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In a rapidly changing software development world you need to be ALWAYS up-to-date with your knowledge - that’s a fact. In that situation, buying books about programming may sound ridiculous. You may think, that when they are leaving a publishing house they are already outdated. But is it really true?


ruby on rails books


Less than 3 months ago Rails 6.0 has been released. Does it mean, that all of the books about Rails 5 and previous should go into the garbage? Definitely not! Because programming in Ruby on Rails is not only about following the latest technology changes but having some basics and even more importantly, the right mindset, which enables you to develop awesome apps despite constant changes in the development world. 

And this is definitely where the good Ruby on Rails books step in. The knowledge inside them is timeless and will teach you rules and schemes applicable in Rails 6, 8 or even 20. Check our Railwaymen team list of 8 Ruby on Rails books that despite the time flying by, will help you to become a better developer! Especially as despite the software development world constantly wondering "is Ruby on Rails dead?" - it is very much alive. So it's worth to invest your time and efforts to be as best in this technology as possible!

Table of Contents:

1. The Well-Grounded Rubyist.

2. The Pragmatic Programmer.

3. Agile Web Development with Rails 6.

4. Rails: Novice to Ninja: Build Your Own Ruby on Rails Website.

5.  Eloquent Ruby.

6. Rails AntiPatterns: Best Practice Ruby on Rails Refactoring.

7. Learn Ruby the Hard Way: A Simple and Idiomatic Introduction to the Imaginative World Of Computational Thinking with Code (3rd Edition) (Zed Shaw's Hard Way Series).

8. The Ruby Programming Language: Everything You Need to Know.

1. The Well-Grounded Rubyist



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You already know that Rails is “just” a framework, right? What it means is, that despite the awesome things that it can do - you won’t be able to use it without a thorough knowledge about Ruby itself! And as you might figure out from the title of this book - it will give you some solid base grounds, to make you a much better programmer!

The authors of the book are David A. Black, an internationally known Ruby developer, author, and co-founder of Ruby Central, and Joseph Leo III - the Def Method founder and lead organizer of the Gotham Ruby Conference. Thanks to their joint forces came to existence a book so popular, that this year (2019) the third edition of it has been published.

An expert book review: "A deep and thorough dive into the Ruby programming language." Brian Daley, University of Connecticut



2. The Pragmatic Programmer



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This amazing book about programming has recently celebrated 20 years since the publication date anniversary! So you might think - wait a minute, so this one is DEFINITELY out of date. Luckily, authors thought the same way, as a lot of has changed since 1999 in the development world. That’s why they decided to publish the 2nd edition of “The Pragmatic Programmer” trying to answer the question “what does it mean, to be a modern programmer?”.

Even though it is not concentrated on Ruby on Rails itself, it is definitely worth reading, as topics inside range from personal responsibility and career development to architectural techniques for keeping your code flexible and easy to adapt and reuse.

An expert book review: "If you want your software to be easy to modernize and maintain, keep a copy of The Pragmatic Programmer close. It’s filled with practical advice, both technical and professional, that will serve you and your projects well for years to come." Andrea Goulet, CEO, Corgibytes; Founder, LegacyCode.Rocks



3. Agile Web Development with Rails 6


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This is a book, which hasn’t been released yet - so how can we be sure, that it will be good? Basing on previous works by its authors! Agile Web Development with Rails 6 is the next book of the series dedicated to Ruby on Rails app development. The previous books about Rails 4, 5, etc. have been bestsellers, and even though this one isn’t co-written by RoR creator David Heinemeier Hansson it is definitely worth checking out!

The pre-order of the book is already available, and its premiere is (roughly) planned for February 2020.

An expert book review (about the previous edition, Agile Web Development with Rails 5.1): “The best book to get started in the Rails world. A comprehensive, coherent, and concise overview of the Ruby on Rails framework. It treats learning in a gradual way, creating an application from scratch using the latest technologies.” Luis Miguel Cabezas Granado, Ruby on Rails and PHP developer at Junta de Extremadura (Spain) and PHP book writer at Anaya Multimedia


4. Rails: Novice to Ninja: Build Your Own Ruby on Rails Website


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Are you just starting your journey with Ruby on Rails app & web development? This book is for you! Unlike other Rails books, it doesn't assume that you are an experienced web developer, or that you've used Ruby before. It covers all you need to get up and running, from installing Ruby, Rails, and SQLite to building and deploying a fully-featured web application. An entire chapter is devoted to learning Ruby in a fun way, using the interactive Ruby console, so you can follow along at home.

IMPORTANT NOTE: this book covers Rails 5, which isn’t anymore the latest version of the framework. Nevertheless, most of the topics covered here are still applicable. But the choice is yours: you can buy the book now, or wait for its new edition.



5. Eloquent Ruby


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Learning how to write correct Ruby code is relatively easy - just follow the basic rules and if anything truly complicated appears, ask for some help at StackOverflow:) This book nevertheless wants to teach you how to think like a real, independent developer. By reading it, you’ll learn how to write code that actually looks like Ruby (not Java or C#); why Ruby has so many control structures; how to use strings, expressions, and symbols; and what dynamic typing is really good for.

An expert book review: "Eloquent Ruby is like programming in Ruby itself: fun, surprisingly deep, and you'll find yourself wishing it was always done this way. Wherever you are in your Ruby experience from novice to Rails developer, this book is a must-read." Ethan Roberts, Owner, Monkey Mind LLC


6. Rails AntiPatterns: Best Practice Ruby on Rails Refactoring


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Is it possible for us to learn from other developers' mistakes? Thanks to this book - yes it is! As its title says, Chad Pytel, the founder, and CEO of thoughtbot, a software development firm specializing in Ruby on Rails, and Tammer Saleh, SuperOrbital owner, took their efforts to show us the most common RoR development antipatterns and explain how to avoid them. With their help, developers, architects, and testers can dramatically improve new and existing applications, avoid future problems, and establish superior Rails coding standards throughout their organizations.


7. Learn Ruby the Hard Way: A Simple and Idiomatic Introduction to the Imaginative World Of Computational Thinking with Code (3rd Edition) (Zed Shaw's Hard Way Series)


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This one is the best proposition for people, who are RoR beginners. Its author, Zed A. Shaw is known for inventing, allegedly, “world’s best system for learning Ruby”. You’ll learn how the software works; what good programs look like; how to read, write, and think about code; and how to find and fix your mistakes using tricks professional programmers use. The author not only explains the basics of RoR in this book, but also advises you on how to improve your discipline, commitment, and persistence. Being a developer can be emotionally and mentally draining, that’s why the psychological approach of this book is one of its biggest assets!


8. The Ruby Programming Language: Everything You Need to Know



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This book covers versions 1.8 and 1.9 of the Ruby on Rails language - so, as we have version 6 life, buying it might feel to be insane? Not necessary! The Ruby Programming Language documents the Ruby language definitively but without the formality of a language specification. It is written for experienced programmers who are new to Ruby, and for current Ruby programmers who want to challenge their understanding and increase their mastery of the language. That’s why the things you will learn from it, will be timeless and focused on the essence of Ruby language.


Books are not enough for you? We have recently created an ultimate "How to learn RoR" guide which contains the most valuable courses, YT videos, podcasts and much more. All of this recommended by 5 experienced RoR developers!