Book Club, May 2011

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So, I conducted an introduction to Ruby on Rails workshop last night and just finished up a list of book recommendations for the attendees. I thought I'd share them here, in case anyone is looking for a few good starter books to learn Ruby on Rails. I went with 2 recommendations for Ruby, and 2 for Rails, because It's really important to understand Ruby if you're going to start hacking away at Rails. A deeper knowledge of Ruby helps make all the Rails "magic" more understandable.

Design Patterns in Ruby
This book is both very readable (a rarity in tech books) and a fantastic introduction to Ruby for someone familiar with the GoF design pattern implementations in other languages. It has a quick Ruby syntax primer in the beginning, then jumps straight into the patterns.

Programming Ruby 1.9: The Pragmatic Programmers' Guide (Facets of Ruby)
This is the latest edition of the book commonly known as "The Pickaxe" in the Ruby community -- in its first edition, it was the first comprehensive English-language reference for Ruby, and was therefore indispensable to someone just getting started with the language. The latest edition is still a great reference book to have around.

Agile Web Development with Rails (Pragmatic Programmers)
Agile Web Development was co-authored by David Heinemeier Hansson, the creator of Rails, and was the closest thing that the Rails community had to "The Pickaxe" for Ruby, in its first edition. The authors have done a great job of cleaning it up and keeping it relevant, and the latest version covers Rails 3.

The Rails 3 Way (2nd Edition)
Obie heads up the Florida-based Rails consultancy, Hashrocket, and was an early adopter of Rails, coming over from the Java camp. He's been a vocal advocate of best practices in Rails for just about as long as Rails has existed, and his book helps to explain not just how to do things in Rails, but why.

So there you have them, 4 solid picks for someone getting started with Rails. Please leave your own recommendations in the comments!

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