Feeds

Learning Ruby

Hot on syntax

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Boost IT visibility and business value

Book review To some, Ruby is going to take over the world. With prominent Java developers and propagandists jumping ship, there has seemed to be no stopping its momentum, particularly in web development.

Part of the reason for the popularity with hackers (in the programming sense of the word), is that it's easy for a programmer in an existing object oriented language (like Java, C# or Python) or a scripting language (such as Perl) to pick it up quickly.

For those new to the language who want to get to grips with it quickly, Michael Fitzgerald's Learning Ruby is an obvious place to look.

For starters it's a short book (238 pages), and it skips explanations of what is a loop or a conditional statement. This is a book that's designed for developers who've already got at least one language in their armory. So, if you're looking to learn Ruby as your first programming language this probably isn't the place to start.

For the rest of us the book opens with some scene-setting introductory stuff that gives a flavor of the language and what it can do. The following chapters look in more detail at various aspects of the syntax: Strings, Math, Arrays, Hashes, Files and so on. The treatment is fairly fast and no nonsense, with short snippets of code to illustrate the point - usually with alternate Ruby idioms to chose from.

However, a by-product of being fast is you avoid much depth.

Classes, meanwhile, aren't introduced until fairly late in the day, which some might consider an odd choice. As with most modern programming languages, Ruby comes with a fairly extensive set of libraries and modules, and some of these are explored in chapter 10. The final chapter is devoted to Rails, and provides a brief introduction and tutorial that examines both the philosophy of Rails and some hands on activity.

The standard introduction to Ruby has always been Programming Ruby (aka the Pickaxe book) by Dave Thomas and Co. Does Learning Ruby match up to the high standard of Pickaxe? The answer is "no" it doesn't, in general. The Pickaxe book is more thorough, has greater depth and probably provides more value in the long term.

JavaScript Disabled

Please Enable JavaScript to use this feature.

In contrast this is a very fast introduction to Ruby syntax that is expressly designed for developers picking up a new language, and so long as that's what you're looking for then this suffices.

Learning Ruby

Verdict: A fast introduction to Ruby syntax, though lacking in some depth.®

Author: Michael Fitzgerald

Publisher: O'Reilly

ISBN: 0596529864

Media: Book

List price: £24.99

Current Reg price: £17.74

Buy this book from Register Books at Reg Developer's special discounted price (subject to change).

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
NO MORE ALL CAPS and other pleasures of Visual Studio 14
Unpicking a packed preview that breaks down ASP.NET
KDE releases ice-cream coloured Plasma 5 just in time for summer
Melty but refreshing - popular rival to Mint's Cinnamon's still a work in progress
Leaked Windows Phone 8.1 Update specs tease details of Nokia's next mobes
New screen sizes, dual SIMs, voice over LTE, and more
Another day, another Firefox: Version 31 is upon us ALREADY
Web devs, Mozilla really wants you to like this one
Put down that Oracle database patch: It could cost $23,000 per CPU
On-by-default INMEMORY tech a boon for developers ... as long as they can afford it
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
Mozilla keeps its Beard, hopes anti-gay marriage troubles are now over
Plenty on new CEO's todo list – starting with Firefox's slipping grasp
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.