Last updated 10/17/2023
From Airbnb and Hulu to GitHub and Shopify, dozens of tech companies use a single back-end web development framework: Ruby on Rails (RoR). By extending the Ruby programming language with the open-source Rails framework, RoR has formed a powerful technology and has won accolades for its speed of deployment, pre-built modules and plugins, and user-friendly community.
Read on to learn more about Ruby on Rails and the best free resources for learning this in-demand web framework.
What is Ruby?
In order to understand Ruby on Rails, you first need to understand Ruby. According to the official website, Ruby is a flexible open-source programming language that’s designed to be simple but effective. Unlike many programming languages, Ruby’s syntax is similar to the English language, making it easy for beginners to learn.
As one of the most popular programming languages in the world, Ruby has many use cases, including DevOps, desktop applications, and automation tools. Top companies like X (Twitter), Shopify, and Bloomberg use Ruby.
What is Ruby on Rails?
Ruby on Rails is a popular web framework in demand at many reputable companies. This is due to its emphasis on the principles of convention over configuration and don’t repeat yourself (DRY), which aim to increase efficiency by reducing the number of decisions a developer has to make within a framework. Ruby on Rails also utilizes Model-View-Controller (MVC) architecture, making it flexible and useful for a variety of applications.
Ruby on Rails is a strong choice for web developers looking to learn new programming skills due to its ready-made code libraries, which help save time when developing code.
The Best Resources for Learning Ruby on Rails
With so many educational resources online in the form of MOOCs, tutorials, and discussion forums, learning Ruby on Rails has never been easier. Fullstack Academy graduates consistently get hired at innovative companies using this technology, so many of our alumni and staff have explored which resources are most beneficial for beginners.
Here’s an overview of the best free Ruby on Rails tutorials to get you up and coding in no time.
The RoR MVC framework is in demand at many reputable companies thanks to its emphasis on convention over configuration and the principle of don’t repeat yourself (DRY). It’s a strong choice for web developers looking to learn new programming skills. With so many educational resources online in the form of MOOCs, tutorials, and discussion forums, learning Ruby on Rails has never been easier.
Fullstack Academy graduates consistently get jobs at the top-tier companies of their choice, so we have a good idea which resources are most beneficial for beginners. Here’s an overview of the best free Ruby on Rails tutorials to get you up and coding in no time.
Codecademy is one of the most renowned online code schools to offer free programming courses. The website includes separate tutorials for both Ruby and Rails. By the time you’re done, you will have built eight fully functional web applications.
If in-depth reading is more your style, you’ll undoubtedly be drawn to The Ruby on Rails Tutorial by Michael Hartl. Even if you’ve never programmed a single line of Ruby, Hartl’s book will teach you how to build “real, industrial-strength web applications.” The most recent edition of the book has been updated for Rails 5, so you’re guaranteed to learn the most up-to-date RoR practices. The book is available for free online, but pro tip: Purchase the e-book, and you’ll also get access to exclusive screencast videos.
3. Try Ruby
Try Ruby, like Codecademy, is an interactive site for Ruby on Rails beginners that allows you to program within your browser. But unlike Codecademy, it has a super-playful and accessible style. All it takes is completing a series of short exercises and you’ll have mastered the basics of the Ruby language.
4. Ruby Koans
Think you’re already a Ruby expert? Give Ruby Koans a try. In Zen Buddhism, a koan is a paradoxical question or statement that’s intended to provoke thought in the listener. In Ruby Koans, each “koan” is a tricky coding exercise that requires you to use your knowledge of Ruby to get the program working correctly. Exercises are organized into a series of tests you need to pass to keep building with the Rails web framework.
Rails for Zombies is the counterpart of the Try Ruby tutorial we mentioned earlier. Using video tutorials and an interactive, game-like format, the Rails for Zombies course helps you learn Rails from scratch through a series of programming exercises. The course author is well-known for helping build Envy Labs, Starter Studio, and Code School, and the 10-day free trial should get you up and running before you know it.
Next Step: Building Diverse Ruby on Rails Skills
These six free resources are a great way to get started with Ruby on Rails, but to advance your coding career, you’ll need to do more. While Rails is beginner-friendly, aspiring RoR developers will need to develop a diverse programming skill set in order to be successful. Some of these skills include:
A solid understanding of the Ruby programming language
Familiarity with code versioning tools like GitHub, Git, and Mercurial
Experience with automated testing
Ability to work with databases, like SQL
Try working independently on a few Ruby on Rails projects that interest you. Your skills will undoubtedly get stronger with practice, and you’ll have a head start to pursue more advanced coding bootcamps.