Pref for beginner book: Wrox (Holzner) or Ruby for Rails?

I'm a beginner. I've done the apple tutorial, Agile ROR (the depot app, I stopped after that, a little to advanced with no base knowledge of Ruby), Why's guide and my copy of Chris Pine's book today. After Pine, I'm going to buy either the Wrox book or Ruby for Rails book. I did a search and there's not too much on the Wrox book (Holzner) and the Ruby for Rails book has been given good reviews. Anyone familiar with both? Where I'm at: almost no programming knowledge except for the above readings in the last two weeks.

Thanks, JD

How about something other than a book? I liked the rails video. I tried a few books, but I found that I retained more from the videos than the books. The books are great for reference though.

just my 2 cents. Good luck!

I'm not familiar with Pine's book ... so I don't know where that will put you in the stream of things once you're done. Not going to do the Pickaxe? You may want to consider that.

That said, I'd go with Black's Ruby for Rails. Really takes a Ruby focus as it applies to Rails and just has you dabble in Rails here and there, then go back to your Depot app and start over again, this time with a better grip on Ruby. The WROX book wasn't quite my style for Ruby learning, although I'm sure others will find it a useful resource.

I started the same way ... caught up in Rails before I had a foundation in Ruby. Went back and hit the books (pickaxe, then Ruby for Rails), then stirred up the Kentucky Ruby Users Group from a little slump and just stuck to it.

Don't give up. You'll get it.


ps ... you can also take a look at Geoff's to see if that style of learning fits you. He does a nice job.

Ok, a friend lent me a copy of the pickaxe book. I haven't touched it because I figured it would be too far advanced. Maybe I should jump to that after Pine's book?

Thanks, JD

And I just looked at Lynda. I have looked at all of the other beginner threads, this is the first I have heard about it -- and I think I'm probably going to subscribe. It looks very good.

I looked at Holzner's book and Justin Williams "Beginning Rails Solutions" (something like that) for an hour or so. Both seemed to be pretty well-written and complete, and accessible to beginning programmers. The Ruby for Rails and "AWDR v. 2" I regard as must-have books for when you get down to it.

I used the "Build your own Ruby on Rails Web Applications" book by Patrick Lenz and published by Sitepoint. Published in Jan 07, it's pretty straightforward and does a good job of walking you thru building a complete application with tagging, etc. I thought there was enough Ruby information to plow thru it.

I also like the "Agile Web Development with Rails" book but it was a little too dense for me for starters (I started programming in Ruby/ Rails about 6 weeks ago), so the Lenz book was very good.

Now I've moved on to the Ruby for Rails book which is very good, but I would recommend the Lenz book first, from my experience.


David's Ruby for rails is really good. Check it out...

My approach has been almost identical to yours. (I began with no programming experience at all.) I started with Pine's online version of How to Code (or whatever it's called) and read through Why's Guide, more for its entertainment value than actual learning. Then I got the Pickaxe and the Agile Rails books. I got a little intimidated after starting with the Agile book, since I felt like it was speaking over my head in many ways, using terms that would be familiar to programmers, but not to me. I put the Agile book down for a while, and then picked up Holzner at a Barnes and Noble. It was reassuring and seemed to explain things in different ways, and I felt like it helped me feel like I could code. But then ... as soon as it gave me the momentum to get going again, I moved back to the Agile book (2.0 this time), and have been working with that since then.

I haven't seen Black's Ruby for Rails, but based on the comments here, I'd go with that one.

+1 for Ruby for Rails. I really enjoyed this book and felt it really filled in the gaps in Ruby syntax that I didn't get from the Agile book.

Thanks, guys. This has become a good thread. I think I'm going to go with the Lynda site. After that I'll see where I'm at: if I feel comfortable, I'm going to go straight to the PickAxe and then finish AROR. If I still feel a little weak, then Holzner or SitePoint's book (probably Holzner, as it's $6 on Amazon for a pdf).

I'd be curious if anyone else had tried Lynda (I'll probably buy the subscription next week, when I'm done with Pine)? It's $25 a month ($99 to buy a specific video set), but there are a few other videos I'd like to tackle -- CSS, XHTML, Javascript are all covered. They don't have any linux or Unix courses (I came from a PC background when I was a HS comp. geek, then bought a Mac and forgot about computers in college, and now I'm just delving into OSX's core). So I don't have money to waste, but it seems like a good deal.

Watching the videos isn’t really going to teach you what you said you wanted to know… which was Ruby. The best way to learn Ruby is to read the Pickaxe book. The Ruby for Rails book is awesome, but it’s more geared towards understanding why Rails does things the way it does. Pickaxe is a great reference too.

I do training for rails developers quite frequently… hit me up if you have some specific questions and I can point you in the right direction.

haha. Well, now where the hell do I go? :slight_smile:

Well, I was about to purchase and found out to get the exercises and videos it costs $375. That is money that I don't have right now, so that's out of the question. I'm probably just going to go with the pickaxe book and hope for the best. Worst case scenario is I'll get stuck, go to B&N and buy either the Holzner or SitePoint book.

When I started down the ruby on rails track, I did the agile book. found it useful and a little over my head. I've programmed before so I was familiar with the concept of OOP. But I was not familiar with frameworks or ruby. The "Ruby for Rails" book was a big help for me. I learned a little more about Ruby and that was very helpful.

my 2 cents.



If you decide to use my tutorial, everyting in the exercise files is also in the videos. If you follow straight through the videos, you won't need the exercise files--you'll create them yourself as you go. The files are helpful if you want to skip around the chapters because you can pull up the files for that chapter and be ready to work.

Best of luck to you whichever way you decide to go.

HTH, Kevin Skoglund

=> Online Video Training for Ruby on Rails! => Ruby on Rails Essential Training =>

I went to B&N. The Lenz SitePoint book seems to be the best beginner book available. It's very comprehensive, covering a decent amount of DB/Unix basics, basic Ruby, basic OOP, and Ruby On Rails. I may not buy it, though. (Just for beginner archive ref, the Holzner book is ok, but seems to be somewhere in between Lenz and AgileROR, thus not of much use to many.)

I'm going to start Programming Ruby (I'm recreating an app similar to the Depot app too) although I skimmed it and it doesn't seem to have any exercises. So I'm not exactly sure how to approach it -- maybe give myself memory tests after each section. If I find it too tedious, I'll buy the Lenz book.


I checked out the Lenz book as well while I was at B&N, and I think I may end up getting it. I bought the Agile book and have been reading it for the last week solid. I am just learning RoR, and so far the Agile book has been great for that. The Agile book, along with the Lenz book, and the Ruby on Rails book by David Black seems to be a good combination. Oh, and the Pickaxe book I also think is must-have. It will get you up to speed on Ruby, where as the other get you more acquainted with Rails.