The Bastards Book of Ruby


The Bastards Book of Ruby is an introduction to programming for non-programmers. The online book focuses on the use of programming for the gathering, organising, and analysing of data in all its forms.

“The world of data has exploded in the past few years without a corresponding increase in the people or tools to efficiently make sense of it. And so I’ve had a hankering to create a more cohesive, useful programming guide aimed at not just journalists, but for anyone in any field,” explains Dan Nguyen, the author of the book, and journalist at ProPublica.

The book is a work in progress. At this moment it contains four sections and about 30 chapters, in various stages of completion. For an overview of the chapters, check out the full table of contents. The four sections are:

  • The Fundamentals: Ruby installation guide and basics of computer science
  • Supplementals: useful concepts of programming and how to scrape the Web
  • Design and Theory: more useful computer science and software engineering concepts
  • The Projects: examples of data projects, the rationale behind them and step by step guides to producing them

A random sampling of the mugshots collected from the Putnam County Sheriff's jail history, the subject of one of the chapters. Image credit: Dan Nguyen.

The book is freely available at: ruby.bastardsbook.com.