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Ruby in a Nutshell: A Desktop Quick Reference (In a Nutshell (O'Reilly)) Paperback – 23 Nov 2001


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Product details

  • Paperback: 222 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (23 Nov. 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0596002149
  • ISBN-13: 978-0596002145
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.4 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,342,638 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

From the Publisher

Written by Yukihiro Matsumoto ("Matz"), creator of the language, Ruby in a Nutshell is a practical reference guide covering everything from Ruby syntax to the specifications of its standard class libraries. The book is based on Ruby 1.6, and is applicable to development versions 1.7 and the next planned stable version 1.8. As part of the successful "in a Nutshell" series of books from O'Reilly & Associates, Ruby in a Nutshell is for readers who want a single desktop reference for all their needs.

About the Author

Yukihiro Matsumoto ("Matz"), the creator of Ruby, is a professional programmer who worked for the Japanese open source company, netlab.jp. Matz is also known as one of the open source evangelists in Japan. He's released several open source products, including cmail, the emacs-based mail user agent, written entirely in emacs lisp. Ruby is his first piece of software that has become known outside of Japan.


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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By CMcC on 10 Mar. 2002
Format: Paperback
"Ruby in a Nutshell" provides a nice reference to Ruby's builtin classes and standard library, but that's about it. Unlike other "Nutshell" books, it doesn't go beyond the online documentation.
The indexing and layout is poor; finding the relevant page should not involve having to hunt through the index. The information that is provided is often incomplete or misleading.
The middle chapters of Thomas and Hunt's "Programming Ruby" still remains the most useful source of information on the Ruby classes; "Ruby in a Nutshell" is simply a nicely printed version of a few old documentation pages.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Will Robertson on 18 Nov. 2003
Format: Paperback
Overall a good reference book. Having used Ruby a lot over the last few years, I'd also used this book a lot.
It's mostly useful for an experienced Ruby programmer, as there's gaps in the detail meaning you have to work it out, read the source-code or search the web in order to understand it fully; it often feels more like a big 'Pocket Reference'.
If you could take the 'Ruby in Review' section from 'The Ruby Way' (esp. the 'Training your Intuition' bit) and fill in several of the explicit details -- e.g *all* the argument and return value types, complex pattern matching, Finalizers, Tk, etc, etc -- this would not only be a bigger book (;-) it would become a great deal more thumbed-through. As it is, I tend to read the source-code a lot.
Despite all this, it had helped a great deal in my early days, and is still small enough, clear enough and well-arranged enough that I add my notes to _this_ book rather than anywhere else. My copy's full of penciled-in notes.
The downside is that Ruby 1.8's here, now, and some very important additions, like StringIO and Unit Testing (and possibly YAML) will hopefully mean Ruby in a Nutshell v2 is around the corner...
If you get this book, get 'The Ruby Way' as well, and it will all make a lot more sense.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By walidshaari@yahoo.com on 11 Dec. 2001
Format: Paperback
Nice neat book, not what I expected to have when it mentioned that it was a nutshell, but it was a fast read, nice organiztion, and lovely langauge to learn. you still need to refer back to the online documentation, and other books may be :) such as programming Ruby by David Thomas, this works like the pocket reference, if you already know programming, its a quite fast read, no fluf
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 8 reviews
32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
Book does a good job as a reference 1 Jan. 2002
By Garance A. Drosehn - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I'm just starting to learn the Ruby language, and come into it with a background of having used about 20-25 other languages (to some extent). If you are brand new to Ruby and want to learn it, then the book "Programming Ruby: The Pragmatic Programmer's Guide" is probably a better place to start than this book.
But once you have an understanding of the basic ideas of Ruby, then you're going to want a reference of all the standard Ruby "objects", and what methods are supported by each class of objects. "Ruby in a Nutshell" calls itself "a desktop quick reference", and I think it does a good job of it. It covers a lot of ground, and tries to do it in as few words as necessary.
As to the language itself, I'd say that programmers familiar with Java or Objective-C would find Ruby an easy language to pick up, and to use for projects you might otherwise use Perl for. I haven't tried to use Python yet, so I can not compare Ruby to that language.
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
I'd skip this one. 26 Mar. 2004
By Idiosyncrat - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The first couple of chapters are a good, concise reference to the core language, but the library reference is too stark-- most methods seem to have only one or two lines for description. Since this library reference is the bulk of the book, I don't think it's a good buy.
The library reference in the Thomas and Hunt book (Programming Ruby: A Pragmatic Programmer's Guide) is much nicer.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Still a great reference to keep by your side 29 Feb. 2004
By John C. Dunbar - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The book I have (2002 copyright) is based on Ruby 1.6.5. I have Ruby version 1.8.1-11. So the book is missing certain improvements to this elegant object oriented language. But that didn't seem to be a problem for me when using the book while learning the language.
I keep this book by my side when programming Ruby because, like most O'Reilly Cookbooks, the answers to the basics are a quick flip of the pages away. I also use The Ruby Way which is also good in a text book kind of way -- it offers examples.
All the basic functions and Classes are documented in this Cookbook. Its as if the originator of the language, the author Yukihiro Matsumoto, squeezed all the fluff out of the documentation and only served up the critical calling conventions for all important statements, functions and Classes.
For updates on the functions you can also use online resources or the Help file that comes with the program itself.
This review was written in February of 2004 and version 2.0 of Ruby is said to be a complete re-write. But that release will not be out for another year or so. I would then guess that this book would be valid through 2005.
John Dunbar
Sugar Land, TX
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Too many errors - wait for the second edition, if it ever comes 2 Mar. 2007
By Jamie Flournoy - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I've lost track of the number of times in the first two chapters where I either read a sentence that had no clear meaning, or where I saw an example that was just plain incorrect.

Page 12: "A symbol is an object corresponding to an identifier or variable." Uh, what? That's the complete explanation for this language construct.

Page 64: "arr.slice(n, len) Deletes the partial string specified and returns it." Followed by an example obviously copied from String::slice on page 54, which has the exact same example code except using 's' instead of 'a'. But page 64 is supposed to be describing arrays, not strings, so the description and example are just plain wrong.

It goes on and on. I had high hopes for this book given my past experience with O'Reilly Nutshell books, but this book is just not ready to go to print yet, and obviously has been very poorly proofread. Sadly it's been printed and it's out there in the world, so your best bet is to just avoid it until O'Reilly publishes a 2nd edition that fixes all of these mistakes.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Slightly dated (1st printing) but good "quick" reference. 14 Oct. 2004
By G. Powell - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Forgotten the name of the libarary that does directory listings? Need to know the method of the IMAP libarary? This is the book for that. Full documentation, look elsewhere, but as a handy guide to keep on your desk. Not a beginners learn to code Ruby book, but a beginners and intermediates quick look up the method book. Learning Ruby? Get this _AND_ a beginner tutorial book. It will speed up your learning curve.
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