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The Well-Grounded Rubyist

4.31  ·  Rating details ·  748 ratings  ·  67 reviews
The Well-Grounded Rubyist takes you from interested novice to proficient practitioner. It's a beautifully written tutorial that begins with the basic steps to get your first Ruby program up and running and goes on to explore sophisticated topics like callable objects, reflection, and threading. Whether the topic is simple or tough, the book's easy-to-follow examples and ex ...more
Paperback, 520 pages
Published June 4th 2009 by Manning Publications (first published December 15th 2008)
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Sep 21, 2009 rated it really liked it
This was suggested to me by someone as a helpful book for someone new to the language but not new to programming in general. I found this more helpful than the Pickaxe book because it's concise with examples while being detailed in the why's, when's and how's of things, which is something I'm more interested in when learning a new language.

It's an excellent companion to the Pickaxe book since it gives a different voice and perspective on the subject. I mainly read The Well-Grounded Rubyist and t
Oct 13, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: programming, ruby
If you are new to Ruby, this may very well be the book you are looking for, since the author was really serious about the well-grounded in the title. Together the first six chapters form Part 1, aptly called Ruby Foundations. Here youll learn about objects, modules, classes, self and control-flow techniques. Although this part may not be the most interesting for more experienced Rubyists, its certainly well-written and manages to present a lot of very fundamental Ruby right at the beginning. Tru ...more
Gonzalo Fernández-Victorio
Jan 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: it, 2017
It's an advanced book. If you've worked with Ruby before but want to really learn the language, this would be the book. It is not a beginners's book: for example explaining some kind of objects, it would start explaining how to create them, not why they are needed first.
But if you have some experience, there will be plenty of "that's why everybody does X instead of Y". You really start understanding the language
Burak Dede
Dec 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
Only read the first part of the book about 200 pages at safaribooks and can not finish the next parts. Overall its a really good book for people who have experience in other programming languages, Book teaches a new version of ruby with new features so it's a plus but I expected the examples a little more sophisticated.

[UPDATED] (read the latest edition of the book) Finished the book and I think this is the best you can get for learning ruby. Interestingly there is not much high-quality book abo
Michael Koltsov
Sep 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Ruby (along with Python and Javascript) is a kind of a language that allows you to use it without dropping a sweat to study it. That's what has happened to me. I've been using Ruby for a while, but haven't read anything but blog posts about it.

This book gave me a good momentum to start using some of the Ruby features I (i.e. Fibers ) that I was  completely unaware before, though the amount of input it provides is not overwhelming which helps you to digest this book over a weekend.

That's a good s
Jun 19, 2012 rated it liked it
A very comprehensive book on Ruby, one that makes a good on embracing the masses, from novice (like me) to veteran programmers. One of the things I don't much care for in this book is the manner in which an explanation of certain subjects like objects and classes is lost in confusion, double-backing and switchery. For example, the story of grandpa's older brother, here the story is intentionally overcomplicated and confused to illustrate the complexity of Ruby. Poorly, I might add. Even still, I ...more
David Fulmer
I have used several different programming languages in my career as a programmer and I had to learn Ruby for my job so a colleague recommended this book and I read it front to back. I’ll start by describing some of the shortcomings, since they lead to some exasperation that I think could have been avoided if I had been aware of them first. The first few chapters have exercises which are helpful to demonstrate and reinforce what you’ve been learning. But I had some problems with some of the exerc ...more
Oleg Tolmashov
Sep 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: technical
Decided to read this book for a deep understanding of ruby's philosophy. To be honest, I've found almost all the answers I was seeking.

if you're already working as a rubyist for a while, perhaps you need this book even more then beginners. Now I understand, for example, why constants in ruby can be changed, got a deeper understanding of the language. Also, learned a lot about metaprogramming in ruby and it's opportunities, found out how ruby is working and it's philosophy.

As for me, it was a qui
Todd O'Bryan
Mar 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: computer-books
Ruby's a complicated language and this book does a good job of explaining its intricacies.

My one gripe, and it's minor, is that the book often pulls in constructs and ideas it hasn't talked about yet because it's convenient, so they're talking about a new thing and then you have to keep that new thing and some other new thing straight at the same time. There are lots of co-dependencies in Ruby, so I'm not sure I could do better, but it kept me from giving it a 5.
David Rissato Cruz
This book is exactly what I was looking for. It gives you a in-depth introduction to Ruby language, assuming that you are already a programmer and that you really want to understand what is going on.
I don't know if I would recommend it to someone who has no other language experience, but I would blindly recommend it to you if you already know some other language and want to understand how Ruby works.
Jean Tessier
Dec 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: software
The ultimate reference for Ruby is still The Pickaxe, but it can be a little dry. The Well-Grounded Rubyist does a great job of walking the reader though all the parts of the language, pointing out tricky areas along the way. It is very pragmatic and, well, grounded.

One nitpick is that at one point, the authors don't lean hard enough on the "is a" relationship to decide whether to use inheritance or mix-in. These two composition methods are more than just about how an object locates its method,
Dimitar Ralev
Dec 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A great book for any level of expertise and experience. It often goes deep into the inner workings of the language, so you are almost guaranteed to learn something new.
I would also recommend it if you are unsure how the "everything is an object" phrase truly affects the flow of a language.

One warning I can give is to mentally prepare yourself before going into the Enumerable and Enumerator chapter. It's a long one, and things get complex fairly quick.
Nov 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: professional
Finally finished this! Only took me three and a half years. ;) Even though the version of Ruby that it covers is no longer current, most of the concepts remain present in the current version. I learned Ruby on the fly, so had some gaps in my knowledge and my vocabulary. This did a great job of filling in those blanks and giving background into the whys.
Jul 29, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a very robust overview of the various features of Ruby (not Rails). It includes the more advanced features of the current version of the language, with many examples. The book is long, over 500 pages, and not a quick read. Still, reading it and practicing the examples will prove very educational to ruby developers seeking to level up.
Smai Fullerton
As a programmer with no prior Ruby experience who just started a Rails job, this was exactly the book I wanted to read. Clear and concise, perfect level of detail on many Ruby language concepts including an intro to metaprogramming. Great orientation for understanding how exactly the Ruby language helps to facilitate Rails magic.
Ethan Swan
Jan 31, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A solid introduction to Ruby. A bit simplistic if you come in with a solid foundation in programming (some concepts could be explained much more concisely using existing terminology; for example “lexical scoping” is never said explicitly and is explained over several paragraphs), but thorough and generally well-written.
William Huang
Aug 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very easy read that provides some in depth knowledge on the inner workings of Ruby. This book is a perfect book for those who have worked with ruby for a little and want to understand exactly what is happening under the hood when they are programming.
Avraam Mavridis
Jul 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It is a great book, it doesn't give a superficial introduction as most of the books out there, but it really explains in detail how the various language concepts work.

Finding methods dynamically, inheritance, mix/multi inheritance, lambdas, procs, singleton methods etc, are presented very well.
Toni Dezman
May 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
One of the best Ruby books I have read. You will get most out of this book if you are beginner or mid level developer. Even if you are seasoned developer I think you will find few things that you probably didn't know. ...more
Henry Ho
Nov 19, 2019 rated it liked it
Lots of info, a lot of which didn't seem necessary. Hard to follow, explanations oftentimes felt wordy and examples convoluted. It did give me a better understanding of the inner workings of Ruby and it's standard library. ...more
Sep 28, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: programming
This book is so boring. It is not a good tutorial book but more like a reference book.
Joseph Callaars
Apr 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amazing book providing all the ins and outs on Ruby. Can really recommend.
Apr 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ruby-and-rails
A good way of looking Ruby under a microscope but in a practical way.
Feb 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
Nice and thorough
Jun 06, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: programming
This is a freaking amazing book that reveals Ruby magic. It took me a while to finish the book but every page is worth it. I switched to web dev from AI and Computer Vision and everyone was telling me about "ruby magic".

After reading this book I think that there is no magic in ruby but metaprogramming and shortcuts. One of the questions I had before starting this book is what does `self` refer to? Because sometimes you declare class methods with self but the other times you declare instance vari
John Alan
May 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
Superb grounding in ruby.

I've played around a little with Ruby in the past but never quite managed to take the next few steps and get a deeper understanding of things. This is why I picked up this book when I decided to give Ruby another go.

The Well Grounded Rubyist sets out to give you a good grounding in Ruby, and it doesn't let you down.

It isn't just a simple primer to the language - you really get a deeper feeling for Ruby.

On reading the book you'll start to appreciate why Ruby is as it is a
Eric Brooke
Jan 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is a good book but tough to read from cover to cover. I have learnt a large amount about Ruby from reading this book. Whilst the style is conversational the chapters builds upon its self, making it less of a reference book and more of read from chapter 1 to 15.

I read this as a junior rails developer, but knowing several object orientated languages. The explanations are good, but occasionally uses meta language with out explaining them. It also compares different "methods" talking through t
Ted Roche
Jan 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Disclaimer: I was a "technical reviewer" for this book prior to publication, and have a blurb on the back cover, "Provides powerful insights and digs into Ruby's quirks. Revelatory."

The book is an in-depth exploration of how Ruby is put together: the commands, functions, core objects and runtime engine that make the language work. As such, it is neither a reference nor a beginner's tutorial to the language. For day-to-day practitioners who want a deeper insight into how to make the most of the l
Nov 03, 2011 rated it it was ok
I'm not really sure what the point of this book is. It's kind of a tutorial, but it assumes you already know another language, so it's not for beginners. It's been a long time since I read Programming Ruby (the standard Ruby book), so I'm not sure how this compares, but it seems to fill the same niche - part tutorial, part reference - and since the standard book already exists I'm not sure why you would buy both.

I found the chapter on Ruby's object system very confusing. Whether this is the faul
Nov 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: development
As a person who writes code, but not much Ruby code, I found this book to be an excellent overview of Ruby — both for how to Ruby and also for something of the essential style of Ruby. It is a small, dignified, and almost ritualistic language .... while reading about it I was reminded of the Hopi Indians as they were portrayed by Baby Boomer anthropologists back when that generation was still young.

Speaking of generational change, I like how the mature dynamically-compiled languages of today hav
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