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Professional Ruby on Rails Paperback – Mar 4 2008
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From the Back Cover
Professional Ruby on Rails
Nothing less than a revolution in the way web applications are constructed,Ruby on Rails (RoR) boasts a straightforward and intuitive nature that avoids programming repetition and makes it infinitely easier to build for the web. Over the years, RoR has undergone numerous internal changes while programming techniques have evolved. This book captures the current best practices to show you the most efficient way to build a spectacular web application with RoR.
Preparing you to build a real, live, and complex web application, this invaluable resource covers all the questions that aren't addressed in introductory material, including how to manage users and security, organize a team of programmers, automate common build tasks, secure your site, and deploy a production server. You'll learn everything you need to know in order to extend Rails so that you can take advantage of the many exciting and wonderful things that are being done by the diligent RoR programming community.
What you will learn from this book
How to write automated tests for all parts of your Rails application
Why rake is a handy tool for automating commonly performed actions
Ways to manage time zones and internationalization
How to deploy Ruby applications using Capistrano, Mongrel, and Apache
Techniques for installing and running a Rails application in Java
Current security techniques, including prevention of cross-site scripting attacks
Who this book is for
This book is for RoR programmers, software and web developers, designers, and architects who are looking to expand their knowledge of the Rails framework.
Wrox Professional guides are planned and written by working programmers to meet the real-world needs of programmers, developers, and IT professionals. Focused and relevant, they address the issues technology professionals face every day. They provide examples, practical solutions, and expert education in new technologies, all designed to help programmers do a better job.
About the Author
Noel Rappin is the Director of Rails Practice at Pathfinder Associates ( www.pathfinderagile.com ), and has nearly a decade of experience with web application programming. Noel has a Ph.D. from the Georgia Institute of Technology, where he studied how to teach object - oriented design concepts. He is the co - author of Jython Essentials and wxPython in Action. You can read more of Noel ’ s writing at both the Pathfinder Agile Ajax blog (http://blogs.pathf.com/agileajax) and his own blog (http://10printhello.blogspot.com).
Inside This Book(Learn More)
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
This book absolutely delivers on its promise to "fill the void" between beginner books and recipe/cookbook style books. It is the one-stop resource I've been seeking since Rails hit the streets.
I bought this book hesitantly as there were no reviews yet. I've purchased at least a dozen books on RoR over the past 2-years, some good, some average, some not so good. I can honestly say this is the best coverage of RoR I've read - without hesitation! I've only written one other review here at Amazon which was for David Black's "Ruby for Rails" which was a great book a few years ago if you didn't know Ruby programming.
I own AWDR I & II, Pick Axe, Recipes I&II, Cookbook etc. etc. Good books in their own right but I was still left not fully understanding key elements of building a solid, well tested enterprise ready site. This resulted in me making a ton of mistakes leading to endless hours of Googling to find others who had encountered the same problems, finding random tutorials, picking up a tip here, a tip there, etc. It was pure scattershot!
My application design was not cohesive and lacked the fundamental building blocks and safeguards necessary for continued growth. For lack of a better analogy, the apps I've built with Rails have been nothing more than patchwork quilts temporarily held together with rapidly disintegrating stitches. Enter "Professional Ruby on Rails."
I received "Professional Ruby on Rails" the other night and thought I'd spend an hour or two skimming chapters and hopefully picking up a couple tips. 7-hours later after fully reading through everything in several chapters I was stunned at how many things I was doing wrong. Noel has done an exceptional job of covering key details that are typically glossed over or go untouched in other books and tutorials.
For example, how many tutorials have you seen where you get step-by-step intimate details on how to generate the models/controllers/scaffolds, run migrations, set up your associations, validations create a snappy View with some nifty AJAX....and then bang......the tutorial ends with "Now write your tests and check it into SVN". Hmmmmmm? Sounds pretty easy, okay...done.
Building the AWDR bookstore was reasonably covered but testing and fixtures were an afterthought. There was a chapter dedicated to testing but was general coverage and did not comply with Rails best practices of test driven development. This book fills that void wonderfully.
In the interest of full disclosure, I'm a hobbyist and don't make my living with web development. I'd rate myself with low-level intermediate Rails skills having built 3 or 4 "personal" projects, trivial in every sense of the word. In early 2007 I had attempted to start a non-trivial project, my "Big Idea". 6-months of agony later, I became so frustrated and lost, I walked away from Rails entirely. The biggest reason for my frustration, also my biggest weakness, was testing and it came back to bite me in the arse on more than a zillion occasions. In short, my app was hopelessly broken and the only solution was to scrap it and start over. Not fun!
Having spent a few nights with the examples and advice in Professional Ruby on Rails, I've come to realize I was going about testing in a completely bass ackwards way. I was also not using SVN properly and missing opportunities left and right to refactor code that is now, in just a few short days of reading this book, so blatantly obvious. I also didn't realize how trivial it was to build your own rake tasks to automate tedious chores I had previously performed manually. And I'm really only halfway through the book!
In short, no Rails book or resource I've read, and I've read a lot, has come close to teaching me exactly when, why, what, where and how to build a real-world application, step by step, like Professional Ruby on Rails. I give it my highest recommendation and feel confident that, thanks to Professional Ruby on Rails, my "Big Idea" now has a chance!
And, as the other reviewer mentioned, it actually writes the tests! Better yet, it often writes the test first. And thank god there wasn't another "intro to ruby/intro to rails/installing rails" chapter at the beginning. Hell, it doesn't even say what a generator and pretty much starts "rails -d mysql soupsonline" with no explanation. This is fantastic! I was so excited.
Most of the first chapter discusses REST and TDD (test driven development) laying a foundation for more advanced rails applications and development techniques. As REST is relatively new to Rails, and a more advanced topic, I thought it was a great start. Routes are on page 8, and Ajax is already in the app by the end of chapter 1 (page 34).
Chapter 2 is using subversion, which at first I was leary of, but then quite accepting. Subversion (and now Git, which unfortunately wasn't big yet when the book was written) is a critical part of the advanced rails development workflow and this chapter is very rails centric in exposing best practices and tips.
I did a lot rails programming back in 2005, and recently picked it up again. This books was by far the most relevant for me, offering high value for time invested and effectively covering newer Rails developments (migrations, ajax support, capistrano, mongrel, etc.).
Also exciting was the fact that this was one of 10 different ruby and/or rails books at the bookstore.
If you are an experienced developer moving to Ruby and Rails, I'd also recommend this book. Take this and the Flannagan/Matz book and you'll be flying in no time.
If you are just moving to Rails 2, this book is perfect as well.
An if you've been working on Rails 2 and want to move to the next level, I think this is also a great book.
As an aside, I generally love the Wrox books. They are uniquely positioned to experienced developers and written by people who are scary in their expertise. They are also written in very clear prose- advanced material without the complex language of experts.
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