Programming Ruby: The Pragmatic Programmer’s Guide

ISBN: 0201710897
ISBN 13: 9780201710892
By: Dave Thomas Andrew Hunt

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Reader's Thoughts

Ms. Jen

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. Still beautiful.But Ruby on Rails can be a bit troublesome, opinionated, and locked into the framework. Don't get me started on deployment. Makes PHP look downright friendly.Good book to get you started by experts in Rails.


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.


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.

Jaret Manuel

Better for the more advanced programmer / Rubyist. Avoid if you are new to Programming and Ruby. Awesome reference versus tutorial.This book is all over the map.


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 Ruby language and (b) A nice reference to put beside your desk. Overall, a very readable book on Ruby.


This is the bible of ruby and a must read for any new ruby developer. I read it after working in ruby for about 4 years and still found quite a few awesome new things.


Great first part, but quick reference for main classes is obsolete in world of Ruby docs

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: the book (or at least it's ebook version) has quite a few typos, especially in Part 4.

Angus McDonald

Great reference work that also manages to be a good introduction to the language itself. Not the bets place for Ruby on Rails, but an essential addition to your Ruby library.


This is a great book to have on hand if you want to go beyond the basics of Ruby. I have not read it page to page but use it more as a reference.

Amar Pai

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?!


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.

Piotr Zurek

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 until you need something specific from it.If you know a bit about Ruby and programming in general you may simply refer to specific chapters for help in understanding specific topics. The chapter on metaprogramming is a doozy. :-)


Required reference for a Ruby programmer. Required learning material for a ruby-newbie.

Joe Martin

"Programming Ruby: The Pragmatic Programmers' Guide, Second Edition by Dave Thomas (2004)"

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