Reviewed by Jason Menard, February 2006
(7 of 10)
As a newcomer to Ruby, one of the first things that struck me was the overall simplicity and clarity of the language. I couldn't help thinking that Ruby could serve as an excellent language to teach programming fundamentals. Chris Pine's "Learning to Program" tackles that very task. The latest title in the Pragmatic Programmers Facets of Ruby series, "Learn to Program" arms the reader with the basic skills and concepts required to write their own computer programs using the Ruby language.
"Learn to Program" is written for those who have little to no experience programming. It is a fine introduction for the person who has never written a single line of code. It's no Dummies book though, and a degree of familiarity with computers is a prerequisite for getting the most out of the book. Pine never tells us exactly who his audience is, but it would certainly be suitable for the college student, technically minded adult or gifted high school student.
While an argument could be made as to whether or not every vital Ruby feature was covered. I would conclude that every feature required to get the beginner writing code was presented. It's important when evaluating this book to keep in mind that its purpose is to teach programming and not to teach the reader how to become a master with the Ruby language. "Learn to Program" is a fine introduction to programming and demonstrates that Ruby is well suited for this task.