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Practical Ruby Gems

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 6, 2007

    A reviewer

    Practical Ruby Gems, by David Berube (APress) digs into Rubygems ¿ the Ruby package management system. David presents a quick overview of Rubygems and its usage, then offers an overview of 29 popular gems, and finally shows you how to roll your own. Overall, this is a solid book. The writing is almost alarmingly to the point ¿ think O¿Reilly Pocket Reference style, but it does cover the material reasonably well. There is a pleasant variety in the gems presented, and I saw a few that I wasn¿t aware of (like FastCSV) which will definitely be useful to me. Each gem is presented with a short application that carefully balances meatiness against ease of comprehension. I¿m happy to report that Practical Ruby Gems is fairly well indexed. Some of the more complex gems (like ActiveRecord, FxRuby and Ruby on Rails) are given a very thin treatment, and I think that¿s fair enough, given the format of the book. ActiveRecord, let alone Rails, is large enough to have its own book. Other than that, my only complaint lies in the amateurish page layout. The transition from prose to sample code is delimited with only a change of font, and sample output is separated from code with a simple horizontal rule. This means that my eye must hunt and peck through the page when I¿m skipping around, looking for that particular line of sample code that I need. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a high level overview of what¿s out there in the way of free Ruby libraries. I will also probably refer to the book if and when I roll my own gems.

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