You don't have to know everything about a car to drive one, and you don't need to know everything about Ruby to start programming with it. Written for both experienced and new programmers alike, "Learning Ruby" is a just-get-in-and-drive book - a hands-on tutorial that offers lots of Ruby programs and lets you know how and why they work, just enough to get you rolling down the road. Interest in Ruby stems from the popularity of Rails, the web development framework that's attracting new devotees and refugees from Java and PHP. But there are plenty of other uses for this versatile language. The best way to learn is to just try the code! You'll find examples on nearly every page of this book that you can imitate and hack.
Briefly, this book: outlines many of the most important features of Ruby; demonstrates how to use conditionals, and how to manipulate strings in Ruby; includes a section on regular expressions; describes how to use operators, basic math, functions from the Math module, rational numbers, etc; talks you through Ruby arrays, and demonstrates hashes in detail; explains how to process files with Ruby; discusses Ruby classes and modules (mixins) in detail, including a brief introduction to object-oriented programming (OOP). It also introduces processing XML, the Tk toolkit, RubyGems, reflection, RDoc, embedded Ruby, metaprogramming, exception handling, and other topics, and acquaints you with some of the essentials of Rails, and includes a short Rails tutorial. Each chapter concludes with a set of review questions, and appendices provide you with a glossary of terms related to Ruby programming, plus reference material from the book in one convenient location. If you want to take Ruby out for a drive, "Learning Ruby" holds the keys.