In my experience, starting to learn programming from (almost) zero 
using Ruby, it has worked so far to start with the pickaxe book and 
read and work through it from beginning to end.  Then I read and worked 
through Teach Yourself Ruby in 21 Days.  Then I went back to the 
pickaxe book and re-read and worked through the parts that are most 
relevant to me now.  I found that my understanding of the pickaxe book 
was much much deeper the second time through.  I still have work to do 
in using both books to teach myself more.

For "big-picture" object-oriented concepts, I have started with UML 
Explained and UML Distilled.  I don't know if these two were the right 
way to go, but I know I will understand them better over time.  If 
someone can recommend additional "big-picture" books, that would be 
great.  So far, my possible candidates are the Larman book and Design 
Patterns Explained, but I'm sure there are others.  The problem with 
all of these books, however, is that when they give concrete 
programming examples they use Java (or the like) and not Ruby!

I think the two possible upcoming books on Ruby for the absolute 
beginner and Ruby for children are extraordinarily good ideas and I 
hope to see them soon.

By the way, I love Ruby!

On Saturday, November 30, 2002, at 01:40 PM, 
dblack / candle.superlink.net wrote:

> Hi --
>
> On Sun, 1 Dec 2002, Daniel Carrera wrote:
>
>>> I feel a little frustrated with Ruby's documentation. I like the
>>> companion book "The Pragmatic Programmer". However, it is apparently 
>>> not
>>> good enough to be a online manual. May be because I'm completely new 
>>> to
>>> Ruby.
>>
>> I am completely new to Ruby, and I echo your frustration.  There 
>> should be
>> a book intended to introduce Ruby to newbies.
>
> Have you looked at "Teach Yourself Ruby in 21 Days" (from Sams)?
>
>> I'd also like to see a book for people who don't know OO. I've 
>> programmed
>> for several years, but I don't know OO.  Ruby is my first OO 
>> language.  I
>> find that the current book jumps into classes before it's covered the
>> basics like flow-control, functions and variables.  I still figured it
>> out, but it was harder than it could have been.  It also starts on
>> iterators before explaining more basic syntas.  The 'Class#method' 
>> syntax
>> and a couple other things are not explained either.
>>
>> There could be a chapter or two for people who simply have never
>> programmed before.  There's nothing wrong with starting classes sooner
>> than you would in another language, but it still should come after 
>> more
>> basic things.
>
> To go from never having programmed, to a full understanding of
> everything in the Pickaxe book, would require more than you could get
> from a couple of introductory chapters added to the book.  However...
> the idea of having first-time programmer books that use Ruby is a good
> one.  I believe there's at least one such book among the 23 Japanese
> books on Ruby, and I know there's been discussion of doing such a
> thing in English (as well as related things, like a book along those
> lines specifically targeted at children), but I'm not sure who's
> working on what right now.
>
>
> David
>
> -- 
> David Alan Black
> home: dblack / candle.superlink.net
> work: blackdav / shu.edu
> Web:  http://pirate.shu.edu/~blackdav
>
>