Books on Ruby: 10 books for ruby beginners

Many books on programming language ruby have been published during these years. Although it is a good thing, it also is true that picking one from these books is becoming hard and hard. Here I will list 10 of the books on ruby for beginners, and try to tell the differences between them, and hope by doing so, help beginner decide which one suits him or her.

(update: a book list for advanced ruby learners)

Learn To Program, Second Edition

Pragmatic Bookshelf
by Chris Pine
200 pages
Compared to other ones, this book is very small, which is good for a new programming language learner. From this book, you will learn what is Programming and How to program (using Ruby).

for those New to Programming Language

Programming Ruby 1.9 -- The Pragmatic Programmers’ Guide

Pragmatic Bookshelf
by Dave Thomas with Chad Fowler and Andy Hunt
934 pages
Programming Ruby 1.9 is the new (third) version of the PickAxe Book. This book is known as “the PickAxe book”, because there is a pickaxe on the cover of this book.

It is a big book, containing 400 pages ruby tutorial teaching you from the abc of the language to every deep bit you may need to know to become a professional ruby programmer, and 500 pages Ruby Library Reference.

Foreworded by Yukihiro Matsumoto, the Ruby language creator, the book is treated as the official book of the ruby language, and is very popular among ruby learners and developers.

This third version, as it’s title show, mainly cover ruby 1.9. If you want to learn ruby 1.8, you may consider to buy the second version.

For everyone, ruby 1.9

Programming Ruby Second Edition -- The Pragmatic Programmers’ Guide

Pragmatic Bookshelf
by Dave Thomas with Chad Fowler and Andy Hunt
805 pages
Includes ruby 1.8
see above.

For everyone, ruby 1.8

The Ruby Programming Language

by David Flanagan and Yukibiro Matsumoto with drawings by the luck stiff
429 pages
Covers Ruby 1.8 and 1.9
An updated and expanded version of Ruby in a Nutshell. It is written for experienced programmers ( new to ruby or not).
A ruby book the ruby language creator took part in, to explain how the language works, from beginning.

For experienced programmers (new to ruby or not), ruby 1.8 and 1.9

The Ruby Way 2nd Edition

Addison Wesley
by Hal Fulton
888 pages
This book teaching you “how to do this in Ruby?” with more than 400 examples.

For Everyone who loves examples, Ruby 1.8

Beginning Ruby -- From Novice to Professional, Second Edition

by Peter Cooper
656 pages
This book is divided into three parts : Ruby Foundation, the core of ruby, and ruby online. There is more than 100 pages References of Ruby and its Libraries. Sounds very practical and useful.

Those are New to Ruby, and want to learn ruby in a practical and fast way.

Everyday Scripting With Ruby -- for Teams, Testers, and You

Pragmatic Bookshelf
by Brian Marick
287 pages
A hands-on book. Learning by doing. In fact, the book not so “everyday style” organized.

For those New to Ruby

Ruby by Example Concepts and Code

No Starch Press.
by Kevin C. Baird
281 pages
A book divided into more than 40 examples. The book present most of the example code first, and then explain how the code works.

For ruby learners

Ruby in a Nutshell

by Yukibiro Matsumoto
218 pages
This book may be outdated, please see The Ruby Programming Language. It is a updated version of this book.

Not recommended, outdated

Teach Yourself Ruby in 21 Days

by Mark Slagell
537 pages
A book of a ruby course. Not so fresh.

Making Use Of Ruby

by Suresh Mahadevan
216 pages
Another book on ruby from the early years. Not as practical as it’s title prompts, more like a traditional course book.

04 Sep19:19
By Anonymous (not verified)

Very useful. Thanks!

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