A SkilledUp Curation Guide

Learn Ruby and Ruby On Rails:
29 of The Best Online Educational Resources To Learn How To Build Web Apps

The very best ways to learn Ruby, Ruby on Rails, and the art of building dynamic web applications, including free and paid tutorials, instructor-guided courses, community support, reference materials, and the tools you need to get going. Top resources, selected from a list of over 150.

About This Guide

If you're looking to find a fast, productive, and efficient way to turn your app idea into a reality, look no further than Ruby on Rails. Rails has become the framework of choice for startups to develop projects in a matter of days.

So what is Rails? It's a programming framework that comprises of reusable and easily configurable parts that are commonly used in web-based applications. Contributing to Rails' popularity is its robust community of supporters, churning out and sharing Ruby gems that make Rails developers more productive every day.

Today, over 600,000 websites are estimated to be using Ruby on Rails, including some of the largest sites like GitHub, Yammer, Scribd, Shopify, Hulu, Airbnb, and Basecamp.

These websites and resources come in many shapes and sizes. Here are the types of sites that we have collected for you:

Courses
There are many courses available to get you moving forward with Ruby on Rails, from straightforward tutorials to interactive classrooms.

Some courses may have structured curricula and use video to keep you more engaged as well as help you absorb more learning material. The course platforms at the higher end have slick user interfaces, high quality video, community forums, and coding exercises.

Others use live interaction and personal training, which can help you break through mental barriers quicker. This is similar to the experience you might get at a bootcamp but at a fraction of the price and basically the same career boost you'll enjoy when looking for a job.

Community
Oftentimes, you're going to find yourself in a rut. Luckily, you have thriving Ruby and Rails communities to support you. Reach out when you need a hand and don't forget to give tips to others who were once in your shoes.

Tools
These tools are great utilities to get you cranking out your ideas and into a creative and efficient Ruby on Rails workflow.

Course Providers

To compile this comprehensive list, we reviewed more than 150 resources where one could learn how to code. Those of you who are curious can view the complete list, but in this guide, we only focused on the best.

“Ruby on Rails is a breakthrough in lowering the barriers of entry to programming. Powerful web applications that formerly might have taken weeks or months to develop can be produced in a matter of days.” – Tim O’Reilly, Founder of O’Reilly Media

Courses

Treehouse

Join Mike the Frog and the Treehouse gang on their Rails Development track and learn the fundamentals of web design, foundations for Ruby development, and build some basic Ruby on Rails applications. Follow along with Treehouse’s quirky videos, complete with an in-browser text editor and lively forum full of students at all levels. Access the full suite of Treehouse resources on your iPad as well with Treehouse's native iOS app. (See full review.)

$25-$49/month Video Lessons Interactives

Code School

Dive into Ruby and Ruby On Rails with Code School’s Zombie and 80's arcade themed courses. Each course comes with video and slide, complete with a detailed breakdown of Ruby and Rails, interactive challenges, and a song. Try out the free orientation courses, "Rails for Zombies", and “Try Ruby,” a tribute to Why’s (Poignant) Guide to Ruby. (See full review.)

$29/month Video Lessons Interactive

Codecademy

Codecademy is an immensely popular choice for those looking for an introduction to a new programming language. Work your way through hours of interactive code material to gain a solid foundation for exploring the Ruby language. Even better - when you’re done, check out their Ruby API tutorials and discover how you can hook up your app to Twitter, Box, Twilio, SendGrid, WePay, 23andMe, Ordr.in, GitHub, easypost, and Mashape. (See full review.)

Free Video Lessons Interactive

“Before Ruby on Rails, web programming required a lot of verbiage, steps and time. Now, web designers and software engineers can develop a website much faster and more simply, enabling them to be more productive and effective in their work.”– Bruce Perens, Open Source Luminary

Codelearn

Codelearn is an excellent text-based interactive walkthrough for Ruby on Rails. What’s really great about Codelearn is the interface’s split columns layout that mimics a real-workflow between the the terminal, file browser, code editor and app output. This is a rather safe way to dive into learning the Ruby on Rails workflow before messing around in your root folder.

Free Interactive

Why’s (Poignant) Guide To Ruby

Hands down, Why’s (Poignant) Guide to Ruby might be the most bizarre and entertaining dive into your Ruby education. There’s even a soundtrack. Full of eccentric humor and tangents, this book is the foundation of many inside jokes within the Ruby community. There’s even a soundtrack…yeah.

Free E-book

RubyMonk

RubyMonk is an excellent set of interactive e-books that guide you on your way towards Ruby enlightenment. Glide through this series of interactive e-books, solve each book’s problem set and learn from The Master as he reminds you to "Wax on... wax off. Wax on... wax off."

Free E-book

“Rails is the killer app for Ruby.” – Yukihiro Matsumoto, Creator of Ruby

Thinkful

Work one on one with a mentor who will guide you and guarantee you’re never stuck. Build projects from scratch and produce a job-ready portfolio with live feedback from your mentor. Code alongside other passionate developers and collaborate on projects. (See full review.)

$500/month Online Course Mentorship

RailsCasts

Almost as old as Rails itself, RailsCasts helps you learn the pieces of Ruby on Rails in a modular fashion with over 400 excellent screencast episodes by Rails master Ryan Bates. From upgrading Rails to forms and plugins, these screencasts cover them all.

Free $9/month for Pro Screencasts

Michael Hartl's Learn Rails by Example

Michael Hartl is the 2011 recipient of the Ruby Hero Award for his contributions to the larger Ruby community. This tutorial book, freely available as an online e-book, is a leading introduction to get up and running with Ruby on Rails.

Free E-book

“Ruby on Rails is astounding. Using it is like watching a kung-fu movie, where a dozen bad-ass frameworks prepare to beat up the little newcomer only to be handed their asses in a variety of imaginative ways.”– Nathan Torkington, O’Reilly Program Chair for OSCON

Tealeaf Academy

Tealeaf Academy is providing a full-fledged, professional-grade 3-course curriculum complete with instructor led online courses, teaching assistants, classmates around the world and live office hours. This curriculum leads you through the beginner, intermediate and advanced stages of Ruby programming. First, by introducing you to the Ruby language and fundamental web development techniques using the Sinatra framework for 4-weeks. Then by guiding through rapid prototyping with Ruby on Rails for another 4-weeks. And finally, diving deep for 8-weeks into robust, production-quality applications. This is university-level stuff.

$475–$1485/month Online Course Teaching assistants Office Hours

Owning Rails

Owning Rails promises you'll master Rails in 8 hours without learning all the APIs. Exclusively limited to a 25 student class size, this course is taught live over 2 days. Note: coding exprience is definitely required to get on the waiting list. Owning Rails comes in three tiers. Packages start with just previously recorded live courses, up to live class sessions, complete with in-depth video material to keep and office hours a week after the course. Satisfaction guaranteed or it's free.

$539 Live Course Office Hours

CareerFoundry

CareerFoundry offers courses for all stages of learning, whether you're just starting in Rails development to advanced production-ready Ruby on Rails application development. $400/month gets you 10 hours of study time per week, 3 months with an expert mentor, including weekly one-on-one Skype calls with your mentor, plus one year of access the course materials online. In addition to developing you're own website, you'll gain insightful guidance on your new career path.

$400/month Mentorship Online Course

“What sets this framework apart from all of the others is the preference for convention over configuration making applications easier to develop and understand.”– Sam Ruby, ASF board of directors

Learn Ruby the Hard Way

Zed Shaw's classic Learn Code The Hard Way brings you - *drumroll please* - Learn Ruby The Hard Way! Type your way through over 50 exercises in your text editor and terminal until the struggling pays off. Don't understand something? Like the real world, this course shows no sympathy and will tell you to figure it out! Every good programmer should be a good searcher. This course will provide you with the necessary tough mentality you may need while studying Ruby.

Free E-book

Ruby Koans

"I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.” These wise words from Thomas Edison map perfectly to how you’ll find the path to enlightenment with this terminal-based interactive course. Fear the black wrath of the terminal? Don’t be! But just in case, there’s an abridged browser-based version of Ruby Koans.

Free Interactive

“When we were starting out, we didn't know Ruby or Rails and could do Java or .NET in our sleep. We budgeted 2 weeks to play around with Rails and if we were still as frustrated after 2 weeks as we were day one, we'd switch to Java. In those two weeks we had built so much functionality there was no reason to go back. The high amount of developer productivity is huge.”– Mark Friedgan, 2010 Infoworld Top 25 CTO

RubyTapas

For just $9 a month, Ruby extraordinaire Avdi Grimm (author of Exceptional Ruby and Objects on Rails) provides two short but useful intermediate to advanced level screencasts a week. If you've got a bit of Ruby experience on you, RubyTapas will introduce you to a wide variety of concepts and techniques that will bring you closer to Ruby enlightenment.

$9/month Screencasts

lynda.com

Get the complete and essential walkthrough of both the Ruby programming language and Ruby on Rails with clear-cut, in-depth screencasts. Upgrade to their Premium model and access the source files used in each course as well. Learn on the go (or in bed) with access to lynda.com's extensive library on both iOS and Android. (See full review.)

$25–$37.50/month Video Lessons Video Transcription

“It is impossible not to notice Ruby on Rails. It has had a huge effect both in and outside the Ruby community... Rails has become a standard to which even well-established tools are comparing themselves to.”– Martin Fowler, Author of Refactoring, PoEAA, XP Explained

Rails Girls Guide

These excellent guides are built to provide the tools and foundation to build a community for empowering women worldwide to understand technology and build out their ideas. Organize your own events, fomr your own community, submit new guides, or just use them yourself to learn Rails!

Free Tutorial

Skillshare

Build your first web app in 30 days with Tal Safran over at Skillshare. Over a month, you'll be building a Tumblr-style blog learning Ruby on Rails, version control with Git, Bootstrap, PUT requests, and deploymnet. Share your project with the Skillshare community and check out what others are up to also!

$29 (or $23.20 w/ membership at $9.99/month) Online Class

One Month Rails

One Month Rails promises just that - to get you up and running with Ruby on Rails in just one month. Aimed at complete beginners, promotion seekers, entrepreneurs and founders, designers, and front-end developers, One Month Rails offers 8 hours of course video, downloadable code samples, certification of completion, and ongoing updates to the curriculum for $99. You'll build a photo-sharing application and learn the skills you'll actually use on the job, like Bootstrap 3 and cutting your build time in half, all by following a guide tailored to the way developers actually code. (See full review.)

$99 Video Lessons Code Samples

“Rails was an amazing teacher. I loved it’s “do exactly as I say” paint-by-numbers framework that taught me some great guidelines. I love Ruby for making me really understand OOP. God, Ruby is so beautiful. I love you, Ruby. But the main reason that any programmer learning any new language thinks the new language is SO much better than the old one is because he’s a better programmer now!”– Derek Sivers, Founder of CD Baby

Pluralsight

With 23 courses, Pluralsight hits the full spectrum from beginner to advanced and everything in between. These courses don't just teach you the fundamentals and concepts, but make you productive, getting your hands dirty with advanced Ruby concepts like IronRuby, MacRuby, Sinatra, Chef, Cucumber, and RSpec. Pluralsight's Plus subscriptin at $49/month gets you exercise files, assessments, certificates, and offline viewing.

$29-$49/month Video Lessons Exercise Files Assessments

Practicing Ruby

Authored by numerous programmers deep in the Ruby trade, Practicing Ruby is a Creative Commons-licensed repository of excellent blog-styled tutorials to advance your Ruby skills to the next level. Much like RailsCasts, Practicing Ruby is a modular approach to advancing your knowledge of the Ruby programming language. The public has been given open-access to 84 articles written before March 2013 under a Creative Commons license. For everything after, the cost is just $8/month

Free–$8/month Blog Articles

Codewars

Practice makes perfect. Grab a cup of brew and train your Ruby skill and agility with real coding challenges likely to pop up on your next project. Codewars measures your skill in kata, the Japanese word prevalent in the martial arts, used for describing detailed choreographic patterns of movement. After each challenge completion, learn more by comparing your solution to the number of code variations submitted by others.

Free Challenges

Thoughtbot

While this isn't necessarily a course per se, this checklist of sites to guide you through your Ruby learning adventure is absolutely top notch. The Thoughbot team are leaders in the Ruby community, notoriously famous for their Bourbon and Neat web design frameworks, which are Ruby gems themselves.

Free Checklist

“After researching the market, Ruby on Rails stood out as the best choice. We have been very happy with that decision. We will continue building on Rails and consider it a key business advantage.”– Evan Williams, Creator of Blogger and ODEO

Community

Community-Driven Ruby Style Guide (GitHub)

Writing clean, readable code is an important and worthwhile habit to form. You’ll thank yourself when looking back on older code that isn’t quite familiar anymore. Most especially, others will thank you in the future, whether you’re collaborating on a project, passing a project to someone else, open sourcing your code, or looking for a helping hand with your code. This community driven Ruby style guide is an ongoing knowledge base of the best practices for coding in Ruby. Refer to often and ingrain it within your work and practice.

Free Style Guide

r/Ruby and r/Rails (Reddit)

Forget the lolcats for a second because the Internet's favorite social network, Reddit, is also home to a large number of excellent programming communities, including r/Ruby and r/Rails, where you can learn from others, ask your questions, share your latest and greatest, and find the most up to date in trending news for Ruby and Ruby on Rails.

Free Social Network Forum

Stack Overflow

In this generation, there is not one developer who has not made their way over to the massive question and answer community at Stack Overflow. Search through thousands of questions from people who've already stumbled through the same roadblocks you might be hitting. Learn from others' mistakes and contribute your own questions and answers to the knowledge pool. Aside from the huge Ruby and Rails forum on Stack Overflow, feel free to explore the hundreds of other programming topics.

Free Social Network Forum

Tools

Dash

Dash is an API Documentation Browser and Code Snippet Manager. Dash stores snippets of code and instantly searches offline documentation sets for 130+ APIs (for a full list, see below). You can even generate your own docsets or request docsets to be included. Dash allows you to download organized local versions of documentation for many Ruby-related domains, including Ruby, Rails, RubyMotion, hundreds of Ruby Docsets online, and even localized versions of Stack Overflow topics. Dash has many extensions to amplify your text editor experience too!

Free–$19.99 Documentation

RubyMine

Although you can write Ruby programs with any old plain text editor, some text editors have additional features to aid the Ruby programmer. The most common is syntax highlighting. RubyMine is an intelligent Ruby editor with so much more, including Ruby development stack support with essential Ruby managers like Bundler, RVM, and rbenv. It also contains great tools for testing, MVC organization, version control, and web development.

Free–$199 (50% off for startups) Integrated Development Environment

The Ruby Toolbox

Searching furiously for the right gem to get the job done? Have a look at The Ruby Toolbox. The site lists the best and most essential gems across an insane amount of categories, ranging anywhere from payment methods to MIDI arpeggiators.

Free Resource

About SkilledUp

The creation of this guide was an exhaustive undertaking that required team effort. Special thanks to content producer Justin Zupnick (@justinzupnick), who carried out all of the research, writing, design and coding required for this list, Lee Black for editing, Katerina Leznik for design oversight, and Brad Zomick, Chief Content Officer, for editorial oversight.

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