Found in 10 comments on Hacker News
Argorak · 2014-08-13 · Original thread
"The Ruby Programming Language" by Flanagan and Matsumoto may not have that as it's main goal, but gives a very good overview on why features are how they are and even gives some advice from the creator of the language himself and some commentary on them (e.g. flip-flops are considered an implementation oddity kept around for backwards compat).

I think it's the most relevant Ruby book, because it documents the basic thinking and mental approach of the language, which is actually very stable.

Denzel · 2013-07-20 · Original thread
Well, first of all, you aren't reading the Ruby source to understand Rails' idiosyncrasies, you're reading the Ruby source to understand Ruby's idiosyncrasies applied to Rails.

Secondly, this article is far more verbose than necessary when compared to the succinct 5-paragraph explanation provided by David Flanagan in "The Ruby Programming Language" p. 69-70 [1]

It's great that you took a chance to dive into the source of Ruby. Nonetheless, it's times like these when I wish people would understand that the best way to learn a programming language is by example AND by documentation (whether official docs or books). Those that ONLY learn by example fail to understand or unlock the true power of a language until it's too late.


JonnieCache · 2012-06-05 · Original thread
The Ruby Programming Language by David Flanagan and Yukihiro Matsumoto (Matz)

Know the fundamentals.

nvarsj · 2011-06-22 · Original thread
Pickaxe is pretty awful for learning Ruby. I also did not have a great experience with it. My favorite Ruby book is
billturner · 2009-11-09 · Original thread
Rails is such a fast moving target that keeping totally updated books on the shelves is probably just as frustrating for the book publishers as for those wanting up-to-date books.

That said, the Pragmatic Programmer's book Agile Development with Rails is a pretty good intro:

But, with Rails 3 (with many changes) coming in the next few months, books are going to become outdated yet again.

As for Ruby in general, the fairly recent The Ruby Programming Language ( is a pretty good intro. David Black's The Well-Grounded Rubyist ( is recent, and I'm sure a great book, as his previous (Ruby for Rails) was excellent.

jhancock · 2009-09-24 · Original thread
"The Ruby Programming Language" highly recommended.
jhancock · 2009-08-15 · Original thread
If your new web app isn't too complex to get bootstrapped, you will learn better if you choose a light framework: ruby - Merb or Sinatra, python - webpy, etc...

One of the reasons you see so much disappointment with ruby is people start with rails and that doesn't really help you become a good ruby programmer. It may actually teach you bad habits and keep you from knowing how the language and http requests, and db requests really work (none of which is that complicated).

I use ruby over python. Mainly because I picked it up first and don't have a good reason to switch. I use merb as my framework, which is a fine choice, but if I had to start again, I might go with Sinatra.

If you do go with Ruby, buy this book: The Ruby Programming Language

I have seen no text that comes close to this new book in teaching Ruby.

jballanc · 2009-01-23 · Original thread
Nice and thorough. I only have two qualms:

1. Reading through the Matz book on Ruby (, there's a very good explanation as to why Ruby/Python/Perl are "scripting" languages as opposed to "programming" languages: no main! That is, whichever file is fed to the interpreter is run (with some exceptions) in order. So these are, and probably always will be, scripting languages.

2. The author vastly underestimates the importance of Javascript...

jjburka · 2008-07-26 · Original thread
I second the Rails Way book , its a great book thats easy to follow and organized. For learning Ruby I found to be great
raghus · 2008-02-29 · Original thread
If this is the book that's being referred to: then Flanagan's co-author was... Matz.

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