Ruby on Rails
Ta-da List


March 21, 18:45

Getting started with Ruby

What Ruby lacks more than anything is good starting points for getting into the language. There's a bunch of absolutely excellent resources out there, though. I've attempted to summarize the best of them by category.

Language (latest release by time of writing: 1.8.1)

Reference documentation

  • Ruby Core Library: Complete methods listing and explanation for all the built-in Ruby classes, such as strings, hashes, and IO. Only covers 1.6.8 — supplement with What's New in Ruby 1.8.
  • Ruby Standard Library: Ruby ships with about a hundred standard libraries. They're all documented in varying degree and collected in one easy bundle with this site.

Guides and books for programmers

Guides for non-programmers

Ruby bloggers

Library & Applications Repositories

  • Ruby Application Archive: More than a thousand projects across 200 categories. Nothing like learning about Ruby than reading lots of Ruby code.
  • RubyForge: Hosts close to two hundred Ruby projects with CVS repositories and project management features. The place to publish your projects.

My favorite packages outside of the standard library

  • Rake: Ant/make replacement for building and packaging projects. (See also the usage presentation)
  • Log4r: Comprehensive logging package for needs that go beyond the simple Logger class in the standard library.
  • DBI: Database abstraction layer. Run the same code on everything from MySQL and PostgreSQL to Oracle and DB2.
  • MySQL: Native library for accessing MySQL through Ruby.
  • FlexMock: Simple mock object for unit testing.
  • RMagick: Wrapper for ImageMagick that makes image composition and altering a walk in the park.
  • Madeleine: Object prevaylence port.

Challenge by Mike P. on March 21, 21:55

"What Ruby lacks more than anything is good starting points for getting into the language."

You said it! Thanks for the resources. The only reason that I haven't gotten into Ruby is that I haven't had the time to find the path to learning it...

Challenge by James Britt on March 21, 22:59

Perhaps you should mention that has the most comprehensive list of known Ruby information sources [], an online reference for the latest core libraries [], and numerous downloads [] that include Ruby documentaiton bundles and conference videos.

Challenge by Hilarie on March 22, 2:52

You've read my mind. I've been looking for good "getting started" sites and info about using Ruby for web applications this entire past week.

Thanks a lot for the information!

Challenge by David Heinemeier Hansson on March 24, 1:44

Once you've grokked the Ruby basics, do have a look at the presentation I posted on the upcoming Rails framework for building web-applications in Ruby.

It's what I used to build Basecamp — the web-based project management tool designed by the experts at 37signals.

Comments are closed