Programming Ruby - The Pragmatic Programmer's Guide (Anglais) Broché – 22 octobre 2004
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Well, it ends when you die, and yes, you do have to learn another programming language :-) But you'll like Ruby, I promise. Things I like about Ruby:
0. As easy to write scripts in as Perl, but it really scales.
1. Exceedingly self-consistent. Ruby has fewer syntactic warts than any programming language I'm familier with. All the features hang together very nicely.
2. Duck Typing: If you use a variable like a string, its a string. If you use it like a float, its a float. If you are familier with Haskell or or similarly typed languages, you get the idea. Ruby gives you about 80% of what Haskell gives you here.
3. Nice module system. This implements a nice mix-in facility--which gives you the power of C++ templates, with more structure. Also eliminates the need for multiple inheritance.
4. Wacky features like call/cc for the true language freaks.
Oh, so you want to know about the book too? Well, I agree with some of the reviewers here who describe the book as less of a tutorial/visionary screed/inspiring gospel and more of a reference manual. But I don't think this is a fair critique of the book. Back in the 60's, before the internet, a language needed a book to do for it what K&R did for C, or what Clocksin & Mellish did for prolog.
But today, you learn about a language by surfing the web. Instead of just duplicating what is available on the internet, this book complements the web, by supplying in a nice portable package what you need to know about Ruby which _can't_ be (easily) gotten from the web. Its a "post-internet" volume in this fashion.
Really the only critique of the book I can offer is that its description of Ruby/TK, the default GUI programming library for Ruby, is a bit abrieviated. It gives you the basics and the refers you a book about Perl/TK for the details. Please guys, in the next edition expand on this!
Ruby is a language which is as object-oriented as smallTalk, as flexible as Scheme, has the scriptibility of Perl, and a nice C-ish syntax. What's not to like? This book is the book to buy if you decide to learn Ruby.
Like most language books Programming Ruby starts with installing Ruby and then goes into a language reference; strings, classes, blocks, regular expressions, etc. It's all covered step by step with examples. The second part, Ruby and It's World, is a grab bag of chapters on more complex Ruby topics like graphical user interfaces, Ruby GEMs, and embedding Ruby.
Part III is a concise reference for Ruby that is handy when you already know the language but need a refresher. And the final part is a library reference with examples of using each method. This is the invaluable reference that you will use in every Ruby project.
This is the book to buy to learn Ruby, and to use as a desk reference. There is no question about that.
The book itself is very well written, easy to understand, has a little humour every now and then, but not too much to be annoying.
Some of the other reviews say the chapters of the book are not layed out very well and they don't understand what the Ruby Crystallized section is for. I would have to strongly disagree with this. It starts out with installation, Hello World, then it gets right into classes, methods, variables, etc. All the good stuff. The Ruby Crystallized section is basically to be used as a reference manual to the language. Basically, if you want to skip all of the "whys" and "how-tos", just read this section and learn some of the standard API and you're good to go. But if you want a little more in depth ( which is what I want ), start from the beginning of the book. I think the book was designed so that you really don't have to read the entire thing to get a good grasp of the Ruby language and it's concepts. The cool thing about this book is that it has most of the Ruby standard libraries in the back for easy reference. Not a lot of programming books have this.
I had the opportunity to hear Dave and Andy at a conference just recently and I tell you these are 2 really intelligent, great guys. It was a real joy reading this book. And Ruby is really a joy to learn and program!
I'd be more interested in a straight-forward and thorough approach. For example, the use of symbols is a little confusing (that partly appears to just be Ruby). In the introduction "notation" section, the use of the '#' versus the "." to differentiate types of methods just really got me off on the wrong foot - particularly when it was noted that one notation would be used despite it being invalid Ruby syntax. From that point on I had a bit of symbol overload trying to figure out what the '@', '@@', '#@', '#@@', '$', etc. meant. At one point, a string is referred to as "[#@lyrics]". The brackets were meant to be printed literally and had no programmatic meaning, but just seeing that typed made me do a double take trying to figure out what the square brackets were supposed to indicate. To answer, nothing.
I intend to complete this book, because I can foresee that the knowledge of the language will be worth it. I'm hoping the next edition can draw the reader in a bit better and will provide the information in a more thorough and consistent manner.
I also agree with a previous review that says this book should be 1/3rd as long as it ended up being.
Now if you already know OO concepts, this book is great. The authors explain everything in as much detail as necessary or more (and i'd rather have more than less). They often explain something and compare it to C or C++ or Java which I like. And the book seems to be absolutely complete. You'll feel like a Ruby MASTER when you finish it. For someone that already knows OOP, the only way this book could be better would be if it were more concise.
If you're a programmer and you want to pick up Ruby, I suggest it.