20 Recommended Free Books to Learn about Ruby

Ruby is a general purpose, scripting, structured, flexible, fully object-oriented programming language with a focus on simplicity and productivity. Ruby is a very conservative language. It’s equipped with very carefully chosen features that have been fully tested.

Ruby possesses a high portability running a large number of platforms including Linux, Windows, Mac OS X, Cygwin, FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD, BSD/OS, Solaris, Tru64 UNIX, and HP-UX. The TIOBE Programming Community index currently ranks Ruby in 13th place.

Ruby’s popularity was enhanced by the Ruby on Rails framework, a full-stack web framework which has been used to create many popular applications including Basecamp, GitHub, Shopify, Airbnb, Twitch, SoundCloud, Hulu, Zendesk, Square, and Highrise.

I recommend 20 free books which will teach you the basics of Ruby.  Many of the books are open source. All of them can be read without requiring payment although some of them are available to purchase in paperback or electronic versions. Never underestimate the benefits of buying a printed copy of a programming book, as well as compensating the author for his work.

1. Learn Ruby the Hard Way by Zed A. Shaw


The full title of the book Learn Ruby the Hard Way: A Simple and Idiomatic Introduction to the Imaginative World Of Computational Thinking with Code is a bit of a mouthful.

Don’t be misled by the title of the book. The book is designed for beginners to programming that are looking to learn Ruby. It shows you at a gentle pace how to build basic skills in Ruby programming. It’s a very good introductory text.

Now in its 3rd edition, Learn Ruby the Hard Way Learn Ruby the Hard Way is available to read for free. The video lectures are not included. You can also purchase paper versions of the book.

Read the book

2. Book of Ruby – A Hands-on Guide for the Adventurous by Huw Collingbourne

The-Book-of-RubyThe Book of Ruby describes the secret inner workings of Ruby, helping you learn to write clear, maintainable code.

You’ll start with the basics — types, data structures, and control flows—and progress to advanced features like blocks, mixins, metaclasses, and beyond.

The Book of Ruby takes a hands-on approach. It contains 425 pages in 20 chapters. It is provided in the form of a PDF.

The author of the book is a co-developer of the Ruby In Steel IDE.

Read the book

3. Ruby Best Practices by Gregory T Brown

Ruby Best Practices

Ruby Best Practices aims to help Ruby developers from a wide range of skill levels improve their fundamental understanding of the language via exposure to the common practices and idioms that many seasoned Rubyists take for granted. With a strong emphasis on exploring real codebases, and an understanding that beautiful solutions depend heavily on context, this book lays out a clear road map to Ruby mastery for those who wish to pursue it.

Written by the developer of the Ruby project Prawn, this concise book explains how to design beautiful APIs and domain-specific languages with Ruby, as well as how to work with functional programming ideas and techniques that can simplify your code and make you more productive. You’ll learn how to write code that’s readable, expressive, and much more.

The book’s website has been down for years. But a PDF copy is available. Definitely one to download.

Read the book

4. Ruby Hacking Guide by Aoki-san

Ruby Hacking GuideRuby Hacking Guide is a book intended for advanced programmers. The book explains how the Ruby 1.7.x-1.8.x interpreter (the official C implementation of the Ruby language) works internally.

This book was originally written in Japanese, and has been translated into English. Some chapters are previews.

Read the book

5. I Love Ruby by A.K. Karthikeyan


I love Ruby: Get started with the greatest programming language made for humans is suitable for anyone interested in learning Ruby.

Its examples are designed for Ruby 2.5.

You can grab this book from And the complete book with source code is available from the author’s GitLab repository. There’s also paperback and Kindle version available to purchase.

Read the book

Next page: Page 2 – Programming Ruby – The Pragmatic Programmer’s Guide and more books

Pages in this article:
Page 1 – My Strongest Recommendations
Page 2 – Programming Ruby – The Pragmatic Programmer’s Guide and more books
Page 3 – Learn to Program and more books
Page 4 – Developing Games With Ruby and more books

All books in this series:

Free Programming Books
JavaGeneral-purpose, concurrent, class-based, object-oriented, high-level language
CGeneral-purpose, procedural, portable, high-level language
PythonGeneral-purpose, structured, powerful language
C++General-purpose, portable, free-form, multi-paradigm language
C#Combines the power and flexibility of C++ with the simplicity of Visual Basic
JavaScriptInterpreted, prototype-based, scripting language
PHPPHP has been at the helm of the web for many years
HTMLHyperText Markup Language
SQLAccess and manipulate data held in a relational database management system
RubyGeneral purpose, scripting, structured, flexible, fully object-oriented language
AssemblyAs close to writing machine code without writing in pure hexadecimal
SwiftPowerful and intuitive general-purpose programming language
GroovyPowerful, optionally typed and dynamic language
GoCompiled, statically typed programming language
PascalImperative and procedural language designed in the late 1960s
PerlHigh-level, general-purpose, interpreted, scripting, dynamic language
RDe facto standard among statisticians and data analysts
COBOLCommon Business-Oriented Language
ScalaModern, object-functional, multi-paradigm, Java-based language
FortranThe first high-level language, using the first compiler
ScratchVisual programming language designed for 8-16 year-old children
LuaDesigned as an embeddable scripting language
LogoDialect of Lisp that features interactivity, modularity, extensibility
RustIdeal for systems, embedded, and other performance critical code
LispUnique features - excellent to study programming constructs
AdaALGOL-like programming language, extended from Pascal and other languages
HaskellStandardized, general-purpose, polymorphically, statically typed language
SchemeA general-purpose, functional language descended from Lisp and Algol
PrologA general purpose, declarative, logic programming language
ForthImperative stack-based programming language
ClojureDialect of the Lisp programming language
JuliaHigh-level, high-performance language for technical computing
AwkVersatile language designed for pattern scanning and processing language
CoffeeScriptTranscompiles into JavaScript inspired by Ruby, Python and Haskell
BASICBeginner’s All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code
ErlangGeneral-purpose, concurrent, declarative, functional language
VimLPowerful scripting language of the Vim editor
OCamlThe main implementation of the Caml language
ECMAScriptBest known as the language embedded in web browsers
BashShell and command language; popular both as a shell and a scripting language
LaTeXProfessional document preparation system and document markup language
TeXMarkup and programming language - create professional quality typeset text
ArduinoInexpensive, flexible, open source microcontroller platform
TypeScriptStrict syntactical superset of JavaScript adding optional static typing
ElixirRelatively new functional language running on the Erlang virtual machine
F#Uses functional, imperative, and object-oriented programming methods
TclDynamic language based on concepts of Lisp, C, and Unix shells
FactorDynamic stack-based programming language
EiffelObject-oriented language designed by Bertrand Meyer
AgdaDependently typed functional language based on intuitionistic Type Theory
IconWide variety of features for processing and presenting symbolic data
XMLRules for defining semantic tags describing structure ad meaning
ValaObject-oriented language, syntactically similar to C#
Standard MLGeneral-purpose functional language characterized as "Lisp with types"
DGeneral-purpose systems programming language with a C-like syntax
DartClient-optimized language for fast apps on multiple platforms
MarkdownPlain text formatting syntax designed to be easy-to-read and easy-to-write
KotlinMore modern version of Java
Objective-CObject-oriented language that adds Smalltalk-style messaging to C
PureScriptSmall strongly, statically typed language compiling to JavaScript
Share this article

Share your Thoughts

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.