosed

      Comments about oreilly Learning Ruby:

      The challenge for this book is not that it has errors, it is that their are little to no feedback on the errata page from the author, or responses to user submitted issues.

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