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Book Review: Ruby Pocket Reference by Michael Fitzgerald

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It’s a little thing, this Ruby Pocket Reference, but it's also a mighty big thing if you are working with the Ruby language. Ruby is an easy language to learn, but when you are down in the trenches  and, especially, when you are far from home, its nice having this little reference book close by. It can be very important indeed!

The Ruby Pocket Reference, 170 pages in length and a little larger than 6 by 4 inches, breaks down into logical categories that I have listed below. The explanations and examples are concise and to the point, covering the Ruby language in detail and giving good descriptions of the main concepts and points – and as such, it is organized very well.

If you own Fitzgerald's book, Learning Ruby, the pocket reference is the perfect companion as a light weight tag-a-long. It also has some things not found in other books – some that Windows users might find handy, such as how to associate the .rb file type with the Ruby interpreter. This can allow you to launch scripts from the command line within Windows. Since it is fully indexed, it is really easy to find what you need quickly. It also has a glossary for less common terms as well as a link to online Ruby resources.

Ruby Pocket Reference is a handy guide, is small and lightweight, can fit in a laptop bag, or even your back pocket. While Ruby is a very easy language to learn, this isn't the book to learn it with, but it is the book to keep with you when you are working with Ruby. It is geared both for someone who is new to the language and wants a quick referenced, as well as for the more experienced user who moves in many contexts such as Ruby, HTML, XML Java, JavaScript, etc., and needs to clarify a certain point quickly.

    Ruby Pocket Reference Sections

    Running Ruby
    Reserved Words
    Operators
    Comments
    Numbers
    Variables
    Symbols
    Predefined Variables
    Pseudovariables
    Global Constants
    Ranges
    Conditional Statements

    Classes
    Files
    The IO Class
    Exception Handling
    Object Class
    Kernel Module
    String Class
    Array Class
    Hash Class
    Time Formatting Directives
    Interactive Ruby
    Ruby Debugger
    Ruby Documentation
    RDoc Options
    Ruby Gems
    Rake
    Ruby Resources
    Glossary
    Index
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About T. Michael Testi

Photographer, writer, software engineer, educator, and maker of fine images.