Ruby on Rails
Ta-da List


October 04, 16:22

The new Programming Ruby is a must have!

The generosity of the Pragmatic Programmers shined once again at RubyConf as the first 50 attendees was bestowed a copy of the new Programming Ruby book (PickAxe II among friends). Considering the enormous impact of the first edition, people were school-girl giddy about getting their hands on this much anticipated tome.

I didn't have much time to look at it during the actual conference, but on the flight home I gave it a good thorough look. And "holy wow", to borrow an expression. I had high expectations, but Dave Thomas and company has really blown those away.

First of all, the book is huge: 800 pages in total. It contains a great introduction to the language itself, to good techniques such as unit testing and duck typing, over tutorials to RDoc and RubyGems. On top of that is a complete reference to all the 900 methods included in the 48 built-in classes. And of top of that is a fantastic overview of the about 100 classes in the standard library.

Mind you, both the reference and the standard library is original work done mostly by Dave Thomas. This is not just a lame reprint of an already existing standard library documentation done by others (which seems to be really in-vogue for PHP books to republish

And all the material from the first edition has been tweaked, rewritten, and expanded to account for time and the new major version. As an example of it's greatness, I gained at least ten new important insights about that language and libraries in the few hours I spent flipping through. And I live and breathe Ruby for hours and hours each day.

In short: You need this book! Whether you're a Ruby veteran, neophyte, or just puzzled observer of all this Ruby raving. This is it. This is the book you want. I'd also really recommend that you get the Book + PDF combination. You the dead-tree version to lean back to read the longer chapters and use the PDF while programming Ruby at the screen.

So let me just finish off with:

Buy Programming Ruby, 2nd Edition

(...or I'll be terribly disappointed with you)

Challenge by Drew McLellan on October 04, 16:53

Ha - like we haven't picked it up already :)

I opted for the PDF version - it's searchtastic.

Challenge by Guan Yang on October 04, 17:50

Is the PDF+book combo worth it? It seems to be that HTML would be better for a reference work like this.

Challenge by David Heinemeier Hansson on October 04, 19:32

If you're on OS X, then the PDF is quite nice as a reference work since searching works so very well. Also, the PDF isn't bogged down with all sorts of lame DRM, so you can extract the electronic content anyway you like (for personal use).

Challenge by rubino on October 04, 19:53

What the heck's "duck typing"? Do you mean "duct taping"?

Challenge by Sascha Ebach on October 04, 22:20


got it the moment it was announced for preordering. Can't wait for it to arrive. I already have the pdf but I want to make love to the printed copy first. Maybe I just have a short look into the uni testing chapter. Heard good things about it.

Challenge by Rubyfan on October 04, 23:24

That 'make love to the printed copy' bit sounds rather messy...

I got my copy on Friday. So far it looks great with lots of new material. Run, don't walk, to the PragProgrammer's website and order a copy if you haven't. Order two and give one to a programming friend.

Challenge by Jonas on October 09, 15:49

Is there any reason to order this from the PP instead of Amazon? The latter is no less than $15 cheaper... (apart from the fact that they don't have it in stock yet)

Challenge by David Heinemeier Hansson on October 09, 15:55

The Pragmatic Programmers get a much larger chunk of the money if you go through their site as far as I understand.