best ruby on rails books this year [ror books for beginners and beyond]

10 Best Ruby on Rails Books in 2023 [RoR Books for Beginners and Beyond]

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What is Ruby on Rails?

Ruby on Rails (RoR) is an open-source web application framework meant to help save Ruby developers time by using the model-view-controller (MVC) pattern. It enables you to write less code while developing applications, therefore increasing productivity.

By using RoR, you can use the don’t repeat yourself (DRY) and convention over configuration principles.

Do I need to learn Ruby before Rails?

While the two are deeply connected, it’s probably best to learn the Ruby programming language before learning the Rails framework. Otherwise, you may find yourself getting lost.

Learning Ruby first should make learning Rails much faster and easier.

💎 If you’re looking for some good Ruby books and courses before learning RoR, we’ve got you covered.

What version of Ruby on Rails are we on?

As of June 2021, the most recent Ruby on Rails release is version 6.1.4.

Why does this list have Ruby on Rails 5 books when Ruby on Rails 6 is the current release?

This is the classic curse of technology education. With constant updates, another major version release is never too far away.

That said, many employers still rely on RoR 5 in their daily operations. And RoR 5 is not that much different from RoR 6.

Most importantly, these are all damn good books.

This post contains affiliate links. I may receive compensation if you buy something. Read my disclosure for more details.

TLDR: Best Ruby on Rails Books

🔥 Best Overall 🔥
Agile Web Development with Rails 6

💥 Best for Newbies 💥

Ruby on Rails Tutorial

Best Ruby on Rails Books

1. Agile Web Development with Rails 6

↘️ Ideal for: new and experienced Rails developers
Topics covered: Ruby basics, Rails fundamentals

We ❤️ The Pragmatic Programmers.

Agile Web Development with Rails 6 by Sam Ruby, David Bryant Copeland and Dave Thomas is one of the best Ruby on Rails books overall.

It covers Rails 6 and Ruby 2.6.

If you’re not yet familiar with Ruby programming, don’t worry. This book starts you off with a chapter on Ruby basics.

With step-by-step guidance, you’ll learn how to build your first web-based store application. Along the way you’ll discover how to:

✅ eliminate configuration

✅ incorporate AJAX and JavaScript

✅ manage background jobs with Active Job

✅ test applications as you write them

✅ securely deploy your applications

And much more.

➡️ While Agile Web Development with Rails 6 is geared towards beginners, you’ll also find useful information for experienced Ruby on Rails developers.

See what Ruby on Rails developers are saying about Agile Web Development with Rails 6:

… Highly recommended to anyone who wants to learn ROR.

– Customer, Ruby on Rails developer

💎 Get hands-on practice with the interactive course Introduction to Ruby on Rails by

2. Ruby on Rails Tutorial

↘️ Ideal for: Ruby on Rails newbies
Topics covered: TDD, MVC, REST and more

Ruby on Rails Tutorial by Michael Hartl is one of the best Ruby on Rails books for beginners.

It covers Rails 6.

Using bite-sized code snippets, you’ll learn how to solve real-world problems in RoR.

After learning how to install and set up your Ruby on Rails environment, you’ll explore:

test-driven development (TDD)

✅ the Model-View-Controller (MVC) pattern

✅ structure applications using REST

✅ building static pages and making them dynamic

✅ creating data models and site layouts

And beyond.

Regardless of previous programming experience, you’ll go from RoR newbie to mastery by the end of this book.

➡️ With ample tutorials, Ruby on Rails Tutorial shows you the skills you need to develop web applications.

Anatomy of the cloud IDE in Ruby on Rails Tutorial

💎 Build a basic web application with the video course Ruby on Rails: The Big Picture on Pluralsight.

3. The Rails 5 Way

↘️ Ideal for: Ruby on Rails professionals
Topics covered: design approaches, libraries

The Rails 5 Way is one of the best Ruby on Rails books for professionals delivering production-quality code.

It teaches Rails version 5.

With detailed code examples, you’ll explore pretty much the entirety of Ruby on Rails 5 including its design approaches and libraries. For example, you’ll learn how to:

✅ build REST-compliant back-end services

✅ evolve database schema using Migrations

✅ optimize performance and scalability

✅ secure your system against attacks

✅ integrate email

And much, MUCH more.

➡️ The Rails 5 Way is not for the faint of heart. Rather, it’s for serious RoR professionals determined to maximize their understanding of Ruby on Rails.

See what Ruby on Rails developers are saying about The Rails 5 Way:

Great book for those with a general understanding of Rails…

– Alison Lin, Ruby on Rails developer

4. Component-Based Rails Applications: Large Domains Under Control

↘️ Ideal for: experienced Ruby on Rails developers
Topics covered: components

Component-Based Rails Applications is one of the best Ruby on Rails books for experienced RoR developers.

In this book, you’ll learn all about using components to:

✅ improve maintainability

✅ reduce complexity

✅ accelerate testing in large Rails applications

And beyond.

Going step by step, you’ll learn how to revitalize your Rails applications and make them easier to test and manage. You’ll also learn how to improve your applications using specific techniques and design concepts.

➡️ Component-Based Rails Applications is entirely focused on components in Ruby on Rails. You won’t learn about anything else here.

5. Rails 5 Test Prescriptions: Build a Healthy Codebase

↘️ Ideal for: experienced Rails developers
Topics covered: test-driven development

Like we said before, we ❤️❤️❤️ The Pragmatic Programmers.

Rails 5: Test Prescriptions uses test-driven development to address code bloat and inaccuracies. Alongside Rails 5.1, you’ll use testing tools such as:

Minitest 5

RSpec 3.6



The result? Better code and fewer bugs.

➡️ With plenty of examples, Rails 5: Test Prescriptions shows you real-world testing situations you can use to improve your code.

Diagram of running a test in Rails 5 Test Prescriptions

6. Learning Rails 5: Rails from the Outside In

↘️ Ideal for: web developers and designers with HTML experience
Topics covered: REST, migrations, common elements

Like the Ruby on Rails Tutorial, Learning Rails 5 is one of the best Ruby on Rails books for beginners. But instead of learning Rails 6, you’ll learn Rails 5.

You’ll start by learning about Rails’ view layer before diving into controller code and database models. With exercises and review questions, you’ll learn about:

✅ building forms and processing results

✅ using Rails and REST to build applications

✅ using migrations to track database changes

✅ adding sessions, cookies and authentication

And much more.

➡️ From Web foundations to building applications, Learning Rails 5 is your hands-on guide for learning Ruby on Rails.

7. Beginning Rails 6: From Novice to Professional

↘️ Ideal for: RoR newbies
Topics covered: creating RoR applications, test-driven development

Beginning Rails 6 is another book similar to the Ruby on Rails Tutorial. They both teach Rails 6 and are for absolute beginners.

But Beginning Rails 6 isn’t quite as detailed as the Ruby on Rails tutorial. So if you are a quick learner, this might be the better book for you.

With a heavy focus on features new to Rails 6, you’ll discover:


✅ JavaScript integration

Action Mailbox

✅ system and parallel testing

And beyond.

Then you’ll work through the process of designing and writing tests (TDD) for your own applications.

➡️ Beginning Rails 6 teaches you how to build RoR applications from the ground up.

8. Rails: Novice to Ninja: Build Your Own Ruby on Rails Website

↘️ Ideal for: Ruby on Rails beginners, Ruby newbies
Topics covered: Ruby, Ruby on Rails, project-building

Rails: Novice to Ninja is for absolute beginners with no prior programming experience.

In fact, it starts with an introduction to Ruby, Rails and SQLite. And using an interactive Ruby console, you’ll be able to follow along with the book to learn core Ruby concepts.

Then you’ll use Rails to build a news application project similar to Reddit. While building the app, you’ll use Rails features such as:

✅ user authentication

✅ session cookies

✅ automated testing

✅ debugging

✅ benchmarking

Finally, you’ll learn how to deploy your application to a live web server.

➡️ Rails: Novice to Ninja takes a project-based approach to learning Ruby on Rails.

9. Ruby on Rails 5.0 for Autodidacts: Learn Ruby 2.3 and Rails 5.0

↘️ Ideal for: experienced programmers familiar with HTML
Topics covered: test-driven development, REST

Ruby on Rails 5.0 for Autodidacts is for self-taught developers with prior programming and HTML experience.

In this step-by-step book, you’ll learn Ruby on Rails 5.0. You’ll explore:


✅ scaffolding

✅ test-driven development

✅ caching

✅ cookies and sessions

And beyond.

➡️ Ruby on Rails 5.0 for Autodidacts is a beginner-friendly RoR guide for self-taught developers.

10. Learn Ruby on Rails 5: Book One

↘️ Ideal for: RoR newbies, programming newbies
Topics covered: fundamentals, applications, troubleshooting

According to Michael Hartl (author of the Ruby on Rails Tutorial), Learn Ruby on Rails 5 is “the gentlest introduction to Rails that I know of, so it’s a great place for beginners to start.”

First you’ll learn about RoR concepts like gems, testing and Rail stacks. You’ll also explore:

✅ layout and views

✅ contact forms

✅ sending mail

✅ testing

And more.

Then you’ll learn how to build your own applications.

You’ll also discover ways to troubleshoot your RoR applications.

➡️ Learn Ruby on Rails 5 is a gentle, thorough and comprehensive guide to RoR 5.

Best Ruby on Rails Books: Conclusion

Today we looked at the best Ruby on Rails books including:

🔥 Best Overall 🔥
Agile Web Development with Rails 6

💥 Best for Newbies 💥

Ruby on Rails Tutorial

So whether you’re a Ruby on Rails aficionado or an absolute beginner, we think these are the best Ruby on Rails books available.

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