During the mid– and late–1980s I was was working in C and eventually C++. During that period I devoured any programming book I could get my hands on. My favorites were very practical books––those books that built real, working examples. Herb Schildt and Al Stevens were the best at this. I’ve often wished for such books on the newer languages as I learn them. Brian Marick has given us exactly this type of book with his “Everyday Scripting with Ruby.”
I’m one of those programmers who read a little bit about Ruby and was only mildly intrigued until I read about Rails. Once I read about Rails I just dove in–I didn’t bother to learn much Ruby, only looking something up in “Programming Ruby” when I couldn’t figure it out by trial and error. I became proficient enough at getting things done in Rails but certainly didn’t have a solid, comfortable feeling for Ruby itself. This book fills in those gaps for me. This is the Ruby book I wish I’d read first.
“Everyday Scripting with Ruby” covers four very real–life small projects, each of a decent size. The projects are small enough that you don’t need to remember every detail from the prior 100 pages but are big enough that you can learn real lessons from them. This is absolutely the best beginner book on Ruby available.