Even though Ruby on Rails has been around since 2004 as an open source project, I still get asked the best ways to learn the framework today.
It’s a fair question and answers do change as the Ruby on Rails landscape has evolved.
You have little to no Ruby on Rails knowledge and are looking for resources to get you started out right.
- The Ruby on Rails Tutorial by Michael Hartl – now in it’s 6th edition and keeping up with Rails 6. This book and video options (20 hours) help many Rails developers get started. It’s written my Michael Hartl and comes in at 883 pages. It is a well-written tutorial.
- Ruby on Rails Guides – when talking about getting information from the source, this is the one to use. Each section contains the documentation on all the major parts of the Ruby on Rails framework broken up by function. A nice feature is users can select the version they are using, starting with the latest as of this writing, 126.96.36.199 all the way back to 2.3.
- Agile Web Development with Rails 6 – the Rails 6 version of the book which has gotten many Rails developers started, including myself. The Pragmatic Bookshelf offers a version back to Rails 4 so make sure you reference the correct version. This version will help with coming up to speed on the new Action Mailbox and Action Text. It offers source code for the project, which is a nice eCommerce application with practical value.
- Agile Web Development with Rails 5.1 – this version of the book is, you guessed it, targeting Rails 5.1. It contains the latest updates for 5.1 and offers source code for the project, which is a nice eCommerce application with practical value.
You’ve built a couple applications, know the beginner material and have a couple years of Rails experience. You are ready to move on to hone your skills.
One of the-best ways to learn, for me and I’m sure others, is by watching screencasts. The next two resources are they best out there.
- Go Rails Screencasts – created by Chris Oliver who is a great contributor to the community. At the time of this writing Chris is up to 330 videos of varying length (~5 min to ~30 min) covering a wide breath of topics, including everything from Rails concepts to the inevitable problem you’ll face when creating Rails applications. There is also a forum that accompanies the videos were you can ask questions or answer some if you so choose. There are some free videos and a Pro plan you can pay for to get the rest of the videos for a reasonable monthly fee. It’s a bargain for sure.
- Drifting Ruby Screencasts – created by Dave Kimura, also a long-time Rails developer. Dave is currently up to 227 episodes with episodes running from ~10 min to ~30 min. You might think these screencasts are probably like those from Go Rails, hardly. I think they complement each other very well. Even for topics they are the same, I find the approaches very different. There are also free episodes and others are paid for with a small monthly fee.
You feel good about your Ruby on Rails skills and want to press on to even more advanced topics.
- Metaprogramming Ruby 2 – if you aren’t sure what metaprogramming is, it’s worth learning about and use it where it makes sense. It’s a technique that’s used in Rails and other Ruby frameworks and applications. It’s powerful. This book is the best resource I’ve found on the subject from just learning it to becoming proficient.
- Rails 5 Test Prescriptions – the Rails community is all about Test-Driven Development (TDD) and this book gives great coverage of the subject. It covers RSpec and mintiest. RSpec is probably the most popular testing tool for Rails. Mintiest is the default testing framework.
- Docker for Rails Developers – unless you’re living under a rock you have at least heard of Docker. This book is the only source I am aware of that directly helps Rails developers containerize their application. It is a great single source.
If you’re just starting out, a seasoned expert or somewhere in between. I think these are some of the best sources of guidance and knowledge available for our beloved Ruby on Rails.
If you think I forgot something, please leave a comment and let me know.