Monthly Archives: February 2014

My Favorite Free Ruby and Rails Resources

Metaprogramming Ruby by Paolo Perrotta

This excellent book is worth buying. Great for beginner and intermediate programmers. He makes the important distinction between metaprogramming: writing code that writes code, e.g. generators, and metaprogramming: writing code into the language in order to solve problems.

Rails Guides

I was lucky to have a mentor that stressed the importance of the Rails Guides to me as I learned. As someone who now teaches others about Ruby and Rails. I can’t stress this resource enough. Read them from start to finish and you’ll already know as much as a lot of Jr. Rails Developers.

Chris Pine’s Learning to Program (Ruby)

The best beginner tutorial for Ruby that I’m aware of. Less than a year ago, I burnt through this book in just a few hours of dedicated study. At the time the only experience I’ve had with programming is what I had done on Code Academy: less than half the Ruby course. Which leads me to my next amazing resource…


The platform has bugs sometimes, and isn’t always the most intuitive, but the game theory behind it’s badge system is solid. I owe a lot to Codecademy. I’ve spent many hours working through tutorials in many of their paths and I am proud to have a 69-point one-day record.


SO is a phenomenal community and resource for programmers studying just about any language. If you haven’t signed up yet, do so!


I’m not even sure I should mention this because it’s so obvious to me now, but it would be silly to think novices are universally aware of it. GitHub is the coder’s social network. It’s where we share our code-bases and help each other with projects. There are other places that are kind of like it, but GitHub is really the de facto industry standard and incredibly effective at what it strives to achieve. I’ve learned more from looking at other people’s code than I could possibly quantify.

PROTIPS: When looking at new source code for the first time, start in the specs(test) folder. The acceptance tests should give you some sort of idea what value the application provides to the user. The unit tests will tell you what the different parts are supposed to do. As Rails developers we’re extremely lucky to be a part of a community that values testing and puts an emphasis on it. I once read that great tests make good documentation. From there I usually examine the schema.db (in a rails app) and begin poking around the Gemfile and the routes and the MVC architecture.

MORE PROTIPS: Follow me on GitHub, and contribute to SelfGovern!

[YOUR CITY] Ruby Group

I try to go to at least a couple Ruby meetups every month. Honestly, that’s probably not even enough. If I was really smart, I’d go to one every weekend. If you’re in Boston, the meetup here is insane! Well over a hundred developers frequent the BostonRB meetups every month and you’d be hard pressed to find a friendlier group of people.

Ruby Weekly

Sign. Up. For. This. Newsletter. I’m serious. Every week I receive this wonderful compilation of relevant and late-breaking study material. If you’re serious about diving into Ruby and the surround community YOU WILL SIGN UP FOR THIS NEWSLETTER. I promise you, I would not lead you to a spammy, useless, annoying, data-mining, marketing ploy that so many newsletters tend to be. These gems (haha get it?) are packed with articles and blog posts from developers across the skill spectrum and across the country (world?).

Crafting Rails 4 Applications

Definitely for developers who’ve been coding a bit longer and have a solid grasp on Rails. Check it out, it’s current, Rails 4 isn’t going anywhere until at least this summer.

I’ll probably add more to this list as I see fit…