Thursday, July 14, 2011

Book Review: The Book of Ruby

The Book of Ruby, by Huw Collingbourne, is an interesting introduction to the language of Ruby. And a great choice for the advanced programmer who wants to pick up Ruby.

If you check out the Table of Contents you can see that after the introduction to Ruby, the author provides plenty of instruction on how Ruby deals with classes, and then moves to strings and other common data types. After discussing data types, The Book of Ruby goes on to present different flows (loops, if-else statements) and grouping (blocks, methods) and then drops into a fairly powerful Ruby construct called Symbols. You'll also find information on marshaling data, and storing it to disk either by marshaling or YAML data.

Overall this was an interesting book - I liked having several small programs to work with, which let you focus on a single concept. My biggest issue with this book is jumping straight from an introductory "Hello World!" program into classes. For the novice programmer, this approach is probably like jumping in the deep end and I would have to recommend picking up another book to learn how to program. When reading The Book of Ruby you won't be entertained or bored, merely informed. I'd say this book is best suited for reference material, and would be a great addition to your reference library.

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