Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Review - Eloquent Ruby

The system management/administration team that I work on is starting to do more scripting and tool building.  That means bringing a bunch of people up to speed on Ruby.  We're using a combination of the Pickaxe Book and pair programming/mentoring to help bootstrap people.  So far it's been working pretty well.
Watching everyone else reading and learning made me want to get in on the action.  Fortunately, there's a new book out from Russ Olsen (@russolsen) — Eloquent Ruby.  I had the opportunity to interview Russ (look for it to show up soon) about his book, and Addison-Wesley was kind enough to send me a copy of it.
Eloquent Ruby is primarily aimed at people coming to Ruby from other languages.  It aims to explore and explain the idioms common to our community, and I think it does a great job of it.
It will serve current rubyists well too.  I learned several things from it as I read, and cemented other concepts as well.  Some of the book's explanations have crept their way into discussions about Ruby here at work.  It's good stuff.
Section One, on basics, is a rich source of little gems that will help you use Ruby's built in classes more effectively.  Section Two, on modules and classes, helps you build better classes of your own.  Section Three, which covers meta-programming, dives into an oft discussed but underused side of Ruby to push your Ruby-fu to the limit.  Section Four covers a variety of things that either don't fit into the other sections or build on concepts from them.
With this book, Russ has hit another one out of the park.  Go grab a copy for yourself.
If you're interested inDesign Patterns in Ruby  you can read my review here.  You can also read a previous interview with Russ.

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