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Programming Ruby 1.9: The Pragmatic Programmers' Guide
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Programming Ruby 1.9: The Pragmatic Programmers' Guide

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4.03  ·  Rating details ·  1,906 ratings  ·  68 reviews
Would you like to go from first idea to working code much, much faster? Do you currently spend more time satisfying the compiler instead of your clients or end users? Are you frustrated with demanding languages that seem to get in your way, instead of getting the work done? Are you using Rails, and want to dig deeper into the underlying Ruby language? If so, then we've got ...more
Paperback, 864 pages
Published May 5th 2009 by Pragmatic Bookshelf (first published December 15th 2000)
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4.03  · 
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 ·  1,906 ratings  ·  68 reviews


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Manuel Menezes de Sequeira
If you are an experienced programmer wanting to learn Ruby, this book is for you. A word of warning, though: go take a look at Chapter 27, Metaprogramming. That's the place where the object model of Ruby is explained. Without it, the rest of the book will seem to rely a bit too much on your faith. Unless, of course, you enjoy discovering the truth behind the magic for yourself. I'm sure it is possible and fun, but if you cannot spend the extra time, do take a peek at that chapter.

Another warning
...more
Marshall
This enormous book covers most of what you want to know about Ruby, and everything you never wanted to know. Its overview of the language is decent but seems poorly organized. It jumps back-and-forth between basic and advanced. Beginners would feel lost, while more advanced programmers have to skip around carefully. But if you don't skip around too much, you'll find nuggets that explain things much better than any other Ruby book. It also covers tangential subjects that you won't find in most Ru ...more
Jeff Standard
I was disappointed with the so-called Pickaxe Bible. If you're looking for purely a reference book with some decent explanations, this book is great. It seems pretty exhaustive for beginner-advanced applications of Ruby and takes care to remain somewhat "framework" neutral by always listing both popular frameworks as well as alternatives. However, a few things stopped this from being a great book: lack of applicable examples and inconsistent formatting. The examples were usually very contrived, ...more
Jenifer Hanen
Ok, so I have been teaching myself Ruby since last fall and I am in love with it.

Javascript: too wordy, too many f*%king loops and punctuation, mostly front end, can be used for some programming.

PHP: too many functions, hard to find the one you want, less wordy and loopy than javascript. Back end web programming.

Ruby: Beautiful. Elegant. Simple. Bless it. Very little punctuation, loops only where you need them and a not an overload of built in functions/methods. Back end, needs a compiler. Stil
...more
Dave
Jan 16, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Actually I'm reading a downloaded PDF of the third edition that covers Ruby 1.9. This is my first exposure to this language; I like it. I'm happy to say goodbye to PHP (fuck that language, it is made of garbage).

Um...right, about the book: I like it, seems pretty clear and goes through the language using several different strategies. Seems to function well as both a beginner's guide, in depth tutorial, and reference: a rare feat. Even the Perl "camel book" (3rd edition in particular) doesn't rea
...more
Eustaquio Rangel
A must read for every Ruby programmer.
David
Feb 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is huge and exhaustive, but it's very well organized. I went from knowing absolutely nothing about Ruby to writing useful programs for myself by the end of Chapter 4 (about 50 pages).

Ruby is a big language and I think it warrants a big book. Big human languages (like English) allow concise and elegant speech. Big programming languages allow the same. But they do take longer to learn. Fortunately, Ruby has two things going for it in this regard:

1) It borrows a lot from other languages,
...more
aajj68
Mar 02, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Ruby is the fastest growing and most exciting dynamic language out there. If you need to get working programs delivered fast, you should add Ruby to your toolbox.

This book is the only complete reference for both Ruby 1.9 and Ruby 2.0, the very latest version of Ruby.

2013 marks the 20th anniversary of the Ruby language. We're proud that throughout its history, we've continued to cover the latest version of Ruby.

Would you like to go from first idea to working code much, much faster? Do you

...more
Piotr Zurek
Apr 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It is the "go to" Ruby book for a reason. If you want to learn Ruby (why wouldn't you?) you pretty much HAVE to read it. A number for things that I didn't quite understand earlier, have just "clicked" when reading this book. I definitely feel like knowledge I got from it was worth the time spend reading this book.

If you're a complete complete Ruby novice (like me) you will want to read straight through the first 3 parts. Part 4 is a dry Ruby Library Reference, so you may want to leave that out u
...more
D.N.
Jun 18, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: textbook, programming
A tour de force journey through the dynamic, object-oriented language known as Ruby, with over 200 pages of new material and full descriptions of all the standard library modules. Covers strings, classes, blocks, and regular expressions with thorough examples. This book has such a reputation as the definitive reference for learning Ruby that it is simply called "The Pickaxe Book" in the programming community. There are many Ruby tutorials and references on the web, but the beauty of this book is ...more
Erik Mallinson
It's the definitive guide to Ruby, affectionately called PickAxe. You basically have to read it.

Now that I have I've realized that it's a great resource for things but the first part of the book where Ruby is described in a tutorial style was totally useless to me. The examples were a bit boring and the stabs at humor should have really been left unstabbed. All in all it was a perfect example of cookie-cutter programming books.

However - I would HIGHLY recommend the pdf version to those learning
...more
Fernando Fernandes
This book lacks structure and organization. It constantly jumps from simple to complex examples and it's hard to get the author's intention. It's just too confusing. In parallel, I'm reading Apple's Swift book. It's impossible not to compare. I'm not talking about the language, but how the books were structured. Apple targets the reader, making the programmer comfortable with the language. This book is the opposite. It made me feel uncomfortable with Ruby. I might use it as a reference book, but ...more
Clifford
Mar 01, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: programmers, computer language nerds, people who want to know what all the hype is about
Shelves: techbooks
Very nice introduction to a very cool programming language. I like the way the author's started out explaining the language from the point-of-view of describing a hypothetical project that they were going to implement in Ruby and stuck with that metaphor throughout the book (even in the more arcane 'Interfacing Ruby with C' sections). The last 200 pages or so is also essentially a very nice 'Ruby in a Nutshell' type reference so you get 2 books for the price of one: (a) A good tutorial on the Ru ...more
Katherine
May 12, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition


Bought the new version from Pragprog. Added a few errors on the errata list. Don't read this with an iPad. Go try the code samples. Some may not work on 1.9.3. Overall I am happy to have spent time reading "what I assume to have always known" about Ruby. It remains to be the most fascinating language I use. I am happy with how this book is written even if it is obviously not perfect (but looking forward to revisions). Their credits to the Japanese programmers who improve the language is good. R
...more
Mark
Jun 22, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ruby
The 'pickaxe,' oft-cited as the definitive guide for aspiring Ruby hackers. I'd have to agree. The edition I have was updated for the current release of Ruby and contains some gems about the inner-workings of the language that I found fascinating. Read it if you are a dyed-in-the-wool Rubyist or even a dispassionate student of computer languages. You'll no doubt find something worthwhile here.
Eric Hogue
Jan 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book is considered by many to be the reference on Ruby. I really appreciated the first 3 sections of the book. It shows how to program in Ruby, how to install and configure it and more advanced topics. The chapter on meta-programming is very good.

The last part is a library reference. It can be a great way to find out what's available, but after that, it's probably faster to look for it on the internet.
Amar Pai
Jun 28, 2012 marked it as who-am-i-kidding-will-never-read
I've never made it through one of these books. I always end up reading random snippets on the web instead. It's fine though, half of it is just library documentation anyway. (as is always the case).

I just need to figure out how to make irb give me decent documentation... cheat? ri? rdoc? how can this not be built in?!
Mark
Aug 11, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I heard a lot of great things about this book, but at the time it didn't matter because it was basically the only book you could get on Ruby.

but i wasn't that impressed with the book itself. it works fine as a reference book and an introduction to the language, but it's no better or worse than the equivalent o'reilly book for any other language
Burak Dede
Apr 18, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: programming
Ok clearly its written for programmers at least know some other language. Book contains spot on reference and comparisons to other languages when introducing ruby features. Other than that its not a holy bible book as ruby community insist, if you are experienced I would consider Well Grounded Rubyist but this book has much better formed examples.
Michael Minutillo
Oct 20, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: software
This book was the beginning of a great journey through the ruby language for me which changed my style of programming quite significantly. The writing style is clear and easy to follow whilst at the same time managing to convey a lot of information in a concise way. I wish all programming books were written this way.
Marko Jevtić
Feb 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wonderfully written book that really serves its purpose. As a person who wanted a quick and painless introduction to a new programming language, I can say that this book didn't disappoint.

Most impressive part of the book is the complete list of classes and libraries that are included in the latest (right now it's Ruby 2.0) version of the language.
RJ
Programming Ruby: The Pragmatic Programmers' Guide, Second Edition by Dave Thomas (2004)
Lyle
Jul 26, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the book I learned Ruby from, once upon a time, and while it has its detractors I still think it's a good tutorial (especially if you know some other programming language, like Java). Probably not a good choice if you've never done any programming.
Bill
May 29, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: current and aspiring ruby programmers
Shelves: computers, ruby
Solid how-to and reference book. This is how I learned Ruby, now my favorite programming language. I can't get past the author's name though. Every time I notice it on my shelf I think, "So that's what he's been up to since SCTV."
Mike
May 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing
The key reference for understanding the Ruby programming language. If you want to be up-to-speed on Ruby you've got to have this book. I also have the PDF version which is great to have if you're not by your bookshelf.
Gishu Pillai
Aug 22, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A true "gem" of a language. This book is important because it kickstarted global awareness of a Japanese programming language towards a constantly growing legion of fans.

Would highly recommend starting off with this one + then getting "The Ruby Programming Language"
Robert Postill
How I learnt Ruby and a great example of moving the art of teaching programming forward from K & R's C approach.
Louise
Sep 21, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This works well as a reference book, but it's not exactly beach reading. I like that most things are easy to look up and laid out in a manner where it's easy to skim for what you want.
Kyle Strand
Ruby is fascinating, and I'm excited to use it more.
Maxime
Dec 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book, read the first part to get a good comprehension of the basics of this great language
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