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7 soon to be released Ruby and Rails books

With the amount of good Ruby and Rails books already on the market, you’d think 2008 would be a shy year when it comes to publishing new titles, but nothing could be further from the truth. The following books are all to be released this month or in May, and there are many more coming out this summer.

Do we really need another 7 titles on the market within 2 months time? Interestingly, the answer is yes, for two main reasons. First, most of them serve a specific purpose, rather than being generic introductions. Second, we have a hole in the Ruby and Rails book market. Ruby 1.9, despite being a development release, has been out for a while. More importantly, Rails 2 differs enough from Rails 1.2 (covered by most books out there) to require new tutorials for those who approach Rails for the first time and perhaps even for those who wish to upgrade.

I think that the Pragmatic Programmers made a mistake in deciding not to upgrade their Agile Web Development with Rails, 2nd Edition because they left newcomers in a difficult spot. Developers who are experienced with Rails, will just get Obie’s The Rails Way and be fully covered, but those who are new and would like to get started with Rails don’t have many choices. They can get the Pragmatic Programmers’ Rails title mentioned above, but it’s a bit obsolete now and that means extra effort on their part to follow along, installing an old version of the framework, and then figuring out some way to move to the new features that were introduced by Rails 2.0 (soon to be Rails 2.1). As a matter of fact, when people ask me for a good Rails 2.0 introductory book for programmers, I can’t really name one. So far I’ve suggested getting Dave Thomas’ book or RailsSpace: Building a Social Networking Website with Ruby on Rails, and then moving to The Rails Way when they are ready to take it to the next level. But it’s not an ideal scenario at all.

Alright, to the titles then:

Title: Programming Ruby: The Pragmatic Programmers’ Guide (Third Edition)

Available: May 15, 2008

Notes: Currently in beta, it’s going to be the first book that fully covers Ruby 1.9 and its core and standard libraries.
Title: Simply Rails 2.0

Available: May 15, 2008

Notes: It’s the second edition of an already “gentle” introduction to Rails called Build Your Own Ruby on Rails Web Applications. It covers Rails 2, and if well written, it may be that missing guide for newcomers to Rails and beginner programmers, that I was talking about.
Title: Practical REST on Rails 2 Projects

Available: May 5, 2008

Notes: It’s marketed as a practical intermediate/advanced title for creating RESTful applications. The topic and target audience make it interesting for many web developers.
Title: Agile Testing with Ruby and Rails

Available: May 19, 2008

Notes: It’s supposed to extensively cover TDD and BDD with Ruby and with Rails 2.0.
Title: Advanced Rails Recipes: 84 New Ways to Build Stunning Rails Apps

Available: May 15, 2008

Notes: Currently in beta, it’s a Rails 2.0 cookbook by one of the most prominent developers in the community (Mike Clark).
Title: Deploying Rails Applications: A Step-by-Step Guide

Available: May 15, 2008

Notes: Currently in beta, it’s the book that should alleviate the pain of Rails deployment for many. Ezra is one of the biggest experts in the field, so I have great expectations for this title.
Title: FXRuby: Create Lean and Mean GUIs with Ruby

Available: May April 15, 2008

Notes: Currently in beta, it covers cross-platform development with FXRuby, the Ruby wrapper for the FOX toolkit. The author, Lyle Johnson, is also the author of the gem.

I can’t speak firsthand for any of these books, having not had the opportunity to read them yet, but knowing some of the talent behind them I certainly have high hopes.

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10 Responses to “7 soon to be released Ruby and Rails books”

  1. Lyle Johson says:

    Thanks for the mention of the FXRuby book, Antonio! I just wanted to note that it should actually be available by April 15 (not May 15).

  2. softmind says:


    You missed to mention 2 new books from wrox.

    One is just out and another is coming next month.

    Just for information

    SoftMind Technology

  3. railsjedi says:

    I’ve read through Advanced Rails Recipes beta book and it’s proved really useful.

  4. Chriss says:

    Does it make sense to buy the 3rd edition of the Pickaxe as Ruby 1.9 isn´t made for producive use, and I need to use Ruby for productive use…

  5. Antonio, I recommend you check out Flanagan’s [_The Ruby Programming Language_](, released just a few months ago. It’s a refreshing alternative to the pickaxe and manages good coverage of 1.9—though it is less of a reference tome (readers can turn to the RDocs instead).

  6. @Lyle

    Thanks for stopping by. I corrected the release month, but you may want to inform, as they’re still listing May as the release date. :)


    Oh boy, they pop up like mushrooms, don’t they? :D I assume you’re referring to Professional Ruby on Rails and The Art of Rails: The Coming Age of Web Development. While the first doesn’t belong on the list, since it was published back in February, I wasn’t aware of the second one. It’s possible that there may even be further upcoming titles, too. The second title by Wrox seems to focus on the design patterns and methodologies of web development with examples of code written in Ruby/Rails. These kinds of books are usually either excellent, useful, inspiring, etc… or miss the mark entirely. If I manage to get hold of a copy I’ll let you know what I think.


    I guess it makes sense having Ruby 1.9 coverage for libraries and gem developers and for those who want to be prepared for the stable version which I assume will come out next Christmas as per tradition (Ruby 2.0).


    I didn’t include the title, since it was already published, but I’ve heard great things about The Ruby Programming Language. I’ll need to get hold of a copy as soon as possible so that I can check it out and decide if I should include it in my recommendation page.

    PS: Sorry but the blog doesn’t accept markdown. HTML is welcome.

  7. Ben says:

    Hi Antonio – let me echo Lyle’s thanks (though in my case, it’s for mentioning Practical REST on Rails 2 Projects). I’m really excited to see the proliferation of books around Rails, and hope that different audiences can benefit from it all.

  8. Timo says:

    I wanted to check out Agile Web Development With Rails but since it covers Rails 1.2 I’ll have to pass that one :( I just started learning Rails and I believe that this would have been *the book* for newcomers like me. So instead I ordered RailsSpace as you suggested. I’m also about to buy The Rails Way after that.

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