Ruby Resources For Beginners

5 minutes to read

Disclaimer: I haven’t completed all the sources on this list. The more advanced ones I’m recommending are a result of being lost whilst completing them.

I squirrel away links like a squirrel squirrels away nuts, and for this reason I thought I should share the wealth. There are a lot of beginners resources out there so I’ll link to things I’ve found I think are excellent, okay and not so great so for the beginning autodidactic coder.

For complete beginners I recommend:

Try Ruby - The quintessential beginner’s taste of Ruby. I found one of the bits in the middle confusing the first time I did it, so if you’re anything like me and get stuck, do another tutorial and come back to it when you are older and wiser.

Codecademy Ruby track - I have finished this, and though I think it is an excellent intro to the topics that govern coding, I didn’t come out of it feeling like I could build anything. It also doesn’t finish in a way that I find worthy of a conclusion, but your mileage may vary.

Chris Pine’s Learn to Program - I read this too late to give proper insight into whether it’s the best for complete beginners, but it was an excellent refresher, though you have to buy the book to get the most recent version of Ruby, as far as I’m aware, and answers to the coding problems.

Learn Ruby the Hard Way - The only one of these that I’ve completed is the command line version, and if drills aren’t your thing, steer well clear. I found that I had way too many cards to keep up with on Anki, a cue card making desktop app, as I was doing more than one Learn __ the Hard Way at a time, so again, take my opinion with a pinch of salt.

Beginning Ruby: From Novice to Professional - I have only started this book, and again I find that I was already a bit too far into my coding journey to find full use of it. I didn’t want to skip too far into the book and miss important things I may already know, but it’s incredibly slow going as I get bored finding out what a string is for the thousandth time.

Why’s (Poignant) Guide to Ruby - A classic in the Ruby community. [_why]( was/is a “a prolific writer, cartoonist, artist, and computer programmer notable for his work with the Ruby programming language.” So yeah, my opinion on his work may be irrelevant but I found the comic hard to read, the concepts rushed through, and the format of the book really hard to read online. I assume it works a million times better in print format. I enjoyed the storyline a lot, its only redeeming quality. It was very funny at points, laugh out loud funny.

Ruby Monk - Started this recently and though it again suffers from me not being completely new to the language, it’s pretty awesome and can help you build up your skills in a slightly insensitive to monks way! It’s very pretty and well thought out.

Ruby Essential Training - I did this when I still had a university account (seriously, any university students reading this, check out what your uni is subscribed to!), but otherwise it’s a paid option, and I think a fairly expensive one. The course is thorough but I found it incredibly boring, and it was only following AstonJ’s advice that made me stay the course.

Ruby in 100 minutes: I can’t really remember this guide, other than knowing it was a competent introduction. It doesn’t run through setting up your environment though, which is probably what makes it so quick.

Treehouse Ruby Foundations - I’ve started another track on Treehouse for now. The format is clear and thorough.

A Beginner’s guide to Ruby - One of the best non-interactive/non-task setting introductions, though again I read it as a refresher. Quick, clear and to the point, without skimming.

Advanced Beginner:

Ruby Warrior - Incredibly fun and incredibly frustrating, I recommend it highly to anyone who grasps the basic concepts. Turn your volume down before starting.

Code Wars - Once you grasp the basics this is an excellent way of training your brain to think in the correct way. I think that’s ‘correct’ but I definitely think it improves your problem solving skills. I find that I find a lot of the kata too hard at moment but I’m not yet diligent.

Ruby koans - This is another option that’s often recommended for complete beginners but I feel it belongs in the advanced beginner’s section until someone does a complete walkthrough, as googling for an explanation of why a certain answer is correct doesn’t always yield a result. The automatic command line reading thing - you can tell I know the term - checks your answer and gives you the correct one if you’re wrong! I’m unsure how this is helpful.

Options I can’t vouch for as I haven’t touched them:

Ruby for web designers: It looks very pretty and can apparently be understood by anyone who understands HTML, definitely worth a shot.

Ruby in twenty minutes: A bold claim, but I like that it includes Linux in the instructions on the splash page.

Rubyist - For the latest version of Ruby, and free! I think I’ll try it soon.

Ruby for newbies - Looks pretty thorough.

Bonus: I think this talk by Katrina Owen is what really inspired me to think that I could become a coder, and that passion and hard work are what are really important, rather than nebulous ‘talent’. Many people are talented and squander it, but hard work can turn the mediocre into the world class. Here’s a transcript.

Written on October 24, 2014