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Programming Ruby: The Pragmatic Programmer's Guide [Paperback]

David Thomas , Andrew Hunt
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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There is a newer edition of this item:
Programming Ruby 1.9 & 2.0: The Pragmatic Programmers' Guide (The Facets of Ruby) Programming Ruby 1.9 & 2.0: The Pragmatic Programmers' Guide (The Facets of Ruby) 5.0 out of 5 stars (1)
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Book Description

17 Oct 2000 0201710897 978-0201710892 1
Ruby, a new, object-oriented scripting language, has won over thousands of Perl and Python programmers in Japan -- and it's now launching worldwide. This is the world's first English-language developer's guide to Ruby. Written by the two leading Ruby developers, Programming Ruby demonstrates Ruby's compelling advantages, and serves as a start-to-finish tutorial and reference for every developer. The authors introduce all of Ruby's basics, including classes, objects, variables, container, iterators, types, methods, expressions, modules, I/O, and threads. You'll master Ruby development for the Web, including CGI scripts and embedding Ruby in HTML; learn how to create GUI-based Ruby applications with TK; and discover techniques for integrating Ruby with Windows. Programming Ruby shows how to extend Ruby in C, and presents in-depth coverage of advanced features. Numerous fully functional code examples are included. The book contains an alphabetical reference to Ruby 1.6 -- the latest version -- documenting over 800 methods, 40 built-in classes, and many useful library modules.

Product details

  • Paperback: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Addison Wesley; 1 edition (17 Oct 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0201710897
  • ISBN-13: 978-0201710892
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 18.8 x 2.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,255,568 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Amazon Review

"Big in Japan" was a pejorative term for failed pop musicians, but it accurately describes the Ruby language, designed by Yukihiro Matsumoto. The authors--who wrote The Pragmatic Programmer--feel it deserves a wider exposure in the English-speaking world.

Ruby is fully object oriented with a simple and consistent syntax. It is Open Source and freely available from ftp:ftp.netlab.co.jp/pub/lang/ruby as well as many mirrors. In Programming Ruby the authors set out to show that Ruby can and should replace languages such as Perl, Python, SmallTalk and C++; from which it takes all the best features--even Perl's excellent regular expression support.

The book is in four parts: a tutorial; a section on installing and running it in various environments; a section on the inner workings and interrelationships of the language; and, finally, a huge library reference. The authors make their case for the language's simplicity, predictability and flexibility. Unlike languages which have grown by accretion, such as Perl, it is remarkably clean.

Clearly a labour of love, Programming Ruby is equally clean and the authors' enthusiasm for it drips from the pages. Certainly, if you are passionate about efficient, error-free coding Ruby is hard to beat. There are, though, an awful lot of languages available already.

Ruby is certainly worth a look just to see how simple and accessible an object-oriented language can be when its author can draw on the best and throw away the rest. Working programmers will decide whether Ruby gains widespread acceptance but in Programming Ruby it has a powerful and convincing advocate. --Steve Patient

From the Back Cover

Developers from around the world are using the Ruby language. Here’s what they’re saying about Programming Ruby...

“In their first landmark book, The Pragmatic Programmer, Dave and Andy urged us to learn at least one new programming language every year. It may follow the principle of least surprise that the authors would bring us this year’s candidate, accompanied with a pragmatic philosophy of how to learn your new OO scripting language of choice.”

         —Frank Westphal, independent consultant

“Ruby is an exciting new language, worth knowing about and well worth considering for an upcoming project. It's rare to see such a useful book this early in the life of a new language. But of course I would expect no less from the authors of The Pragmatic Programmer. Andy and Dave: Thanks!”

         —Ron Jeffries, author of Extreme Programming Installed

“I have used Perl and Python for my work... but Ruby just turns my work into fun!”

         —Clemens Hintze, programmer

“Ruby is a remarkably clean, simple, powerful, and practical dynamic OO programming language. Ruby fully deserves this correspondingly best-of-breed book. This book is a ‘must have’ wizard’s workshop for using Ruby to boost your programming power and productivity. This book will greatly amplify the worldwide use of Ruby, stimulate powerful Ruby extensions, and generate demand for second and third editions. I look forward to telling later legions of Ruby users that I was farsighted enough to master Ruby using the classic first edition of Programming Ruby.”

         —Conrad Schneiker

“A good book by a great pair of programmers about a language with a great future. This should be the first Ruby book anyone buys.”

         —Hal Fulton

“Dave and Andy are among the western pioneers who understand the value of this precious gem of a language. They cleaned and polished it well, dazzling us all with its depth and transparency. It's almost magical.”

         —Aleksi Niemelä Use Ruby and you'll write better code, be more productive, and enjoy programming more. "I love it. Conceptually it is really clean, and sweet."
--Kent Beck, author of Extreme Programming Explained, on the Ruby language

Ruby is a true object-oriented programming language that makes the craft of programming easier. Ruby is a transparent language: It doesn't obscure your program behind unnecessary syntax or reams of extra support code. Guided by the Principle of Least Surprise, Ruby embodies the values of consistency and simplicity of expression. It's more than a programming language: It's a concise way of expressing ideas. Ruby supports natural intelligence--yours.

Programming Ruby: The Pragmatic Programmer's Guide is your complete Ruby resource. It provides a tutorial and overview of Ruby version 1.6; a detailed description of the language's structure, syntax, and operation; a guide to building applications with Ruby; and a comprehensive library reference.

Mining real rubies is hard work done with a pickaxe, but mining ruby the language is simple With this book, you'll find it remarkably easy to Learn Ruby basics. You'll find normal stuff like classes, objects, and exceptions, as well as more interesting features, such as infinite-precision integers, iterators, mixins, and threads.

  • Write large, well-structured Ruby programs
  • Write CGI scripts and create dynamic Ruby pages for the Web
  • Create cross-platform GUI applications
  • Access Microsoft Windows native API calls and automate Windows applications
  • Extend Ruby using C code

Other gems you'll find in Programming Ruby include:

  • An alphabetical reference to all of the built-in classes, modules, and the standard library, documenting over a thousand methods
  • A reference to object-oriented design libraries, network and Web libraries, and Microsoft Windows support
  • A guide to downloading the Ruby language itself, as well as other Ruby resources
  • Numerous examples (that really work) appear throughout the book. You will come away from this book with an appreciation for Ruby's power, flexibility, and clarity. You'll be armed with the information you need to put Ruby to work for you and your projects.

The authors maintain the Ruby FAQ, which can be found on-line at both www.rubycentral.com and www.pragmaticprogrammer.com.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars By the book. Code Ruby. Be Happy. 3 Mar 2001
By A Customer
Painless, fun, quick, simple. These are words that can equally describe both Ruby and 'Programming Ruby'. Ruby combines the best elements of many languages but for me it most resembles a cross between Smalltalk and Perl. Taking the best elements from each.
The book is easy and enjoyable to read and most of all it makes you want to read it and learn more. I'm not sure if this is most attributed to the authors writing style or because of Ruby.
The learning curve is not steep at all (if I can learn it anyone can). After programming in many languages Ruby is a breath of fresh air. Things that I would have done manually before I now code in Ruby since it is easy and enjoyable.
The book covers all you need to get you started in Ruby. Starting with arrays, hashes, control structures and the like. Then moving towards objects, inheritance, and access control. Afterwards moving onto the interesting stuff like blocks, iterators, regular expressions, io, and threads. The book does cover more advances topics like Ruby/Tk, web scripting, Windows programming, Extending Ruby. These latter chapters can be a bit thin sometimes and may not be in-depth enough for the advanced users, but they should give you enough information to get past the starting line...
In summary: By the book. Code Ruby. Be Happy.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
I purchased this book about 6 months ago after a co worker introduced me to Ruby. Reading "Programming Ruby" has been one of the best introductions to a new program language i have experienced. The authors enthusiasm for this new language is contagious. I dont program in Perl or Java much anymore, it always seems easier too do it Ruby. I have recommended Ruby and "Programming Ruby" to several friends and have recieved enthusiastic feed back from all who have read this book.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  28 reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Among the best books on the art of programming 25 Feb 2001
By Dennis Decker Jensen - Published on Amazon.com
I haven't read a book so well arranged and well written in many years! The book is now regarded the official (US) english reference on Ruby version 1.6
The pick-axe book as it is called among the ruby-fans (because of the front cover) is very well suited to beginners as well as experts. It's driven by examples that gives you a extremely good feeling of the power of Ruby. It's fun to read and excels in its unusual but still very gentle learning curve. You'll be finished with the basics of file-handling, I/O, GUI and Threads within the first quarter of the book!
The book is divided into four parts: A tutorial for newbies, a practical part on Ruby in its setting, a crystallized part with all the advanced and gory details of Ruby (for the experts), and finally the Ruby Library and Standard Library Reference. The reference is very well arranged and easy to navigate in to say at the least. You'll very quickly find yourself jumping around in the book - revisiting cool examples and trying things out for yourself.
You'll pick up Ruby in a number of few days. If you're in doubt go and have a look at [...] where you will find excerpts of chapters from the book, FAQ, links, articles, code snippets, etc. arranged as well as the book :-) I hear there's even been put up an on-line tutorial if you want to try Ruby out right away.
Comming from a background of C, C++, Java and Python I've found the language Ruby to beat them all. I didn't think I would need to learn another language, but with Ruby I was positively surprised.
Most of the time programming Ruby feels like designing directly in a language that supports the way you think about the problems at hand!
So what is Ruby? Here is a little shortcut list for those in a hurry: Easy to learn, high level of abstraction, interpreted, true OO, file-based source code, flexibility, convenience, metaclasses, closures/blocks, iterators, collections, mixins, continuations, threads, regular expressions, modules for patterns support, transparency, dynamic typed, easy to extend (even easier than Python), portability, light weight, easy to embed, modest in use of system resorces, but most importantly: Fun and joyful!
And thats just the surface. E.g. the authors have even used Ruby to implent parts of an X11 window manager.
It's almost as close as SmallTalk in being pure OO, while you still can make procedural programs if you want to. The simple, clean and concise syntax competes with and wins over the syntax of Python many times. It has the power of C++ while leaving out the details, that slows your development-speed down. You need less code-lines than in Java, but without the loss of clarity or readability. Many Perl-programmers or sys-admins have been shifting to Ruby because of its greater readability while still being just as expressive and powerful.
I could go on, but take a short look at [...] and see for yourself. Ruby's worth it.
Dennis Decker Jensen
30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very high quality book with lots of details and examples 4 Nov 2000
By John D. Lewis - Published on Amazon.com
I'm very new to Ruby, but I find learning new programming languages fun and challenging. I like to dig in as quickly as possible, using what examples I can find to show me how the language works, and reading the documentation when I have to. After getting a feel for the language, I start reading the books. I don't start with books, usually, because they're often not geared for a programmer learning a second language.
But I found Programming Ruby to be an excellent starting point -- it provides the quick-start help I need by giving numerous and well thought-out examples both in the body of the text and in the reference section (see below).
The chapters are well arranged (and even include information on distributed Ruby on page 272, often where most texts just start talking about file I/O!), with the first 276 pages devoted to an introduction to the language. The last 250-or-so pages contain an excellent library reference, alphabetically arranged.
The devil is in the details, though. And here, AW put a lot of thought into the finer points. The type is clear; the typographic conventions are standard and, if you've used any other typical programmer's text, easy to follow. So far, this is what you'd expect from any good computer title. In addition, however, they have added an easy-to-use thumbtab system for the alphabetical arrangement of the reference section, so finding a particular entry is quick and easy. Each entry in the reference section is clearly laid out with a class hierarchy (including super- and subclasses), parameters, description, "Mixes in" and a list of all class methods (most (if not all) with examples and output. All well-designed not only for the experienced Ruby programmer but also for the novice.
The index is thorough, with helpful vertical lines between the columns, and the reference section entry is identified by bold page numbers.
All in all, I would highly recommend this book for new Ruby programmers. There are still a number of things I don't understand about Ruby, but this book is an excellent place to start. It sets the bar very high for future books on this new and exciting programming language.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A excellent introduction and beginner's reference 19 Nov 2000
By QuinnC - Published on Amazon.com
This book is an excellent into to a very easy to use language. Ruby is much more OO than any language except Smalltalk and is much better integrated with standard UNIX/POSIX than that language. Now all we need is a reference for all the libraries and a book on XP/Rapid Development using Ruby (and the latter is what the current authors say they're working on next, although they don't explicitly mention XP that I noticed).
I give this book my highest recommendation, it is one of the best books I have read of its type (language intro). As for Ruby, if you are thinking about learning a language and want to do OO for anything except systems and embedded programming, then this is the language to look at. (for systems and embedded, OO is probably not a good idea in most cases anyhow... object-based is about the highest you'd want to go.)
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book on Ruby 14 Dec 2003
By Jack D. Herrington - Published on Amazon.com
This is the best book on Ruby, bar none. Far and away better than Ruby in a Nutshell, which is too terse to be useful. The introductory section provides a smooth ramp into learning Ruby, and the reference section in the back is so good that it's literally dog eared to the point of falling apart in my version. You can get this online for free, but if you are serious about learning Ruby (and you should be, because it's a great language), you should buy this book.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Quick and effective introduction to Ruby 8 Mar 2004
By Lars Bergstrom - Published on Amazon.com
The authors have a wonderful style for introducting the lanaguage Ruby, assuming that you have at least a small amount of prior programming experience. The order of presentation and the amount of polish throughout made this a joy to read and introduces Ruby at a very rapid, yet comfortable, pace.
It does seem to suffer from wanting to be both an introduction to Ruby and a reference manual as well; the last several chapters look (and read like) reference materials. While I'm not opposed to that, the book doesn't have the kind of binding that lets it easily lay flat on your desk open to the page, so I'm more inclined to just open the docs on a separate monitor instead. The book might as well have been lighter and just had a pointer to docs online.
Also, I wonder if some of the presentations of concepts like closures and contiuations aren't a bit too rapid for the casual reader. If you've had a programming background in Scheme or Lisp, it's old hat; however, as I was reading through their presentations and the relatively quick examples, it felt likely that many readers wouldn't get a lot of the subtelty in what was going on under the hood to make the language features work or in what kinds of real world scenarios those sorts of features are useful.
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