This book is the second edition of the PickAxe, as Programming Ruby is known to
Rubyists. It is a tutorial and reference for the Ruby programming language. If you have
the first edition, you’ll find that this version is a significant rewrite.
When Andy and I wrote the first edition, we had to explain the background and appeal
of Ruby. Among other things, we wrote “When we discovered Ruby, we realized that
we’d found what we’d been looking for. More than any other language with which we
have worked, Ruby stays out of your way. Yo
u can concentrate on solving the problem
at hand, instead of struggling with compiler and language issues. That’s how it can help
you become a better programmer: by giving you the chance to spend your time creating
solutions for your users, not for the compiler.”
That belief is even stronger today. Four years later. Ruby is still our language of choice:
I use it for client applications, I use it to run our publishing business, and I use it for all
those little programming jobs I do just to get things running smoothly.
In those four years, Ruby has progressed nicely. A large number of methods have been
added to the built-in classes and modules, and the size of the standard library (those
libraries included in the Ruby distribution) has grown tremendously. The community
now has a standard documentation system (RDoc), and RubyGems may well become
the system of choice for packaging Ruby code for distribution.
This change has been wonderful, but it left the original PickAxe looking a tad dated.
This book remedies that: like its predecessor, it is written for the very latest version of