sudo apt-get installaway. Pine also provides a couple of online resources and, I presume as a last resort, he put his email address on the final page of the chapter. As my last resort, I Googled "ruby forums" and discovered there's quite a bit more online than listed in Chapter 15. Once you get to this point in the book, explore the "interwebs". Of course, there are always other books after this one, depending on where you want to go next (Pragmatic's list of Ruby and other programming books is found after the index in this book). I noticed that there was no accompanying CD/DVD, which didn't break my heart, but there was also no website listed in the book to support what the author has written. In other words, there's no place (at least no place stated) to go to get the code samples used by Pine, and being able to download a book's code samples from the web is fairly standard for programming books. I thought about this for a second and realized there was nothing really lost here. First off, the code used in the book isn't incredibly long or complex, so the reader doesn't have to keyboard his or her fingers to the nubs performing the exercises. Second, the only way to learn to code is to code, so it's good practice for the reader to write each program listed to hone their newborn skills. Since this book started out as an online tutorial, I did wonder though if Pine had maintained anything online to augment his writing? The answer (though not in the book) is found at The Pragmatic Books for this book. Probably the most valuable resource is the Discussion Forums for this book. There, readers have already asked questions and the author is quite interactive with them. What I came away with is a basic understanding of the principles of programming, which I recognized from other languages. I also came away with an interest in learning more Ruby. It's actually a pretty good language for learning programming, which I hadn't previously considered. It's also in wide use in the industry and who hasn't heard of Ruby on Rails (though the "rails" part is yet to come)? Regardless of your motivation for learning basic programming, I think Chris Pine's book does a fine job as an introduction. It's basic, fast, and funny, and while not revolutionary, Learn to Program will definitely get you started in the right direction.
Friday, May 15, 2009
Learn to Program, 2nd Ed: A Book Review