Beginning Ruby: From Novice to Professional

Author: Peter Cooper
Publisher: Apress, 2009 (2nd Edition)
Pages: 656
ISBN: 978-1430223634
Aimed at: Those with programming experience moving to Ruby
Rating: 3
Pros: Covers Ruby plus its wider context
Cons: Doesn't deal sufficiently with the basics
Reviewed by: Mike James

This isn't just a book on learning Ruby; it's about the wider world of Ruby. As such it covers a lot of ground in a relatively few pages. It starts off with the basic beginner's material - variables, classes, flow of control and so on. This is all over in 100 pages and even in this section the author can't help but discuss the history of Ruby and its "environment". Personally I would have preferred a more logical and steady introduction to the basics. A real beginner is going to have trouble finding out how to program in the few pages dedicated to it. On the other hand if you already have a rough idea of flow of control and variables this is an adequate introduction to the way that Ruby does things.

Part Two dives into "core Ruby" by which the author means objects, modules, debugging, testing, files, database, deployment and so on. The final chapter in the section develops an example web bot.

Part Three specializes in Ruby online, some would say Ruby's natural application. However rather than concentrate on Rails the book deals with the wider issues - sockets, HTTP, email and then, unusually because it isn't really an online topic, and not something Ruby is currently very good at goes off into building GUI applications. The book rounds off with a reference section on Ruby gems and a few reference appendices.

This isnt' a complete beginner's book because it doesn't spend long enough on the fundamentals. It also isn't just an introduction to the Ruby programming language but to all of the additional technologies that surround it and to what it is used for.  If you are looking for this sort of introduction then this is a good choice. It would also serve as an introduction to the slightly more advanced The Ruby Programming Language or to  Programming Ruby: The Pragmatic Programmer's Guide both of which provide better guides to the language.

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Codermetrics: Analytics for Improving Software Teams

Author: Jonathan Alexander
Publisher: O'Reilly
Pages: 262
ISBN: 978-1449305154
Aimed at: Anyone who wants to measure programmer performance objectively
Rating: 4
Pros: Readable and reasonably convincing
Cons: Based on distilled experience of a single person
Reviewed by: Mike James

A book is about finding "o [ ... ]



HTML5 Canvas (2nd ed)

Author: Steve & Jeff Fulton
Publisher: O'Reilly, 2013
Pages: 750 
ISBN: 978-1449334987
Aimed at: JavaScript programmers
Rating: 4
Reviewer: Ian Elliot

This is a big book and you can't help but wonder why it has so much to say about Canvas - which is a fairly simple graphics subsystem.  [ ... ]


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