Sebastopol, CA--As a programmer and self-styled "programming-language geek," Yukihiro "Matz" Matsumoto knew what made him happy while programming, and he designed Ruby with those elements in mind. "Ruby was developed for the purpose of making programming both enjoyable and fast," Matsumoto explains. "I based the language on an object-oriented paradigm, provided a solid feature set including exceptions, iterators, etcetera, and made sure to keep things consistent and balanced." The result of his efforts is an absolutely pure object-oriented scripting language that combines the strengths and capabilities of all the popular scripting languages, and is recognized for its elegance and power.
While its roots are in Japan, Ruby is gradually gaining ground in the US, where programmers have eagerly awaited an English version of Matsumoto's original guide to the language. First published in Japanese as an O'Reilly pocket reference, Ruby in a Nutshell, by Matsumoto (US $24.95) has been expanded and packed full of discussions, examples, and code to take its place among O'Reilly's acclaimed Nutshell books. "Any programmer who uses Ruby will want to have this book on his or her desktop," says Matsumoto. "Although Ruby is not a complex language, it comes with a sizable class library. No one can memorize all the methods in the library, therefore, this book is the best companion when you program in Ruby."
According to Matsumoto, Ruby has gained its reputation as an especially elegant language because it was designed from the beginning to support object-oriented programming. For example, everything in Ruby is an object; there's no exception. "I've developed what I call the 'principle of least surprise,'" Matsumoto explains. "All the features in Ruby are designed to work exactly as ordinary programmers expect them to work."
With Ruby in a Nutshell, Matsumoto offers a practical reference to the features of this new language including the command-line options, syntax, built-in variables, functions, and many commonly used classes and modules. The book is based on Ruby version 1.6.5, but its contents will remain applicable to future versions of Ruby as well. Chapter 6, "Ruby Updates" covers the changes to be included in the next stable release, Version 1.8.
Ruby finds its power through its built-in libraries, and this helpful guide will lead programmers through the many useful libraries that come with the standard Ruby distribution--from network access via HTTP and CGI programming, to data persistence using the DBM library. The book concludes with coverage of the unique tools that come with Ruby, including the debugger, profiler, and irb (or Interactive Ruby.) Programmers will find Ruby in a Nutshell to be a concise and thorough reference that they will want to keep close at hand while working with Ruby.
An Introduction to Ruby, by Colin Steele, is available on the O'Reilly Network.
An excerpt from Chapter 4, Standard Library Reference, is available free online.
More information about the book, including Table of Contents, index, author bio, and samples.
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