The Rails 4 Way (3rd Edition) Paperback – May 29 2014
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Praise for The Rails Way
"For intermediates and above, I strongly recommend adding this title to your technical bookshelf. There is simply no other Rails title on the market at this time that offers the technical depth of the framework than The Rails™ 3 Way."
—Mike Riley, Dr. Dobb’s Journal
"I highly suggest you get this book. Software moves fast, especially the Rails API, but I feel this book has many core API and development concepts that will be useful for a while to come."
—Matt Polito, software engineer and member of Chicago Ruby User Group
"This book should live on your desktop if you’re a Rails developer. It’s nearly perfect in my opinion."
—Luca Pette, developer
"The Rails™ 3 Way is likely to take you from being a haphazard poke-a-stick-at-it programmer to a deliberate, skillful, productive, and confident RoR developer."
—Katrina Owen, JavaRanch
"I can positively say that it’s the single best Rails book ever published to date. By a long shot."
—Antonio Cangiano, software engineer and technical evangelist at IBM
"This book is a great crash course in Ruby on Rails! It doesn’t just document the features of Rails, it filters everything through the lens of an experienced Rails developer—so you come out a pro on the other side."
—Dirk Elmendorf, cofounder of Rackspace Inc. and Rails developer
"The key to The Rails Way is in the title. It literally covers the 'way' to do almost everything with Rails. Writing a truly exhaustive reference to the most popular web application framework used by thousands of developers is no mean feat. A thankful community of developers that has struggled to rely on scant documentation will embrace The Rails Way with open arms. A tour de force!"
—Peter Cooper, editor, Ruby Inside: The Ruby Blog
"In the past year, dozens of Rails books have been rushed to publication. A handful are good. Most regurgitate rudimentary information easily found on the Web. Only this book provides both the broad and deep technicalities of Rails. Nascent and expert developers, I recommend you follow The Rails Way."
—Martin Streicher, chief technology officer, McClatchy Interactive, former editor in chief of Linux Magazine
"Hal Fulton’s The Ruby Way has always been by my side as a reference while programming Ruby. Many times I had wished there was a book that had the same depth and attention to detail, only focused on the Rails framework. That book is now here and hasn’t left my desk for the past month."
—Nate Klaiber, Ruby programmer
"I knew soon after becoming involved with Rails that I had found something great. Now, with Obie’s book, I have been able to step into Ruby on Rails development coming from .NET and be productive right away. The applications I have created I believe to be a much better quality due to the techniques I learned using Obie’s knowledge."
—Robert Bazinet, InfoQ.com, .NET, and Ruby community editor and founding member of the Hartford Ruby Brigade
"Extremely well written; it’s a resource that every Rails programmer should have. Yes, it’s that good."
—Reuven Lerner, Linux Journal columnist
About the Author
Obie Fernandez, Chief Technology Officer of Lean Startup Machine, has been hacking computers since he got his first Commodore VIC-20 in the 1980s. He helped program some of the world’s first Java enterprise projects and founded Atlanta’s Extreme Programming User Group (later Agile Atlanta). At world-renowned consultancies ThoughtWorks and his own Hashrocket, Obie focused on tackling high-risk projects, including some of the world’s first enterprise Ruby on Rails projects.
Kevin Faustino, Founder and Chief Craftsman of Remarkable Labs in Toronto, Canada, has specialized in Ruby since 2008. He founded the Toronto Ruby Brigade, which hosts tech talks, hack nights, book clubs, and other events.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
As I wrote in my negative review of another Rails book listed at Amazon, The Rails 4 Way has great coverage of all the new features in Rails 4 (unlike certain Rails books). Also, The Rails 4 Way has been updated to include coverage of Rails 4.1 features, including Spring, secrets.yml, etc. I'm surprised that the Book Description section here at Amazon doesn't mention Rails 4.1.
I buy just about every Rails book that's published and I toss them all in a directory that's indexed for full-text searching. In the past, when I wanted more info about a Rails feature than what is provided by the official Rails documentation and Rails Guides, I searched my library of books. But lately, when I want more info, I just open The Rails 4 Way. It usually has what I'm looking for. As the introduction of The Rails 4 Way states, "This book is not a tutorial or basic introduction to Ruby or Rails. It is meant as a day-to-day reference for the full-time Rails developer." This is how I use The Rails 4 Way, and it's the best Rails reference book I own.
My only complaint is that my DRM-free PDF edition of The Rails 4 Way doesn't include an index. I see that the print edition does include a index, but the preview of the Kindle edition doesn't show an index. If you plan to buy the Kindle edition and you want an index, I'd recommend contacting the publisher to ensure that an index is included in the Kindle edition.
I want to write a short and accurate review that explains why i gave the rating I did, so I will not be going into the good parts of the book. This will make the review seem unbalanced and heavy handed. Having disclosed that up front should dispel it as a criticism of this review.
Issues from most severe to least:
1] Index is terrible (ex: "params hash", "Strong Parameters" entries are incomplete/missing). These 2 specific entries had no excuse to be so thin on coverage as Rails has exactly 2 use cases that form the bulk of deployed applications: complex cruds and web api (rest/json/soap/xml). Both of which require an understanding of the params hash and the *new to Rails v4* strong parameters. An index is very much like the hash data structure, allowing someone to turn a keyword into a reference to the object they are looking for. This made its deficiencies painfully ironic and inexcusable. The next edition's index should be twice the size.
2] Content seems scraped from Rails API docs, that's only acceptable if there's significant additional analysis information not in the API docs (not the case here)
3] The book should be twice as long (at least), as such you will frequently see the phrase "covering this topic is beyond the scope of this book". Really? If it's about RAILS in a book called "The Rails Way" it shouldn't be beyond the scope of the book. I blame this particular issue on the methodology of the book (see #4).
4] If they had taken the cliche "we will build an app throughout the book" approach, #1, #2 and #3 would likely have been remedied thru necessity. The book does not follow this narrative and thus feels like it has no arc (contrast this with the Manning Pub Book "Rails 4 In Action", which is not perfect either but much better nonetheless.)
As for me, I was able to find the info I needed on the Rails doc sites + browsing a few blog entries and StackOverflow questions. This makes the inadequacy of the book especially appalling since the Rails community is so rich with resources to build a fully realized rails "bible".
I jumped into this book pretty green as far as web development is concerned. I have a lot of experience on the front-end but had only dabbled on the back-end. I did have basic Ruby and Rails experience but nothing major. I really wanted to learn my way around Rails but also understand how and why things worked the way they did. This book really helped to answer those questions.
The first few chapters were a bit difficult to get through primarily because it was very basic information (configuration, Rails routing, REST, etc.). After that, it got really exciting (for me) as it dove into the specifics of the framework.
I highly recommend this book to anyone wanting to learn more about Rails and I think it's suitable for almost any experience level. There are certain topics that were too complex for me to understand in the context of the book, so I used a flashcard as my bookmark and wrote down any concepts that were difficult. Googling it and rereading that section of the book really helped get the point across.
If I had to pick one negative about the book, it would be that it is opinionated as far as configuration. This can be assumed, though, because it is documenting the Rails Way. For instance, Haml and Rspec are used extensively over ERb and TestUnit. I had no experience with these prior to the book, but was excited to learn about them because they do seem to be the go-to libraries for big Rails shops (Hashrocket, Thoughtbot, etc.)
Overall, 5/5. I've read it once and picked up a lot of knowledge. I plan to use it extensively and re-read sections as needed when an issue arises. If you're a complete beginner, I'd start off with the Hartl tutorial and then go through this book.
Just like Rails itself, "The Rails 4 Way" is opinionated and occasionally differs from the omakase way; Most notoriously, but hardly controversial, using Haml as a template engine and Rspec for testing.
Most of the book can be read cover-to-cover or used as a reference on particular topics. The exception is section about rails helpers (Chapter 11) which, as the author themselves point out, is really just an alphabetical listing of the methods available, like the one usually found on appendices or online documentation.
I recommend this book to new Rails developers (maybe after trying out an online tutorial) and for experienced Rails developers who are still working on Rails 3 (or 2!) and are expecting to make the jump to Rails 4 in the near future.