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Eloquent Ruby (Addison-Wesley Professional Ruby Series)

Russ Olsen · 6 HN comments
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Amazon Summary
It’s easy to write correct Ruby code, but to gain the fluency needed to write great Ruby code, you must go beyond syntax and absorb the “Ruby way” of thinking and problem solving. In Eloquent Ruby, Russ Olsen helps you write Ruby like true Rubyists do–so you can leverage its immense, surprising power. Olsen draws on years of experience internalizing the Ruby culture and teaching Ruby to other programmers. He guides you to the “Ah Ha!” moments when it suddenly becomes clear why Ruby works the way it does, and how you can take advantage of this language’s elegance and expressiveness. Eloquent Ruby starts small, answering tactical questions focused on a single statement, method, test, or bug. You’ll learn how to write code that actually looks like Ruby (not Java or C#); why Ruby has so many control structures; how to use strings, expressions, and symbols; and what dynamic typing is really good for. Next, the book addresses bigger questions related to building methods and classes. You’ll discover why Ruby classes contain so many tiny methods, when to use operator overloading, and when to avoid it. Olsen explains how to write Ruby code that writes its own code–and why you’ll want to. He concludes with powerful project-level features and techniques ranging from gems to Domain Specific Languages. A part of the renowned Addison-Wesley Professional Ruby Series, Eloquent Ruby will help you “put on your Ruby-colored glasses” and get results that make you a true believer.
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I actually recommend strongly against this book. It teaches things new people to Rails, let alone people new to programming, don't need to be messing with so early on. I'm mainly talking about the use of RSpec and some of the outdated Rails idioms.

For myself and a few people I've mentored, Agile Web Development with Rails[0] has yielded much better results. If they follow that up with Eloquent Ruby[1] they will be golden and well ahead of their peers with similar experience.

This book single-handedly breeds the "I'm a Rails Programmer!" that write terribly awful Ruby code that we all know and hate.

I don't mean to discredit Michael's hard work. Writing and maintaining a book like this is a huge achievement that I'm probably not capable of. I also appreciate that his book is at least bringing people into the Rails ecosystem. I just can't recommend it over others.

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yeah i wasn't too fond of the use of non-omakase stuff but i believe that is now resolved

"100% default stack. The 3rd edition of the Ruby on Rails Tutorial uses the default Rails choices for all relevant technologies, thereby substantially reducing the configuration necessary to get started. The excellent but syntactically heavy RSpec testing framework has been replaced with the default Rails testing stack (MiniTest), making for a much gentler introduction to testing than in previous editions."

This is good to hear. I'm glad to see RSpec removed. A better example site than a microblog would be an even better step in the right direction. Learning to program via building social website clones needs to stop. I've called out all the Developer Bootcamps that do that kind of teaching, too.
Eloquent Ruby is an excellent book for beginners.

If you just want to learn some basics of Ruby without diving into an entire book, check out Ruby Monk. All of the tutorials are interactive:

I can give you my personal path I took when learning a few years ago if you don't mind starting with rails.

Start with Michael Hartl's Rails Tutorial [1]. I went through the rails 3 version with zero knowledge of ruby and you should feel very comfortable with the basics when you are done.

After that I read The Well-Grounded Rubyist [2]. Having used some ruby now I found the book easy to get into. It's a little dated but should still cover everything you need at this point.

Lastly I read Eloquent Ruby [3]. I highly recommend this book and is easily my favorite programing book.




So, before you start with learning Rails, I recommend learning HTML/CSS. It shouldn't take more than two weeks to get a basic understanding, and by doing that you avoid the huge hassle of building a web app while barely scraping by with the formatting. Also, you might want to drop both learning javascript and vim, because you can build a solid web app without js, and it's very hard to learn multiple dissimilar things at once.

After that, a great resource is, and codeschool in general. It's a series of incredibly well made video presentations, which you are then tested on. Once/before you finish that, you should work on actually building an application, maybe following

Once you have finished that, you are well on your way to proficiency, and probably have enough understanding of rails to build your application. Some great resources are,, and

If you have done that, and you still want to learn more, then I would learn more about javascript, and read The Rails 3 Way: Finally to learn more about Ruby, read Eloquent Ruby:

Once you have done that, you should have a pretty solid grounding in Ruby, Rails, and web development in general.

I've went through rails for zombies. Second thing i went through after poignant.

Was following Nettuts suggested method:

Incidentally I met Obie Fernandez in person :D at the Red Dot Ruby Conference in Singapore he sent me a pdf version of his book :D

I'll try out eloquent ruby, maybe after the pickaxe.

I can't speak specifically to how idiomatic it is as I've yet to read it, but I've heard recommended a few times.
Good for you. I've started working with Ruby and RoR about three weeks ago now, also from PHP. These are some of the the things I've read/watched to get a grasp on the whole:

Why's Poignent Guide To Ruby

I found the RailsCasts invaluable. It's great to just see someone code stuff, instead of finished examples:

Read every one of the Rails guides:

I started reading Russ Olsen's Eloquent Ruby yesterday, which is absolutely awesome. I'm already half way trough. Wish he could rewrite every programming book I ever read.

It felt really daunting at first, because it seems there's so much new stuff to learn (Ruby, Rails, Passenger/Phusion, Gems, Capistrano, RVM, Rake, db migrations, etc etc). But hang in there. As I said, I started only a couple of weeks ago and already feel like I never want to go back.

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