Books recommendation

I am trying to bring myself up-to-speed on rails as fast as
possible. I am currently following an online book “Beginning Ruby
on Rails” by Steven Holzner. It is a decent book, however the book
seems to base on an out of date version of Rails and it has a number
of mistakes in the 4 sections I read so far.

I am considering buying a copy of a more up-to-date book and would
like your expert opinion. If you are to buy a Ruby on Rails book
right now, which book would you choose?
A. For beginner and
B. For expert.

Thanks in advance,

I’d recommend these two for getting up and running.

The Rails Way
Agile Web D. with Ruby on Rails

Really the best way to get started is to choose a project, start with
the most basic element and develop it gradually until it becomes an
awsome force to be reckoned with :slight_smile:


Simply Rails 2
Agile Web D. v.3 (Beta PDF available at
The Art of Rails
Advanced Rails Recipes

Do a lot of reading and get on IRC. :wink:

I have all of those books and many more that deal with Rails 1.x as
well and every book you purchase you will get something out of. The
four above I would recommend at this moment along with getting some
more general Ruby books as well just to learn some more there.

Geez, I forgot The Rails Way there … sorry. Another great book for
use after you learn the basics and need to start looking at the “nitty
gritty” more.

I would agree that the The Rails Way is decent. It can be a bit hard to
specific information though.

Hope That Helps,

packat wrote:

If you are to buy a Ruby on Rails book
right now, which book would you choose?

Ruby for Rails by David A. Black. It is a bit old, but still extremely
relevant. I found the Ruby parts to be amazingly helpful. This book
(in combination with The Rails Way) was one of the greatest
contributors to my transation from being a beginner in Rails to a Ruby


P.S. David, if you are reading, is a new version planned?

Edd Dumbill and I just released Learning Rails (O’Reilly) last week.
It’s definitely aimed at beginners, even at web developers with less
programming background than most of the Rails books assume. We’re
also posting screencasts to help people through getting started with
it, though I’m still recording most of those.

For more on that, see:


There are definitely lots of other good Rails books out there. Here’s
an excerpt from our preface on “Other Options” (though note that Head
First Rails isn’t out quite yet):

There are lots of different ways to learn Rails. Some people want to
learn Ruby in detail before jumping into a framework that uses it.
That’s a perfectly good option, and if you want to start that way, you
should explore:

  • Learning R. (O’Reilly, 2007)
  • The Ruby P.ming Language (O’Reilly, 2008)
  • Ruby Pocket Reference (O’Reilly, 2007)
  • Programming Ruby, Third Edition (Pragmatic Programmers, 2008)

You may also want to supplement (or replace) this book with other
books on Rails. If you want some other resources, you can explore:

  • Head First Rails (O’Reilly, 2008), for a much more visual approach
    with exercises
  • Up and Running with Rails, Second Edition (O’Reilly, 2008), for a
    very quick start
  • Simply Rails 2 (SitePoint, 2008) takes a similar approach to
    Learning Rails, but with different opinions and details
  •, a site with free podcasts and
    screencasts for getting started in Rails
  • The Rails Way (Addison-Wesley, 2007), a big-book reference approach
    for developers who already know their way
  • Rails Pocket Reference (O’Reilly, 2008), a small-book reference
  • Agile Web D. with Rails, Third Edition (Pragmatic
    Programmers, 2008), for a detailed explanation of a wide range of
  • Enterprise Rails (O’Reilly, 2008), for building large-scale
  • Advanced Rails (O’Reilly, 2008), for when you want to move to the
    next level

You’ll want to make sure that whatever books or online documentation
you use covers Rails 2.0 or later. Rails’ perpetual evolution has
unfortunately made it dangerous to use a lot of formerly great but now
dated material. (Some of it works, some of it doesn’t.)

Also, thanks to this list - many of the threads here inspired parts of
Learning Rails, especially in the warnings and notes about potential
trouble spots!

Simon St.Laurent

A. “Foundation Rails 2” is your friend! I’ve found it has better
learning pace for me.

Oooo … that looks like an interesting piece of reading. I will be
checking it out very soon.

I just picked up Learning Rails as well, so I can’t give much of an
opinion on it yet, but I will in the future.

On Nov 30, 12:39 pm, Klaus P. [email protected]

Hi –

On Sat, 29 Nov 2008, DyingToLearn wrote:


P.S. David, if you are reading, is a new version planned?

Yes, a very new and changed version indeed. The new version is called
“The Well-Grounded Rubyist”, and it will be coming out early (first
quarter, I hope) 2009. It’s a “just Ruby” book, with coverage of Ruby
1.9.1. It’s got a lot of topics that weren’t in R4R, and the parts
that have their roots in R4R have gotten a thorough revision.

And it’s still written with Rails developers at heart, even though
it’s not specifically “for Rails” :slight_smile: Lots of people told me they
thought it would be cool to take it in this direction for the second
version, and I agreed. So I hope it will be of value to the generation
of Rubyists that came of age with Rails, whether they’re Rails-
exclusive or not.


Rails training from David A. Black and Ruby Power and Light:
INTRO TO RAILS (Jan 12-15), Fort Lauderdale, FL
See for details
Coming in 2009: The Well-Grounded Rubyist (The Well-Grounded Rubyist)