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“The Rubyist” Ruby Magazine Launches

By Peter Cooper / August 3, 2008


The Rubyist - not to be confused with the Japanese Rubyist Magazine - a new paper-and-PDF based magazine for Ruby developers has released its first issue. This is a significant milestone, since it was just over a year I lamented about how the blogosphere killed the enthusiasm for Ruby magazines. In response to that post, Jeremy McAnally announced his intention to produce a Ruby magazine, and now, with the advent of simple Print On Demand magazines from MagCloud, it has become a reality.

The first issue is available in print for the United States only and costs $8 plus postage. A PDF version is available for $3 from Lulu for those who prefer PDFs or are located outside of the US. Contents include interviews with Rein Henrichs and Hampton Catlin, articles from Jamie van Dyke, Ben Scofield and Yehuda Katz, some unbelievably good ads, and more. There's nothing particularly deep in the first issue, but for a first issue this is a remarkable effort and one I'd certainly recommend purchasing, even if only in PDF form.


  1. Rein Henrichs says:

    I take considerable umbrage to "nothing particularly deep in the first issue", Mr. Cooper! I believe you'll find that Unfactoring from Patterns entails a profoundly significant -- and much needed -- paradigm shift in the Ruby community. Oh, and it's either "contents include" or "content includes". You can't have your cake and pluralize it too.

    On a more serious note, thanks for the writeup! I'm proud to be in the first issue of The Rubyist and among such excellent company. I think it's quite a landmark issue and I hope it is one of many to come.

  2. Peter Cooper says:

    I think you've proven my point on the first one (and I didn't even get to the article that recommended taking LSD) ;-) Thanks for the correction.

  3. Chris Colon says:

    Just bought the PDF (non U.S resident here so no print edition for me). I think this has great potential, but I hope there will be more content in future issues. Maybe that's asking too much, the PDF is just $3,76 (at least for me, due to taxes I believe) and comparing the content to the half hour screencasts on about Ruby Metaprogramming for $5 each (where I didn't have to pay extra taxes, ha!) makes the price for 32 pages seem fair again. But then again, there really are a lot of free to read blogs out there with quality and sometimes really in-depth multiple pages content.

    Even though it doesn't have that many pages, it's still cool that there is a Ruby magazine now and it even has a Github ad in it with that nice cat/squid/thingy mascot :)

    I hope to see more BDD stuff in future issues, I can't wrap my head around BDD and I have yet to see a tutorial on how to do BDD (there are tutorials teaching you the syntax for rspec for example but they don't give you real world examples on how to apply BDD, the peepcode screencasts didn't help me either with that). I tried looking at other people's code a while ago, to see how they do BDD but they didn't seem to get it either. Maybe I just looked at the wrong people's code :)

    I love the idea of putting a Ruby Quiz in the magazine, sadly the linked websites in the magazine aren't working. Maybe they aren't finished yet ^^ I hope there is some kind of consolation prize for the worst code (that would be me, yay! It's not hard to be bad but being *the* worst has got to be honored somehow, making you bleed from your eye sockets doesn't come cheap you know).

    Who am I even talking to? Sorry for vandalizing this blog's comment system. It wasn't intentional, my subconscious was acting on it's own again.

  4. Peter Cooper says:

    That's exactly what these comments are for, Chris. People will be reading here when making the decision to buy (unless they just jump into it which, at this price point, they most likely will).

    I share your observations regarding BDD. I get it intellectually, but I don't see any compelling reason to use it myself. I might commission something along these lines for Ruby Inside.

  5. Tomahawk! says:

    Is the eBook PDF printable? I'm not trying to be cheapskate (well maybe), but really I would really like the ability to print the PDF in a small booklet form which I can then use as easy reference, plus then I don't have to wait the days/weeks for print issue to arrive.

    Also does anyone know if this will be a monthly / bimonthly / etc, and if the foresee a subscription service coming available in the future?

  6. J B says:

    I have been disappointed by the content so far, but am glad someone has finally gone through the effort of getting a ruby zine going. You guys are now in the position to do something good with it, and I hope you do.

    The best tech magazines are news agents for their readers. They consume news items from as many news sources as possible, and consume practices from as many community sources as possible, and summarize them into a nice, easy-to-understand magazine. This is the value that a magazine can provide that blogs typically do not....the magazine can act as a summarizer of the latest and greatest ways to do things across a vast landscape because of the simple fact that a blog is usually one person, and a magazine is composed by many.

    Good luck with it, but I hope you improve it, and soon begin to fill in the gaps in understanding that we all tend to feel about things like BDD, Rails view approaches, etc. Stay on top of things and keep us in the loop (yeah, you could do forms like that, but the expected way these days is with this helper, and this is why)...

  7. Peter Cooper says:

    J B: I'm biased, but I don't personally feel the remit for a magazine /nowadays/ is the same as for a blog or online publication such as Ruby Inside.

    By their nature magazines are a poor source of timely news - especially smaller ones with longer production schedules. They're great at relaying more complex information regarding current practices (such as tutorials or long opinion pieces), but in terms of up-to-the-week news they rank poorly.. that's the job of a newspaper, blog, or other semi-immediate medium.

    because of the simple fact that a blog is usually one person, and a magazine is composed by many.

    This will no longer be the case with Ruby Inside as of next week. A number of writers are coming on board this week and hopefully they will make an appearance on site soon. Eagle eyed readers might have seen one post last week by someone other than me ;-)

    Anyway, I personally feel the true strength of a magazine is in presenting longer articles, opinion pieces, and the like, and in reinforcing a sense of permanence and consistency amongst a community, rather than as a pure news outlet.

  8. Peter Cooper says:

    Just realized I didn't want to make it sound like I'm flat-out disagreeing with you for the sake of it, J B. We need more comments of that quality around here!

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