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Ruby is a pretty cool language.
For a start you may want to look at http://www.rubycentral.com/book/index.html which is the first edition of the Programming Ruby book. Obviously Ruby has changed since then (and there is a second edition of that book you can buy) but that and the library documentation should be enough to get you started.
I *lerve* Ruby. Deeply object-oriented, clean syntax, metaprogramming. And if you do web applications, Rail is a beautiful framework -- I used Struts and Hibernate for years, which combined are more or less the Java equivalent of Rails, and Rails is dramatically more pleasant to use.
The link in Msg. 2 is going to a strangely-listed copy, try this one. Programming Ruby is an excellent book; make sure to get the 2nd edition. I do find it useful -- Why's guide is a work or art, but the book is well done and a handy reference (in conjunction with the online API).
Well I only used a touchstone John (I didn't go and check the actual work) and to be fair Andrew Hunt is credited on the cover.
Cheers guys, I'm checking out that book now. A friend of mine is telling me I should be learning python instead, any of you have experience with that language? Is it + turbogears/whatever framework better than ruby on rails for web applications? That's why I'm getting into it.
Yeah I've written in python as well as ruby (and loads of other languages as well). I haven't looked at the python web frameworks although I have read that Django is preferable to TurboGears.
Both python and ruby are more than capable languages. I think ruby is a tad more elegant and there are some things for which ruby is clearly a better langauge to use.
I have played around with Rails and it seems reasonable enough to get something up and running quickly - although it will be a different way of working if you are used to using PHP to create simple web applications.
Sorry andyl, didn't mean to imply anything with the alt-link.
I've written a little Python too (though a lot more Ruby), and agree with all you say, it's nice. I've heard people praise Django -- including David Heinemeier Hansson, the creator Rails -- but I get the feeling that Rails has more momentum. I've built two web sites with Rails (Squirl and Wordie), and love it. It's pretty dramatically different from PHP, as andyl says, though TerrapinJetta, if you've written some Java you might love Ruby right off the bat. It's more elegant, with less overhead, and some LISP-like gems (ie, metaprogramming) thrown in. It's slower, but that rarely matters for web apps.
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