Best Ruby Rails Book

David Lawrence
• Tuesday, 24 November, 2020
• 7 min read

Ruby is a dynamic, open-source programming language that focuses on simplicity and maximizing a programmer’s productivity. Since it’s open source, Ruby is free to use, modify and distribute, with millions contributing to the evolution of the language.

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Learning Ruby on Rails and gaining an understanding of how to code in this language effectively is best achieved through online tutorials and courses, and videos. Alongside reading, tutorials and videos, when beginning with Ruby on Rails you should always include practical lessons, exercise and experiences.

It also means it’s useful for experienced developers (in other languages) wanting to start with understanding Ruby. The author has made other valuable contributions to the Addison-Wesley Professional series, blogs about Ruby and speaks on the topic around the world.

He created several projects using the language before incorporating it into his professional skill set and has also produced a book on Design Patterns In Ruby. The aim is to “write code that uncomplicated the logic and put it in plain view, that would make things so much clearer.” Clean Ruby comes with dozens of positive recommendations.

One happy reader said “I wish I were living inside Jim Gay’s codebase”, and numerous other positive reviews talk about how fun this book is to read. In this, “a book about joy” he helps intermediate developers learning Ruby on Rails to code in a clear, logical way, to avoid “code constantly second-guessing itself; and replacing it with a confident, clear focus on the task at hand.” Included in the book are 32 patterns and new ways of thinking, so that when faced with “real world” problems and challenges, aspiring and more experienced developers can find solutions using the story of the code and aims, instead of picking up clues based on whatever building blocks happen to be lying around.

It is considered one of the most useful, practical primers on this subject and the author is a renowned expert on OOP in Ruby. Perfect for unearthing Ruby’s most advanced feature: a collection of techniques and tricks known as meta programming.” Some experience is required before you can “discover the deep, non-obvious details of the language”, which this book promises to assist with.

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There are numerous others around but some are quite outdated now, and it always helps to read these alongside online courses, tutorials or while learning through practical lessons and experience. Once you feel confident enough with the language itself, and want to learn Ruby on Rails, we recommend starting with this short list.

It includes some best Ruby On Rails books on the market, with up-to-date practical examples, lessons and techniques. The creator, Michael Hart is a former Y Combinator entrepreneurial alumni and received a Ruby Hero Award in 2011 for contributions to the community.

The Tutorial is invaluable addition to any Ruby on Rails books for beginners” list, and is equally valuable for those with some experience. He is an experienced developer and was an editor of the Wesley Professional series of books helping to learn Ruby and Rails.

Whether you are completely new to the language, or framework, or both, or an adept Ruby on Rails developer willing to brush up your skills, this list is a great place to start to understand the language and then the framework many popular web applications are created in. You can also check out my page on the best Ruby books to learn about resources for Ruby (the language) on its own.

Over the past decade, Rails attracted a huge deal of attention among developers and with it came plenty of new titles on Amazon’s virtual shelf. Substantial changes were introduced in each major version of the framework, starting with a serious rewrite in Rails 3, so learning with obsolete material will be an exercise in frustration.

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For e-books (in PDF, pub and Mob formats) you’ll need to buy a copy. The book also comes with a series of optional screencasts, which are not cheap but worthwhile since they give you the feeling of watching a Rails pro in action.

It’s worth noting that the author, Michael Hart, has launched a subscription service called the Learn Enough Society, which includes this Rails book, as well as other programming resources. It’s an excellent tutorial for intermediate and experienced developers, particularly if you like Agile methodologies and would like to gain a deeper understanding of the framework.

Oboe is one of the top Rails programmers in the world, as well as an excellent teacher who placed a wealth of information in this great Rails book (now in its fourth edition) so that advanced programmers could get the most out of the Rails framework. As you become more experienced as a Rails developer, you’ll start to realize the importance of testing your code base, so that you can change it and improve it over time with some degree of confidence.

Spend enough time in the community, and you’ll hear all sort of random terms like Spec, Cucumber, Capybara, and even factory_girl. These are all excellent tools to help you test your code base but navigating these waters can be tricky if you are new to Test-Driven Development (TDD).

Noel Rapping wrote the definitive guide on how to test Rails code and build much more robust projects as a result. Again, Rails 5 but the testing approach hasn’t really changed with the newer version, so most of the information is still very much relevant.

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Alternatively, if you are already a programmer, you might find Agile Web Development with Rails 6 a more apt starting point to get up to speed with the framework. This way you’ll be able to gain practical experience with Rails that is backed by a solid theoretical foundation.

It’s all subjective, of course, but I and many other developers in the community have reached the conclusion that Ruby on Rails 6 by The Pragmatic Studio’s duo Mike and Nicole Clark is very hard to beat. So you end up with two web applications, and in the process you’ll learn a lot about Rails and current best practices, including testing and deployment.

Beginner Ruby on Rails developers usually read lots of articles, blogs and books related to this web application framework. One more thing you know for sure, is that today it is one of the most popular and widely used frameworks for the development of web applications.

Of course, do not forget about books that are crammed with useful information that you need to learn before proceeding to the actual use of Ruby on Rails. It is crammed with complex tasks and innovative techniques and therefore will help increase your programming skills.

After reading this book, you will learn how to use TDD, write decent tests and make plugin. The book also explains how ActiveRecord works, gives instructions on how to use responders in the controllers and adjust the app to the needs of any scenario.

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Despite focusing on technical details of Rails, the book is very easy to read and understand. The book covers lots of valuable details about Rails and at the same time is very easy to read.

But to be a professional programmer you should not limit yourself to just reading the books related to technology you primarily work in, so imagine how much more of them are not included in this 5000. Try to read 20% of that during your career, and you’ll be a hyper expert in the Ruby programming language.

Or rather in the theory of Ruby, since you will spend all your time reading rather than coding, so your practical skills will be in fact equal to about 0. Unfortunately, there’s no answer to that question, but here’s a list of books I would personally recommend every Rails developer to read.

Instead of that, Andy Hunt and Dave Thomas show you the approach we all as professional programmers should follow. This book was released in the past millennium, but it’s definitely still worth reading today.

After you have gotten all the Ruby basics, this book should be your next step, no matter whether you’re an expert or just a hobbyist. It’s surprisingly easy to read, very comprehensive, and focused on all the practical things you need to know about using Ruby the proper way.

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Sooner than later you’ll face a refactoring task and, in my opinion, this publication is the best one on that topic in Ruby. I think most ROR developers I know today (in person) have gone through Michael Hart's famous tutorial at the beginning of their Rails programming journey.

This one is not really meant for senior developers, but if you want to start your ROR dev career, reading this one is as normal as eating breakfast in the morning. Lots of experienced developers state that most of the time you should avoid sticking to the famous Rails Way” in your projects, and I actually agree with that.

“Convention over Configuration”, with a set of handy defaults and hundreds of useful methods, is what made Rails so popular. The subtitle on the cover actually makes it quite clear what’s going on inside: “Expert practices for Everyday Rails Development”.

Avid Grimm did a great job writing Confident Ruby. No matter how experienced you are, this book will make you a more confident Ruby programmer.

There are of course tons more of them, but it’s not the goal of this post to get you overwhelmed :) If you think something is missing on this list, just drop a comment below.

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