Why’s (poignant) Guide to Ruby , sometimes called w (p) GtR or just “the poignant guide”, is an introductory book to the Ruby programming language , written by why the lucky stiff . The book is distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.

The book is unusual among programming books in which it includes a lot of strange humor and narrative side tracks which are sometimes completely unrelated to the topic. Many chunky bacon characters have become inside jokes in the Ruby community. The book includes many characters which have become popular as well, especially the cartoon foxes and Trady Blix , a wide black feline friend of why, who acts as a guide to the foxes.

The book is published in HTML and PDF . Chapter Three was reprinted in The Best Software Writing I: Selected and Introduced by Joel Spolsky (Apress, 2005).


  1. About this book
  2. Kon’nichi wa, Ruby
  3. A Quick (and Hopefully Painless) Ride Through Ruby (with Cartoon Foxes): basic introduction to central Ruby concepts
  4. Floating Little Leaves of Code: evaluation and values, hashes and lists
  5. DB, self, rbconfig module , module, introspection in IRB , dup, self, rbconfig module
  6. Downtown: metaprogramming , regular expressions
  7. When you want to send a message

The following chapters are “Expansion Packs”:

  1. The Tiger’s Vest (with a Basic Introduction to IRB): discusses IRB, the interactive Ruby interpreter.

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