NOTE:This blog had a good run, but is now in retirement.
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Full Book Now Available For Free!

2010-03-17 16:50, written by Gregory Brown

The last few weeks have been a wild ride. Starting in January, I’ve been releasing a chapter at a time here on the RBP blog, and many of those chapters were pretty well commented on. Just for the sake of completeness, here’s a link back to each of those posts:

At this point, I’d like to invite you to just grab the whole thing and read it at your leisure. This includes the final chapter “Skillful Project Maintenance”, as well as the three appendixes: “Writing Backwards Compatible Code”, “Leveraging Ruby’s Standard Library”, and “Ruby Worst Practices”.

Since the book is now open source, if you find something you don’t like about it, it’s your responsibility to help make it better! But if you do like it as it is, it might be more pleasant to read in print or on your Kindle, so you might want to pick it up from O’Reilly or Amazon.

Manuscript and Production Files

You can find the details about the manuscript and production files on github, now released under a Creative Commons license. It might be a little while before I can put some time into making this contributor friendly, but those looking to experiment or explore a bit are certainly welcome. The manuscript is written using the amazing asciidoc toolchain, which means the plaintext files you see in the git repository actually are what I used to generate something very close to the final print version of RBP.

So that’s pretty much it. While this will soon mark a new beginning, this figuratively and literally marks the last chapter in the history of RBP being “my book”. It’s yours now, do what you want with it. If you have interesting ideas that you want to run by me, I’d be happy to help however I can. Otherwise, enjoy and have fun!

But I finished the RBP book and I want more! What should I do?

Okay, you got me. I’ve been trying to take the “spirit” of RBP and apply it to two new projects, both a little more interactive in nature. For those who enjoyed the book, you may be interested in these two resources, both on the horizon.

The first is rubyproblems.com. This site will provide realistic exercises that test your Ruby and general coding skills, along with detailed tutorials written in the style of RBP explaining possible solutions to the problems. The exercises will be free and open to everyone, the solutions we’ll be selling as nicely typeset, professionally edited, DRM-free PDF downloads. We launch April 6th, 2010, but if you register now, you’ll get a free solution download when the site goes live. Whether you plan on buying content or not, the exercises themselves should provide great learning opportunities. If you liked RBP, you’ll definitely like Ruby Problems.

The second chance to bolster what you’ve learned in RBP is to attend a Compleat Rubyist training event. This is a joint venture between David A. Black, Jeremy McAnally, and myself that’s designed to provide a crash course in going from “knowing Ruby” to “being awesome at Ruby”. We did one of these in Tampa, FL in January, and it was blast. Our next one is scheduled for the Chicago area on June 18-19. We plan to do this as a regular thing, so if you can’t make it out to the Midwest, let us know where we should be going to find you! If you want a little more detail, you can check out my RubyTalk announcement about the upcoming event, and perhaps take a look at the Tampa retrospective here on the RBP blog.

Disclaimer

While I typically hate direct marketing, I am absolutely excited about the above two things, and so I felt compelled to mention them as good ‘next steps’ as you go beyond RBP. Doing these as commercial projects won’t ever make me rich, but it does allow me to take time away from billable work and really focus on producing awesome content and engaging with those who could learn something from it. So just know that whenever you send a bit of cash my way, you’re supporting a fellow hacker who will keep giving back at every opportunity.

But for those a bit weary of marketing gimmicks, the RBP blog will be going back to its pristine “no fluff, just stuff” program after today. It is a little hard to keep new content flowing, but we’ll do the best we can. Until then, happy hacking!

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