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Eloquent Ruby (Addison-Wesley Professional Ruby) [Paperback]

Russ Olsen
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
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Book Description

11 Feb 2011 0321584104 978-0321584106 1

It’s easy to write correct Ruby code, but to gain the fluency needed to write great Ruby code, you must go beyond syntax and absorb the “Ruby way” of thinking and problem solving. In Eloquent Ruby, Russ Olsen helps you write Ruby like true Rubyists do–so you can leverage its immense, surprising power.


Olsen draws on years of experience internalizing the Ruby culture and teaching Ruby to other programmers. He guides you to the “Ah Ha!” moments when it suddenly becomes clear why Ruby works the way it does, and how you can take advantage of this language’s elegance and expressiveness.


Eloquent Ruby starts small, answering tactical questions focused on a single statement, method, test, or bug. You’ll learn how to write code that actually looks like Ruby (not Java or C#); why Ruby has so many control structures; how to use strings, expressions, and symbols; and what dynamic typing is really good for.


Next, the book addresses bigger questions related to building methods and classes. You’ll discover why Ruby classes contain so many tiny methods, when to use operator overloading, and when to avoid it. Olsen explains how to write Ruby code that writes its own code–and why you’ll want to. He concludes with powerful project-level features and techniques ranging from gems to Domain Specific Languages.


A part of the renowned Addison-Wesley Professional Ruby Series, Eloquent Ruby will help you “put on your Ruby-colored glasses” and get results that make you a true believer.

Frequently Bought Together

Eloquent Ruby (Addison-Wesley Professional Ruby) + Practical Object Oriented Design in Ruby: An Agile Primer (Addison-Wesley Professional Ruby) + Design Patterns in Ruby (Addison-Wesley Professional Ruby)
Price For All Three: £74.37

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Product details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Addison Wesley; 1 edition (11 Feb 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0321584104
  • ISBN-13: 978-0321584106
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 2.4 x 23.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 180,390 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

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Product Description


"R>Eloquent Ruby is like programming in Ruby itself: fun, surprisingly deep, and you'll find yourself wishing it was always done this way. Wherever you are in your Ruby experience from novice to Rails developer, this book is a must read."

--Ethan Roberts

Owner, Monkey Mind LLC


"Eloquent Ruby lives up to its name. It's a smooth introduction to Ruby that's both well organized and enjoyable to read, as it covers all the essential topics in the right order. This is the book I wish I'd learned Ruby from."

--James Kebinger

Senior Software Engineer, PatientsLikeMe



"Ruby's syntactic and logical aesthetics represent the pinnacle for elegance and beauty in the ALGOL family of programming languages. Eloquent Ruby is the perfect book to highlight this masterful language and Russ's blend of wit and wisdom is certain to entertain and inform."

--Michael Fogus

Contributor to the Clojure programming language and author of The Joy of Clojure

About the Author

Russ Olsen’s career spans three decades, during which he has written everything from graphics device drivers to document management applications. These days, he diligently codes GIS, web service security, and process automation solutions. He spends much of his otherwise free time writing and speaking about programming, especially Ruby and Clojure. His first book was the highly regarded Design Patterns In Ruby (Addison-Wesley, 2007). He is also the lurking presence behind the Technology As If People Mattered blog at www.russolsen.com.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Book for Rubyist at All Skill Levels 6 Mar 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
I can't even begin to imagine how difficult it would be to write a book covering such an in-depth topic as the Ruby Programming language. Add to that a target audience with a widely diverse range of skills and the tasks seems to be out right impossible. Fortunately for us mere mortals Russ Olsen has taken on this challenge and surpassed my high expectations in his second book, Eloquent Ruby.

The first part of the book is for the Ruby newbies, but takes an interesting deviation from most programming books. Instead of focusing simply on the syntax and language libraries, Eloquent Ruby focuses on the community aspect of the Ruby programming language. Each programming community has its own style and norms and without a lot of direction and practice, these style and norms can be difficult to learn. The Ruby community is heavily opinionated and Russ's book does a great job of explaining these opinions and their manifestation in many Ruby codebases.

In Part Two of Eloquent Ruby, Olsen dives into the core concepts and building blocks of the Ruby programming language. This section of the book covers the everyday usage patterns and common best practices when working with Ruby's classes, iterators, blocks, and modules.

The power and flexibility of Ruby is put on full display in Part Three of Russ's book. Newcomers to Ruby are often mystified by Ruby code that appears to be doing magical things like dynamically adding methods to a class. In this section, Russ pulls back the curtain and explains the magic that is metaprogramming. Those unfamiliar with the concept may find the topic confusing at first, but Olsen breaks it down in a way that is easy to understand. This section thoroughly covers Ruby's method_missing hook and how to open classes to add your own customizations.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best book on ruby I have 8 April 2011
I own a lot of ruby book but no one of them is so easy to read and sometimes so funny like this one. It's a pain that Russ Olsen don't update its blog often: his writing style is wonderful.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everything you need to know about Ruby 28 Feb 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
I have read quite a few Ruby books in my day and this one just blows the doors off all the rest. The pace of the chapters make the content easy to digest and quickly apply to your day to day coding. The footnotes are fun and informative so be sure to read them all. The chapter on method_missing is worth the price of the book, which means every other chapter is extra value. I am buying a copy for each Ruby developer on my team.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Eloquent Introduction to Ruby 13 Aug 2011
From formatting your Ruby files to investigating their execution in C, and everything in between, Eloquent Ruby is the complete accessible guide to learning and understanding the Ruby programming language. Each chapter gives you a handle to open another drawer of Ruby's elegance, simplicity and power making this an essential step on your journey to mastering Ruby.

Russ Olsen writes as elegantly and simply as the code he describes; the lucidity with which he explains the wide range of Ruby's features belies their complexity. Each chapter is short, articulate and focused to the point of setting everything else aside save the subject in question. The guidelines are given authority and context through the regular inclusion of exemplars from popular open source libraries. In addition, the use of one simple example throughout the whole book lends a cohesion not found in most technical literature.

The greatest compliment I can pay Russ is that he has succeeded in creating a definitive 'Manual of Style' for writing Ruby code. I believe it should be read at least once by every Ruby programmer. My regret is that it wasn't around three years ago when I was getting my teeth into Ruby and when I found literate resources for the beginning to intermediate hard to come by. I'm glad this will not be the case now. It is a perfect book. You should buy it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book 22 Jun 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If you want to learn Ruby, this book is for you.Very easy to read and comprehend. I highly recommend it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best books on Ruby I've read 31 Jan 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I've been coding in ruby on and off for about 9 years, yet I've still learned an enormous amount from this book.

This probably isn't ideal for beginners, but anyone with a little experience with ruby will get a lot from it wether you've been coding for six months or for 10 years.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read 17 Jan 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book won't teach you to program in Ruby; but once you have the basics under your belt it will teach you to program well in Ruby. As a long term C & Perl programmer I transitioned to Ruby with some trauma; but this book really helped me adapt and evolve as a Ruby programmer.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Not just the how but the why. 28 Jun 2013
By Abizer
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Learning a language is only part of the job.

Learning to write the language in an eloquent way that best suits it, using the accepted phrases and conventions unlocks the power of the language.

This is more than a style guide; it shows you how to write good ruby code.
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