REVIEW - Making Use of Ruby


Making Use of Ruby


Suresh Mahadevan




John Wiley & Sons (2003)




Giles Moran


December 2003



This is a gentle introduction to the Ruby scripting language. For those who haven't heard about Ruby, it's an object oriented scripting language developed by Yukihiro Matsumoto of Japan in the mid nineties. Ruby is very popular in Japan, but there's not a lot on the web about it when compared to say, Python. The elegance and clarity of the syntax is much vaunted but it still has its share of odd syntax. More information can be found at

The book is very short, standing at 216 pages (including index and appendix) and employs a very large font, which reduces the amount of information on each page. There are enough typos to make reading hazardous (the regular expression section suffers especially) and indentation of code examples is inconsistent at best. The book has an ongoing theme of implementing a web package for a hypothetical book company augmenting chapters on classes, io, etc. The trouble is that half of the chapter is taken with this single example case and there's not enough detail on the syntax given.

Once you've read this book, if you like the look of Ruby, you will need a reference straight away. There's not enough information in the book to make it remotely usable. The book also dwells on the simple stuff like loops and if statements for too long, while skipping a lot of the more demanding/interesting detail in later chapters.

You can do some fairly interesting stuff with Ruby. Access to threads seems straightforward. You can build GUIs using Tk.

You can also embed Ruby into HTML using eRuby. I'm sure there's a lot more, but I need a better book to enlighten me.

Book cover image courtesy of Open Library.