My votes would have to be for both of David Black's efforts, "Ruby
for Rails" and "The Well Groomed Rubist". The latter is claimed by
the author to be an update of the first, but having rad both several
times I find only a vague resemblance between them. The first is more
Rails oriented than the later, by intent, but both are very good
studies of Ruby using Rails as a representative sample of what Ruby is
When compared with the first two, "The Rails Way" by Obie Fernandez is
a detailed examination of the features of Rails 2.0. It is already
dated of course. Truth be known, anything in print about Rails is
dated. Nonetheless, it has a large amount of detailed information
about various aspects of Rails, most of which is still valid, and how
they are used, together with some useful dissenting commentary from
others beside the author. I think that this is a required volume for
anyone seriously working with Rails.
I have all of the AWPwRoR books. These are frequently recommended.
If you are an experienced web application designer and are simply
looking for a guide as to how to transfer your existing skills into
Ruby then this extended walk-through of a simple, yet non-trivial,
project is certainly helpful. If you are not an experienced web
application designer then I am afraid that these books will frequently
leave you asking yourself the question: Huh???... They are very good
in themselves, but they tend to assume a large body of pre-existing
Another book that you simply must have if you are doing Ruby work is
"The Ruby Programming Language" by Flanagan & Matsumoto. Enough said.