Now that I’ve complained enough about Java and Ruby this week, I figured we’d wrap it all up with what is apparently “the Ruby book”. In the same sense that Perl programmers have the Camel book, Ruby has the Pickaxe book. It provides a great intro to Ruby’s features and dedicates half the book to the standard library, which I earlier claimed without evidence was essential to knowing a language. But there’s some other gems that make this book worthwhile to get (and if you’re a Ruby programmer, necessary).
A lot of the value I find in this book comes from the various arguments made in the book. I didn’t really see the value in dynamic typing or duck typing until the (very well-made) arguments were thrown right at me. These alone made the book worthwhile to me, and having the PDF makes it super-easy to scan the standard library reference for the various methods and class names (etc. etc.).
There’s really not too much to say about the book: it’s a great intro to Ruby and seems to cover all the main features. The overview is great and gives a lot of general usage, and once you’re actually using Ruby the standard library reference becomes invaluable. Again, a lot of that owes to having the PDF, so if you don’t have it, Google becomes your best friend (as if it weren’t already).
So if you’re looking for a new language to learn and haven’t picked up Ruby yet, go for it! Grab this book and the Rails book I covered a while ago and get a good head start on it. And if you do, let me know if my Java v. Ruby comparison holds any water.