Why is the PickAxe book's new version's size reduced by half?

I am planning to refresh my Ruby knowledge in a month or two, after using other technologies more frequently for a few years. Luckily I won this month’s Pragmatic Bookshelf’s giveaway, and requested the PickAxe book ( Programming Ruby 3.2 (5th Edition) by @pragdave ). I’m planning to read this book cover to cover, and I may also read Learn to Program by @chrispine (I own that too).

  1. I noticed that the new version of the PIckAxe book is half the size of the previous version. Do I need to worry about that. Did they omit something important? Do I read the previous version instead?
  2. Is it a good idea to read both of the books? If yes, in which order? Or reading only one of them is enough?

I’m not a complete beginner, I know Ruby and I have used Rails for years, but after learning Elixir and Go, I kind of abandoned Ruby, and now I want to refresh it and be very good at it.


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Hi! Honestly, if you know Ruby, you really don’t need my book. It’s not even really about Ruby; it’s about programming, just using Ruby as the base language.

If the newest Pickaxe is shorter than it used to be, it’s almost certainly because they used to include the standard library reference at the end. I’m guessing that kept growing to the point where it no longer made sense to include all of it. Also, the standard library reference is online, so you really don’t need a printed copy of it. (I don’t actually have the latest Pickaxe, so the above is just a guess.)

Go for the Pickaxe!


Thank you so much @chrispine! :slight_smile:

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Yep, I would agree with Chris that it’s because it no longer includes the reference (the first edition came out when broadband was more expensive/slower/not as available, so it made sense to include it then).

I think you should definitely read @chrispine’s book tho! It won’t take you long and it’s a MASSIVE confidence booster! It was the book that made me feel like I could be a programmer :003:


Thank you for the suggestion! I’ll start with Learn to Program, Third Edition.

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Hi – author of Pickaxe book here with a couple of answers to the questions:

Thanks so much for your interest in the new version of the book.

  • @chrispine is correct that we’re not including the entire API as reference, and also correct on why – it’s bulky, easily out of date, and readily available elsewhere.
  • We’re also not quite finished yet – we’ll be adding a few chapters that are basically “How Do I Do X in Ruby” that will cover the most useful parts of the API that aren’t covered in the book.
  • The non-API portion of the book is actually 75-100 pages longer than the previous version, most of which is new features, some of which is a wider discussion of tooling, and some of which is deeper explanation in some places.

I hope that helps, thanks!



Thank you @noelrappin for the detailed reply! :pray:

Has the non-API portion already been updated?

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Beta 2 is out, it’s about 500 pages, and it is effectively draft-complete on the non-API parts of the book (with the possibility that there’s still a little tweaking before it’s done).

It’s fully updated to Ruby 3.2 and the latest version of tools.



Thank you, Mr. Rappin, for your helpful replies and the mazing books you authored!

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