Kind-of-a book review: Design Patterns in Ruby

It has been many years since I have read this much information on Design Patterns, and in those days the language the book was based on was Java. While the concepts still apply, Design Patterns in Ruby does a great job of walking through the classic patterns. First, the way we learned them – with abstractions and interfaces – followed by iterations toward the ‘Ruby’ way.

Moving between languages and development styles effectively can be difficult. It’s not just syntax, either. At the basic level, most languages function the same way. Conditionals are conditionals and loops are loops. Personally, getting into the “culture” of the language is the important part. In my opinion, culture is not just defined as the language, but also, language feature usage, development styles, etc. Switching projects and being productive on the first day is possible, but really hitting your stride takes a week or two. After the first week or two, you’re remembering the syntax better, you’re remembering and using language features appropriately, etc.

That is the thing I think I’ll like about this book more than anything else. This book does a good job of spelling out the cultural differences between a language like Java and a language like Ruby; how to get your brain from thinking in Java to thinking in Ruby. The original GoF book on patterns for Java was a set of recipes that solve common problems – in this case, we get the same, along with the transition between the two, as well as patterns that can be uniquely addressed using Ruby.

The one line summary of this book: “Language features and the dynamic nature of Ruby make common design patterns easier to implement clearly with fewer lines of code.”

A quick refresher with a book like this before my next Ruby project will be in order.


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