Ruby may have lost some of its shine in recent months to JavaScript and Node.js, but it's still one of the most popular programming languages out there, and it's still growing.

There are a large number of beginner's Ruby resources out there, and the material is diverse. Here are a few places to get started.

Hackety Hack

This isn't actually an e-book, but an interactive tutorial. It runs on Windows, OSX or Linux. It's designed for kids, but anyone can learn to program using it. We covered it here previously.

It was created by _why the lucky stiff, something of a legend in the Ruby scene. _why disappeared from the Web in 2009, and Steve Klabnik has taken over the project.

_why's (Poignant Guide) to Ruby

Also by _why, this illustrated guide to Ruby may be totally engrossing to some readers and too outlandish for others. It's straight-forward, and easy to read but contains many cartoons and completely unrelated sidebars. I've never seen a programming book like it.

_why deleted the book when he exited the Internet, but there are many mirrors. This seems to be the best place to find it.

Mr. Neighborly's Humble Little Ruby Book

Another quirky beginner's guide is Mr. Neighborly's Humble Little Ruby Book by Jeremy McAnally. This one is a little more conventional than the Poignant Guide, but still contains a strong authorial voice.

Programming Ruby: The Pragmatic Programmers' Guide

If you're tired of quirk and just want a big, meaty guide to Ruby check out Programming Ruby: The Pragmatic Programmers' Guide from The Pragmatic Bookshelf, frequently referred to as "Pickaxe." It's considered by many to be the definitive guide to Ruby, and the first edition available for free. The updated second edition will cost you, however.

Learn to Program

Learn to Program by Chris Pine is a popular beginner's book on programming that centers using Ruby as its starter language. If you want to learn Ruby and you've never programmed, or need a refresher, this is a good place to start. (If you want to learn to program, but want to use JavaScript or Python as your starter language, see here and here).

How To Think Like a Computer Scientist: Learning With Ruby

How To Think Like a Computer Scientist: Learning With Ruby by Elizabeth Wiethoff is a Ruby port of Allen B. Downey's How To Think Like a Computer Scientist series. It's not yet complete. Other variants can be found at Green Tea Press. The Python version of the book has been used by MIT for an introductory programming course.

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Check out the official Ruby documentation page for more.