An important part of “keeping up” as a programmer is learning new skills. And while the Pickaxe book is great to get a feel for Ruby and to have a nice little reference by your side, there’s no replacement for experience. Enter the Best of Ruby Quiz, a collection of weekly programming challenges from the web site of the same name. But how does the book compare? Read on!
So you already know from the opening bit that the book is a collection of programming challenges from the site. So why buy the book? Well, the book picks the author’s favorite 25 quizzes and expands on both the material for the question and the answer. Most of the quizzes I’ve seen have multiple answers presented, and the answers themselves take great advantage of Ruby’s features. That means if you’re still learning Ruby (like I am), then the simplicity of the answers isn’t immediately comprehensible. Presumably if you know Ruby the greatness of the solution stands out, but I have yet to know.
You’re still very good off if you just pick one quiz off the site every week and do it. You still learn a lot, but you just don’t get the nice package feel of the book and PDF (which I’m inclined to like). I’m still working through the book, and so far I like the variety of the quizzes. One quiz I would have liked to see is theMarkov Chain quiz, but I suspect it’s not in the book since a Markov Chain is not as easily explained as the other quizzes.
Another great thing about this book is that, although Ruby is in the title, these quizzes can really be applied to any programming language. If you want to learn any programming language, you need to do it through experience, and this book (or the site) is a great way to do it. You can check out the book’s site on the earlier link to see which quizzes the book has (and has expanded on) if it’s something you want to pick up, but I say either the book or the site are good areas to check out.