Tommy wrote:

> I am a C++ and Java developer and I would like to have a look at ruby in my 
> spare time.
> 
> I prefer reading a book to reading online docs (when possible) and I usually 
> get bored when the book/tutorial is too slow paced.
> I was thinking about "Programming Ruby" but the reviews seem to suggest it's 
> just a reference for language features. However, looking at the TOC it would 
> appear to be also suitable as a first book on Ruby and it's only 400 pages.
> 
> What do you think?

That's "The Pickaxe Book" - it's a good read. The free version will learn you 
Ruby - all you need to know - and the thick for-pay version is the reference to 
the language's standard library. Get that if you start coding an application.

> Many years ago I bought "Learning Perl" only to realise a couple of days 
> later, when I finished the book, that I needed to buy already "Programming 
> Perl" as Learning Perl was a good introduction, but was very very limited.

My first impression of Perl - which lasted over several years of using it -
is that its author, Larry Wall, must be a very fast & accurate typist.

Ruby has a minimal definition that leads to extremely expressive programs. You 
really don't need to read very much to start using it, and the rest is learning 
how to Google for snapshots of Ruby libraries in action. No book can replace that.

> For now I am more interested in the language than in Rails, so I would try 
> and avoid Ruby on Rails books, but if you think the best introduction to 
> Ruby is a part of a Ruby on Rails book, then I would could consider one.

Look up the expression "Domain Specific Language".

-- 
   Phlip