Panasonic Youth

Ruby and Ruby on Rails Book Roundup

updated 5/1: added Rails in a Nutshell and Mr. Neighborly’s book updated 7/24: updated status on some released books, added the O’Reilly RJS book updated 9/26: a bunch of books updated that have been released, including RoR: Up and Running, Java to Ruby, Enterprise Integration with Ruby, and Mr Neighborly’s Humble Ruby Book. Also added some links to reviews.

The Ruby and Ruby on Rails book market is absolute exploding. Its amazing to watch the market go from a slow trickle of books to sixteen upcoming books for 2006 - nine of them covering Rails specifically and seven on Ruby in general.

I’m a big book nerd, and I love Ruby, so here is my attempt at rounding up the current state of the market. I’m not going to list older books that are out of date unless they are really notable. For an older list, the comp.lang.Ruby faq has a list.

Note: Title hyperlinks go to the detail page at Amazon. The “(@pub)” link next to the titles goes to the publisher’s page on the book, if there was one available.

Pragmatic Bookshelf

Agile Web Development with Rails : A Pragmatic Guide (The Facets of Ruby Series)Its appropriate to start with the Pragmatic Programmers’ offerings, as they were a huge part in getting Ruby kick started in the western world. The two standards right now are Programming Ruby, 2nd Edition (@pub) and Agile Web Development with Rails (@pub). These two books are the essential starting point for anyone to get up to speed on Rails. The AWDwR book recently won a Jolt award for the best technical book. The Agile book is available in the first edition form (in PDF, print, or both), and the second edition beta is available now as PDF only.

Rails RecipesRails Recipes (@pub) by Chad Fowler has been released and has been getting rave reviews for its cookbook style approach and Chad’s quick turnaround to requested recipes. I’ve personally found many of the recipes helpful with my work, including generating fixtures from live data and the continous integration recipe.

James Edward Gray’s Best of Ruby Quiz (@pub) has recently been released, with the best challenges from the popular online quiz. For the beginners, there is Chris Pine’s Learn to Program (@pub) for teaching a complete novice programming via Ruby.

December 2006 should see the release of Brian Marick’s Scripting for Testers : Using Ruby (@pub), which I’m looking forward to for some coverage on Watir. The release date on this has slipped from summer ‘06 to the end of the year, and there is no beta book available. Ex-Java “hyper enthusiast” Bruce Tate will continue to stir up flame wars with Java to Ruby : Things Your Manager Should Know (@pub). Tate was recently interviewed for the Rails podcast, where he talked about his upcoming Ruby books a bit.

Amy Hoy announced late last year that she will be writing Ruby on Rails Right Brained Guide. Also, Ezra Zygmuntowicz announced his book on deployment and configuration with Rails has been accepted by the Pragmatic guys. The page at the prag’s site lists a release date of Jan 2007. I had a chance to review a chapter of it and it looks promising. I haven’t seen more info on these two at the Pragmatic site or Amazon.

Enterprise Integration : with RubyFinally, Enterprise Integration : with Ruby (@pub) is out, with reviews here, here, and here. Someone get James McGovern a copy of that one.

O'Reilly Books

Ruby CookbookO’Reilly has a four Ruby related books planned for 2006, with many of them available now in their Rough Cuts program, their equivalent to the Pragmatic beta program. They have just recently released (as of 7/24/06) the Ruby Cookbook (@pub) and have the Rails Cookbook (@pub), written by Rob Orsini, set to come out in August ‘06. Leonard Richardson, co-author of the Ruby Cookbook, has a reviewer’s page with a FAQ and an outline for the Ruby cookbook. I’ve been working through (and working with) the Ruby Cookbook, and its a fantastic resource.

Bruce Tate must be keeping busy, as he and Curt Hibbs have recently releasedRuby on Rails: Up and Running (@pub). Some of the advanced material will cover using Ajax with REST and handling legacy database schemas. Not sure how this material will overlap with the Rails cookbook, or how this slim book (182 pages!) will compare with the Agile book.

Robby Russell has Programming Rails (@pub) with an unknown release date. From the Amazon blurb:

[the book] will not only provide you with a deep understanding of how the Rails framework is built, but the book also presents several real-world applications to give you a comprehensive look at Ruby on Rails as a practical tool for efficient web development.

Jeremey Voorhis of Planet Argon is working on Rails in a Nutshell (@pub) (no Amazon link yet) for O’Reilly’s popular Nutshell series. Planet Argon now has two of its employees writing Rails books.

Cody Fauser has written a short PDF on RJS Templates for Rails, and its available now for 10 bucks.


Programming the Ruby Way (2nd Edition)Hal Fulton is working on the second edition of Programming the Ruby Way. To get a taste of what to expect from it, check out the author’s page for the first edition or this thread where he announces its release.

James D. Clinton is working on the Ruby Phrasebook, set for a September 20th release. It looks like a quick reference/pocketbook style guide to common idioms and recipes in Ruby.

John Wilger is NOT writing Ruby on Rails Web Development, as there was some sort of mix up between the publisher and Amazon. John wrote about the confusion here.


Ruby for Rails by David A. BlackManning has the co-founder of Ruby Central David Black for Ruby for Rails : Ruby Techniques for Rails Developers (@pub). This title is available now online and in book stores - I’ve seen it in both Borders and Barnes and Nobles. I’ve read it and can highly recommend it, its definitely up there with the Agile book as far as “must have” rails books.


Finally, Apress has Beginning Ruby on Rails: From Novice to Professional (@pub), by David Rupp, planned for fourth quarter 2006.


Mr Neighborly’s self-published book has been renamed and released as Mr. Neighborly’s Humble Little Ruby Book. Its available on Lulu for the low price of $5 for an ebook and $10 for a print version. He is also working on a Humble Little Rails Book, but he is holding off for the 1.2 release for that.

Free Resources

If you just want a taste of Ruby and now before you spend any money:


This took a lot longer to compile then I expected, and I’m sure I’m still missing a couple. Please comment with corrections or updates and I’ll update the list. Links to reviews and related discussion are appreciated.

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