The Book Of Ruby - free in-depth Ruby eBook
The Book Of Ruby is a free 400-page-plus eBook which will be released one chapter at a time over the next few months. It comes with hundreds of ready-to-run Ruby programs all of which are also supplied as free downloads.
I first started work on The Book Of Ruby over two years ago. The book was, in fact, written in parallel with the development of the Ruby In Steel IDE. To be frank, we felt we needed a comprehensive ‘test suite’ of programs that would explore every facet of Ruby, both its well-travelled highways and its little ‘off-the-beaten-track’ byways, to ensure that our IntelliSense, code colouring and debugging coped well with Ruby in its entirety. A really comprehensive tutorial on Ruby ‘from the ground up’ was the perfect project for exploring the language. And so The Book Of Ruby was born...
I am no newcomer to writing language tutorials. Readers from the UK may already have come across quite a few which I’ve written for computer magazines such as PC Pro, PC Plus and Computer Shopper. I was the Delphi columnist for PC Plus magazine for about ten years. In that time I must have written over 150 or more programming columns and tutorials on the Delphi language alone, each of which came with one or more ready-to-run Delphi projects. At various times, I have also been a Java and a C# columnist. In addition, I’ve written tutorials on languages ranging from Smalltalk to C++ - not forgetting (how could I?) Ruby.
I have fairly fixed views on the writing of language tutorials. In particular, I don’t much care for books based around monolithic projects that start in chapter 1 and continue right through to the end of the book. I do not assume that the reader is going to be fascinated some massive ’pet project’ of mine. Speaking personally, when I follow a tutorial I prefer to ‘dip in’ - find some bits of interesting information, write some code and then move on to something else. The Book Of Ruby is designed to satisfy both readers who wish to follow a structured tutorial that moves logically from A to Z and also those people (like me) who prefer to browse around and try things out.
At the time of writing, there is only one chapter online (well, two if you count the introduction) so the scope for dipping into the book in random order is, I confess, limited. However, more chapters will be put online soon. Each chapter comes with lots of tiny programs so you can just load ‘em up and try ‘em out. Eventually The Book Of Ruby will amount to over 400 pages (I know this for a fact as I have the first draft sitting here on my PC) spread out over 20 chapters. The first couple of chapters cover the basics. Later on I’ll be delving into some pretty obscure stuff too. In the meantime, if you want to move ahead into other topics, bear in mind that we also have The Little Book Of Ruby. This is a complete tutorial that covers most of the fundamental features of Ruby programming albeit it in much less detail than in The Book Of Ruby itself.
I hope you’ll find something of interest.
Impressive initiative as usual, Huw. I’ll mention it in my next ’This Week in Ruby’ post.