Reviewed by Andrew Monkhouse, July 2006
(9 of 10)
I think this is a great book for someone who already knows a little bit about Ruby to learn how to use it within their heterogeneous environment.
Like most books that develop a continually growing sample application, this book is best read end-to-end. However each section can be read on it's own, allowing the reader to skip to the section most relevant at a given time. Each section has a very clearly defined purpose, and where possible Maik describes multiple ways of achieving a given goal, plus he explains potential pitfalls (all with a gentle humor and easy going style that makes this book a pleasure to read).
This is not a beginner's book -- as identified on the back cover, and in the introductory text -- you are expected to know some Ruby before attempting this book. However writing for a more skilled audience may be the reason for my only complaint: the assumption that the reader will be familiar with how to set up the environment(s) necessary to work through the examples. For example, there is no explanation of how to set up the Oracle tables or data -- even a single sentence stating that SQL scripts could be found on the website would have made this a little more helpful. This is a very minor issue though, and unlikely to cause major problems for most readers.
This is a very good book, and one that I am likely to continually refer to for considerable time.