small medium large xlarge

Build Awesome Command-Line Apps; Dropbox support; JRuby Tenth Anniversary

October 26, 2011

WOW! There’s a lot going on this week, with news about JRuby, Dropbox, and command-line apps in Ruby.

First off, David Copeland’s Build Awesome Command-Line Applications in Ruby is now available in beta from Second, we’re proud to announce that your Pragmatic Bookshelf purchases can now synchronize to your Dropbox account if you want. And last but not least, help us celebrate the tenth anniversary of JRuby with a special sale. Read on for details:

Build Awesome Command-Line Applications in Ruby

As Ruby pro David Copeland explains, writing a command-line application that is self-documenting, robust, adaptable, and forever useful is easier than you might think. Ruby is particularly suited to this task, since it combines high-level abstractions with “close to the metal” system interaction wrapped up in a concise, readable syntax. Moreover, Ruby has the support of a rich ecosystem of open-source tools and libraries.

Ten insightful chapters each explain and demonstrate a command-line best practice. You’ll see how to use these tools to elevate the lowliest automation script to a maintainable, polished application.

You’ll learn how to use free, open source parsers to create user-friendly command-line interfaces as well as command suites. You’ll see how to use defaults to keep options simple for everyday users, while giving advanced users options for more complex tasks.

There’s no reason a command-line application should lack documentation, whether it’s part of a help command or a man page; you’ll find out when and how to use both. Your journey from command-line novice to pro ends with a look at valuable approaches to testing your apps, and includes some fun techniques for outside-the-box, colorful interfaces that will delight your users.

With Ruby, the command line is not dead. Long live the command line.

Now available in beta from

Dropbox Support

Dropbox is a service that keeps a set of files shared between all your computers and mobile devices. We can automatically deliver your eBooks into your Dropbox, so the ebook will become available on every one of your devices.

First, create a Dropbox account if you don’t already have one. The basic account is free. Then install the Dropbox client software on your computers and mobile devices—there are links at the bottom of the Dropbox home page. It’s free.

Next, register our system with Dropbox:

  • Edit your PragProg profile. Scroll down to Dropbox Settings, and click authorize us.
  • That’ll take you to a page that explains what’s about to happen. Click the Authorize with Dropbox button.
  • If you’re not currently logged in to Dropbox, you’ll be asked to. You’ll then return to your profile on our site.
  • Use the checkboxes to select which eBook formats we should send to your Dropbox. You can always come back and change these settings. Remember to press the Save Changes button at the bottom of the page.

Once registered, all new orders, and any updates we generate to existing orders, will be automatically sent to your Dropbox. You can also send existing orders.

Please read our FAQ for more details.

JRuby Tenth Anniversary

In 2001, Arne Peterson ported Ruby’s original C implementation to Java, and christened the result JRuby. Ten years and some 15,000 commits later, JRuby’s army of contributors have transformed it from a successful experiment into a world-class Ruby implementation.

Sure, you’ve heard how JRuby makes it possible to sneak Rails into a Java shop. But web servers are just the tip of the iceberg. JRuby also produces beautiful visualizations for factory automation. It powers the refueling terminals at the Oslo airport. It steers the alien-seeking telescopes of SETI. Closer to home, it drives the build system that typesets every Pragmatic book.

In honor of JRuby’s tenth anniversary, we’re offering a 25% discount on, the definitive guide to our favorite Ruby implementation. Use coupon code JRubyTEN, expires 11/2/2011.

Don’t Get Left Out

Are your friends jealous that you get these spiffy email newsletters and they don’t? Clue them in that all they need to do is create an account on (email address and password is all it takes) and select the checkbox to receive newsletters.

Are you following us on Twitter and/or Facebook? Here’s where you can find us and keep up with the latest news and commentary:

Coming Soon:

  • The Developer’s Code
  • Programming Node.js
  • New Programmer’s Survival Manual in print
  • Seven Databases in Seven Weeks
  • …and a few surprises.

Recently Released:

  • Programming Your Home: Automate with Arduino, Android, and Your Computer [in beta]
  • Rails Recipes: Rails 3 Edition [in beta]
  • Cutting an Agile Groove [video]
  • Technical Blogging [in beta]
  • Thanks for your continued support,

    Dave & Andy

    Books • eBooks • Screencasts • PragPub Magazine