Top 10 Places to Learn Rails Online

Learning Ruby on Rails online isn’t ideal. Pair programming is considered a best practice. However, if those resources aren’t available or if you’re looking for something to supplement that kind of effort, check out some of the resources below, presented in no particular order.

  • Ruby On Rails LogoRailsBridge Installfest: Before getting started with Rails, you need to actually get it running. This working tutorial is field-tested and filled with details that other guides leave out.
  • The Official Ruby on Rails Guides: “I frequently refer to those as the bread and butter of Rails out of the box,” says Engineer and Designer Paul Cantrell. These guides are designed to help you be immediately productive and understand how all the pieces fit together. “Even after all these years, I still go back to those to see what is the exact recommended way of doing particular routing things I don’t do every day,” Cantrell explains. Although the guides aren’t the best place to start cold, they’re great to refer to and easy to follow.
  • Try Ruby: This allows you to try out Ruby code right in the prompt. “The Try Ruby tutorial is actually pretty great because you code in the browser and it gives you feedback on what you’re actually doing,” says Jon Chan, creator of Bentobox.io.
  • Treehouse Learning Adventure: Learn Ruby on Rails: This course begins with HTML and CSS, then moves into Responsive Web Design, JavaScript, jQuery and Accessibility, and then delves into Rails, beginning with a Web-based social networking application and segues back to Ruby, covering some advanced social features.
  • Net Tuts Plus: The Best Way To Learn Ruby on Rails: “It actually gives you a pretty good idea of not just how to start, but what other resources are out there. Working through the Try Ruby exercises is the first thing it tells you to do, which is something I’m a big fan of,” Chan says.
  • Jeff’s Introduction to Rails: Jeffrey Way’s Introduction to Rails is a 40-minute screencast geared to beginners. “I’m a big fan of video you can follow along with, which is one of the best ways to learn,” says Chan. “That’s how I learn, by watching videos as people code and copying exactly what they do.”
  • Railscasts: “These webcasts are great for learning how to do specific things and incorporating popular gems, best practices, authentication and so forth,” says Rails Developer Derek Rockwell.
  • Rails For Zombies: These Code School tutorials teach Rails via video lessons, coding challenges and screencasts. Start with Rails for Zombies Redux, and move on to the more advanced courses to learn how to build and test apps and learn Rails best practices.
  • Schneems’ UT on Rails: Richard Schneeman, who writes Ruby code for Heroku and teaches at UT Austin, has a 10-week course for beginners. The videos are broken up by topics, and some weeks have exercises and quizzes for added practice. “He actually talks about databases, which is important and highly underrated,” says Rockwell. “Rails is a CRUD based framework and at the heart of that is a database,” he points out. “Rails really just manipulates data from a database and presents it to the browser in HTML.”
  • Neo Ruby Koans: The Ruby Koans teach language, syntax, structure, some common functions and libraries through a self-paced approach. Cantrell says, “Ruby Koans are little brain teasers to teach you Ruby step by step.” They’re good if you like that kind of approach and want to figure out answers on your own.

Top 10 lists such as this one are never comprehensive, so please feel free to leave your favorite places to learn about Ruby online in the comments below.

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