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Ruby is a general-purpose dynamic and object-oriented programming language. It was designed and developed in 1995 by Yukihiro Matsumoto in Japan. Ruby is available on many platforms Linux, BSD, Solaris, AIX, Mac OS, and many other platforms.

Ruby is widely adopted in web development, many of the top notch websites were created using Ruby; twitter.com, Groupon.com, Hulu.com, Scribd.com, Slideshare.com, Zendesk.com, funnyordie.com, fithub.com, Yellow Pages, twitch.tv, and ask.fm are just example of websites created using Ruby. Rails is the most widely used framework for Ruby, but there are other frameworks that Ruby can work on.

This post is a guide for anyone willing to Ruby from scratch, the post will present and compare between the best free online sources where beginners can start from and follow along, the sources stated here are full structured courses so you won’t find a link to a single video or unrelated tutorials. It’s worth noting that the sources stated in this post will concentrate on Ruby only not Ruby on Rails (RoR).

If you just want the bottom line (the road map to learn Ruby) and you don’t wish to read the entire article then go to the “Bottom Line” section at the end of the article.

Start Learning Ruby online for Free from Scratch

Codecademy

Codecademy is the first free online outlet where beginners can start learning Ruby from scratch. Joining Codecademy is pretty simple; just register using your email and you’re ready to go.

Structure: The course is an interactive course; it’s divided into sections and each section is divided into lessons. At the end of each lesson there’s a small quiz that you’ve to solve in order to proceed to the next lesson “don’t worry; there are helpful tips that will guide you”.

Interface: The user interface on Codecademy is quite simple; the page is divided into 4 sections:

  1. Lesson body section (explanation).
  2. Quiz section, you shall find the tips just under it.
  3. Body section; where you type your code.
  4. Your code output section.

 1 - Codecademy Ruby Course, learn Ruby online, learn Ruby free, how learn Ruby, Ruby tutorialsYou’re awarded with badges for the lessons you finish, which is really encouraging. Now to the pros and cons:

Pros

  1. Free.
  2. The course is well-structured and organized for beginners.
  3. Badges are really encouraging.

Cons

  1. The course covers an old release of Ruby 1.9; though that might not be a problem for beginners.

Verdict: This’s one of the best places for any beginner to start learning Ruby online for free.

Learn Street (Update: Closed)

Learn Street is the second free online outlet where beginners can start learning Ruby from scratch. You need to register in order to have access to the course.

Structure: The course is an interactive course; it’s divided into sections and each section is divided into lessons. You apply what you learn in an on screen editor. The difference between this outlet and Codecademy is that there are videos that accompany some of the lessons.

Interface: The user interface on Learn Street is very simple; the page is divided into 2 sections:

  1. Lesson body section; which is divided into the overview, exercise, contents and the glossary sections.
  2. The editor where you type your code.

 2 - Learn Street Ruby Course, learn Ruby online, learn Ruby free, how learn Ruby, Ruby tutorialsNow, to the pros and cons:

Pros

  1. Free.
  2. The course is well-structured and organized for beginners.
  3. The video that accompany the lessons is really beneficial.

Cons

  1. The videos that accompany the lessons aren’t from the same instructor so the experience won’t be consistent.

Verdict: This is one of the best places for beginners to start learning Ruby online for free; it’s very suitable for those who prefer interactive courses with videos.

Ruby Monk

Ruby Monk is the third free online outlet where beginners can start learning Ruby from scratch. You don’t need to register in order to have access to the course.

Structure: The course is a text-based course with an interactive code editor; the course is divided into sections (beginners section, intermediate section and advanced section) each section is divided into lessons and each lesson covers certain topics in Ruby.

Interface: The user interface is very simple; you just click on the section you’re interested in and you’ll be directed to that section’s page where you can start the lesson.

 3 - Ruby Monk Ruby Course, learn Ruby online, learn Ruby free, how learn Ruby, Ruby tutorialsNow, to the pros and cons:

Pros

  1. Free.
  2. The course is well-organized for beginners.

Cons

  1. You need to have some programming background in order to start learning Ruby from this source.

Verdict: The course isn’t suitable complete beginners who have no programming background.

The New Boston

The New Boston is the fourth free online outlet where beginner can start learning Ruby through video tutorials. You don’t need to register in order to have access to the course, just go to the website and you’re ready to go.

Structure: The course is divided into 32 video tutorials that cover every topic in Ruby.

Interface: The interface is very simple, just go to the website and click on the topic you’re interested in and you’ll be directed to the video’s window.

 4 - The New Boston Ruby Course,learn Ruby online, learn Ruby free, how learn Ruby, Ruby tutorialsNow, the pros and cons:

Pros

  1. Free.
  2. The course is well-structured and organized for beginners.

Cons

  1. The course is available as video only which might be a problem for those who prefer interactive courses where they can write the code and see it executed on screen.

Verdict: This is source is suitable for those who prefer video only tutorials.

Bottom Line

The recipe for learning Ruby

  1. If you prefer interactive courses then Codecademy is your way to go.
  2. If you prefer video only tutorials then The New Boston is best place for you.
  3. If you prefer studying from books then the free books Humble Little Ruby Book and Learn to Program are your best choice.

Remember that the first step is always the toughest step, and the aim of this post is to provide you with resources that will help you take your first step in Ruby.