Thursday, June 26, 2008

Books for URUG

I’ve been kind of lax about doing anything to help with URUG of late, and I’m starting to feel guilty about it. Fortunately, O’Reilly and their User Group Program made it easy to do something to put off the guilt for another day.

While I was on vacation, two books showed up in my mailbox: Ruby By Example and Build Your Own Ruby On Rails Web Applications. I’m more aware of the first (I was the technical reviewer), but Amazon reviewers seem to like the second one too.

The first two URUG members to contact me (and who are willing to write a review to post on our mailing list and/or the google group’s web page) are welcome to them. Just two small points for the not-so-small print—you’ll need to arrange to pick the book up and one book to a URUGer.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Summer Conferences

There are two conferences that I’m not going to be able to go to this summer that I really wish I could find a way to swing: The Erlang eXchange which will be in London on June 26-27 and The Ruby Hoedown in Huntsville, Alabama on August 8-9.

Erlang was a hot, swirling subcurrent at the 2008 MountainWest RubyConf. I get the feeling that there’s going to be a growing culture of cross-over between the Ruby and Erlang worlds. The Erlang eXchange is a two-track conference with a number of great looking talks covering topics like: Erlang D-Trace, Robotics and Erlang, Web programming and AJAX with Erlang, and Erlang Refactoring. The one shining light is that I’m hearing rumors of a Silicon Valley edition of this conference next April.

The Hoedown was a great success last year (check out the videos to see just how cool it was). And this year looks to be a great follow-up. With keynotes by David Black and Chris Wanstrath and talks about mocking, testing, and Ruby best practices, this should be a great way to improve everyone’s Ruby hacking skills.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

The Ruby Programming Language

I may not have posted recently, but I haven’t been completely away. Besides doing another 30 or so miles of hiking with my scouts (getting ready for a three day backpacking trip next weekend) and spending a lot of energy on my day job, I’ve also been spending some time with a couple of books. The first one that I want to tell you about is The Ruby Programming Language

This reworking of the old Ruby in a Nutshell is a huge improvement over the old book. It’s got coverage of 1.8 and 1.9, and features an illustration by why the lucky stiff at the beginning of each chapter. This is not the book that most people will want to use to learn Ruby. For that, I’d still go with either Programming Ruby or Beginning Ruby (see my review of the latter if you’d like).

Chapters Six (Methods, Procs, Lambdas, and Closures) and Eight (Reflection and Metaprogramming) are worth the price of the book alone. These should be required reading for all aspiring Rubyists.

The book as a whole stands as a worthy alternative to David Black’s Ruby For Rails or Hal Fulton’s The Ruby Way—and that’s pretty high praise.