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Ruby Programming for the Absolute Beginner Paperback – 11 Oct 2007

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1: Ruby Basics 2: Interacting with Ruby 3: Working with Objects, Strings, and Variables 4: Implementing Conditional Logic 5: Working with Loops 6: Working with Collections of Data 7: Working with Regular Expressions 8: Object-Oriented Programming 9: File and Folder Administration 10: Debugging App A: What's on the Companion Web Site? App B: What Next? Glossary Index

About the Author

Jerry Lee Ford, Jr. is an author, educator, and an IT professional with over 24 years' of experience in information technology, including roles as an automation analyst, technical manager, technical support analyst, automation engineer, and security analyst. He is the author of 40 books and co-author of two additional books. His published works include Getting Started with Game Maker, HTML, XHTML, and CSS for the Absolute Beginner; XNA 3.1 Game Development for Teens; Lego Mindstorms NXT 2.0 for Teens, and Microsoft Visual Basic 2008 Express Programming for the Absolute Beginner. Ford has a master's degree in business administration from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia and has over five years' experience as an adjunct instructor teaching networking courses in information technology.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x9c3a9348) out of 5 stars 7 reviews
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9c0f033c) out of 5 stars Good source for the beginners 20 May 2009
By Vladimir Belorusets - Published on
Format: Paperback
I disagree with the reviewers who gave this book only one star. In my opinion, the book fulfills its obligation by providing a clear and concise introduction to Ruby for the beginners. Ruby is a popular scripting language used in many test automation tools, for example, Watir and Selenium. As a QA Manager, I was looking for a book that I could recommend to my team who has no experience with Ruby. This book is my choice for them. It covers basic syntax of Ruby in a good structured manner. It's easy to follow and the examples are short and illustrative.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9bf54774) out of 5 stars Ruby dumbed down 14 Aug. 2008
By Marius van Handel - Published on
Format: Paperback
I bought this book to get a better understanding of how to write classes, handle exceptions, and use the debugger. I achieved all three, so I suppose that I got my $24 worth.

The idea of the book is a dumbed down approach to Ruby, so that any beginner can understand it. Unfortunately, it is dumbed down so far that the beginner will not be much wiser at the end of the book. I disagree with the author's approach. The difficulty of most beginners is not inability to understand syntax, but lack of knowledge of computer science. The author does little to help, preferring to give example after repetitive example.

The editing of this book is one of the sloppiest I have ever seen in a commercial book. All the errors were in code, not in the text; therefore, it is the author who let us down, not the publisher. On page 118, the author explains that you can use the colon (:) instead of the "then" keyword in a case statement. However, the "then" keyword is not used in case statements (unless you adopt the poor form of putting the entire case statement on one line). On page 122, we read about "x|| or x ||0" and "x|| yyx||0" as examples of the OR operator. These are such bad typographical errors that I have not yet been able to guess what the author meant. On page 49, we read (as an example of Ruby calculations) that 0*7*4/3-4%3+8 will return 16. It doesn't and it shouldn't. The expression equals 7.

The author frequently cuts and pastes whole sections to repeat them, often forgetting to change those texts that need to be changed. Thus we find the greeting for the 8-ball game in the middle of the Typing Challenge. And the example of the "while" modifier cut and pasted to be an example of the "until" modifier (the example has reads "while" instead of "until".) We read that the ? modifier "matches zero or none [should be 'one'] of the preceding characters." The book is full of screen captures which are too small to see, and which provide no useful information.

All of this shows lack of attention to detail by the author. The book is so dumbed down, however, that it will not hinder the reader. On page 90, we read about converting strings to floating point numbers with the "tp_f" method. That may hinder the reader. The correct method is "to_f".

An irritation: the author makes self-conscious use of sexist pronouns throughout. I thought we were past that stage.

If you need a beginning Ruby book, start with beginner's tutorials on the internet, then get Peter Cooper's Beginning Ruby from Novice to Professional. Same price as this book, much, much more value.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9bf03b4c) out of 5 stars Ruby for the absolute beginner. No skills gained 18 May 2008
By Riccardo Audano - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Now, I like the idea. Ruby is an excellent choice for teaching newcomers to programmers, and what better strategy to lure a newbie into the depths of programming than using little games as examples? Only, this grand plan is horribly spoiled by its realization. The material presented in the various chapter is definitely too sparse and insufficient even for a beginner, and the example game programs are basically the same, stale, squalid , little program that 'ask permission' to start, gather some inputs, spits some output and says bye bye and thanks before closing.The same code is presented over and over with maniacal repetition, even the comments and few "puts line" that invariably greet the poor player at the beginning of every script. Sickening. I think the right subtitle is not "No experience required" but "No skills gained".
If you want to learn Ruby I think the mandatory text is:
The Ruby Programming Language by David Flanagan and Yukihiro Matsumoto
Here you have an author who;s has proved himself writing some of the most useful Java books ever written and the author of the language. What more can you wish for? If you, really, really (but really.. it's not a difficult book to master...) find it a bit too intimidating, maybe give a read first to the Apress "Beginning Ruby" book.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9d48b150) out of 5 stars Get A Different Book 22 Dec. 2010
By Thomas L. Lucero - Published on
Format: Paperback
If you want to learn to program in Ruby, get a different book. The target audience for this book should be a) new programmers looking for a reason to program, and b) programmers looking for a reason to use Ruby. This helps neither.

Each chapter shows you how to write one complete program, which is good. However, the examples could have been written in BASIC in 1980. The ruby idioms are few and forced. Example: each and every program in the book has a method cls in class Screen (or class Console_Screen, for variety) that reads: puts ("\n" * 25).

In chapter 9, the author apparently does not know that you can use forward slashes for directories in Ruby on Windows. In chapter 10, the final chapter, you learn how to write a console tic-tac-toe game with debugging using begin/rescue statements.

The book does include irb, hashes and arrays, collections, and regular expressions. It does not include gems, Rails, unit testing, test-driven development, anything web-related, or graphics. Aside from begin/rescue and regular expressions, almost all of the programming uses techniques in use in Apple II Basic or before.

The most valuable part of the book is Appendix A, where the recommended reading book list includes Programming Ruby, The Ruby Way, Ruby Cookbook and Agile Web Development with Rails. Buy any or all of these books. The first ten chapters of Programming Ruby, by Dave Thomas, Chad Fowler, and Andy Hunt, covers everything in this book in 220 fewer pages.
HASH(0x9c203ccc) out of 5 stars Important explanations left out, few skills gained 1 April 2013
By dhMed - Published on
Format: Paperback
Picked this up from the library to get a basis for Ruby. I'm a programmer of other languages and just wanted something simple that would take me a few days to get through.

Thought this book left out key information about what the code it wrote did. The programming snipbits weren't very helpful -- you didn't advance from one section to the other feeling like you learned a lot. Instead time was wasted repeating areas that weren't helpful.

Would NOT recommend this book.
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