The book Programming Ruby, also commonly referred to as “the pickaxe book,” is widely regarded in the Ruby community as a must-have. Unfortunately, it doesn’t really meet my expectations. You can find parts of the book online, so you can see for yourself what I’m talking about.
Take a look at the chapter on Basic Input and Output. Let’s say you want to open a new text file and direct your output to that file. This seems pretty basic, and you’d expect to see it explained in a chapter that purports to cover input and output. On this seemingly important topic, readers are given one sentence and no examples:
The same methods that we’ve been using for “simple” I/O are available for all file objects.
Perhaps I am an atypical computer book consumer. If I’m in a hurry to get something done (and I’m always in a hurry), I find the right chapter in the book and skim the code samples to find one that illustrates how to do what I want to do, then I read the surrounding text. I’m not interested in reading the full chapter and drawing inferences, especially in cases like this where I know how to accomplish the same task in about ten other programming languages and I just need to know the syntax. Anyway, here’s the missing example:
f = File.open(“mynewfile.txt”, “w”) f.puts(“a line of text”) f.close
How difficult was that?