There are many, many resources for learning Ruby and Rails. Here are a few to get you started.


Learning Ruby itself is important to understand how to work with Ruby on Rails. It isn’t essential that you have a deep understanding of Ruby before jumping into Rails, but having some background will definitely help.

The following are essential references online for Ruby. Bookmark these, keep them pinned in your browser, etc.

  • Ruby-Lang is the home for Ruby, with jumping off points for installing ruby, learning how to write ruby scripts, and keeping up to date with the ruby community. Most especially, hit up the documentation section of that site for a list of great learning resources for Ruby.

  • Ruby Core Reference is the documentation for the core libraries that make up the basics of Ruby’s classes and modules.

  • Ruby Standard Library is the place to find documentation for the standard library that is always shipped with the ruby installation (things like working with URLs, making HTTP requests, JSON, YAML, and XML data, etc).

  • RubyGems is where the thousands of libraries, applications, and other reusable stuff has been published.

Online sites for learning Ruby include:

  • RubyMonk provides interactive Ruby tutorials and exercises to learn Ruby’s ways and idioms.

  • Learn Ruby the Hard Way is a more fundamentalist approach to learning how to program in Ruby. This site is a good place to start if you don’t have any programming experience.

  • Chris Pine’s Learn to Program is a well-respected book for absolute beginners in learning how to program. Chris uses Ruby to teach programming concepts.

  • Avdi Grim’s RubyTapas is a video subscription site that provides a “small plate” of ruby several times a week.

If books are your thing, there are two for Ruby that come highly recommended:

  • Programming Ruby Known as the “Pickaxe” book (because of the cover), this is the definitive reference for writing Ruby scripts. This latest edition covers versions 1.9 and 2.0, which is a little out of date, yet is still an excellent resource.

  • The Well-Grounded Rubyist by David Black, also referred to as “The Black Book”, is the definitive book for learning Ruby. The second edition covers up to version 2.1, so is also a little out of date, but it is still an excellent resource.


The essential online references for Rails include:

  • Ruby on Rails is the main site for Rails, and has jumping off points for getting into writing Rails applications.

  • The Ruby on Rails Guides are a collection of tutorials for learning various aspects of the Rails system. The Getting Started with Rails guide is the best place to jump in.

  • The Ruby on Rails API contains the documentation for all the gems that make up the Rails framework.

For learning Rails online, there are a few sites:

  • Michael Hartl’s Rails Tutorial is the definitive, most up-to-date online course for learning Rails. Highly recommended.

  • RailsBridge is another excellent set of starting out tutorials.

  • Railscasts is an older site with video learning segments; it hasn’t been updated in quite some time. The subscription is only $9 in perpetuity (or if the author decides to start republishing). While it’s old, many of the concepts provided in the videos are still applicable, and it’s a good learning resource.

Recommended Books for learning Rails include:

  • Agile Web Development with Rails 5, aka “DHH’s Book”, is the latest in the series of books that came out of the development of Rails.

  • Rails 4 in Action is one of the best books around on learning Rails. Although it is for version 4, almost everything still applies in this book to learning version 5. You’ll find two of the authors in the #rubyonrails IRC channel, Ryan Bigg (“Radar”) and Rebecca Skinner (“sevenseacat”), whom are very helpful.


Sometimes listening to folks talk about their experiences and what they’ve learned is helpful.