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Ruby on Rails 3 Tutorial: Learn Rails by Example (Addison-Wesley Professional Ruby Series)

Book Review Team
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Author/s    : Michael Hartl
Publisher   : Addison-Wesley Professional
Category   : Other
Review by : Greg Charles
Rating        : 9 horseshoes

"Ruby on Rails 3 Tutorial" is an excellent introduction to creating web sites with the Ruby on Rails (RoR) framework. It targets developers new to Ruby and Rails and even those new to web development in general. The friendly, conversational tone invites the reader in while copious footnotes expand on basic concepts for people who just need to know every detail.

After a couple of chapters of setup, the book focuses on building a single application, with each chapter enhancing it with another feature. I've always been a fan of this style. It makes the examples seem much more "real world" and lets the patient reader, who really follows it through from start to finish, learn a lot more than just Rails.

The author is clearly an expert at the Ruby language and the Rails framework, but more than that, is a working software engineer who introduces best practices throughout the text. The daunting first chapter walks through setting up Ruby, Rails, and also the Sqlite database, Git (and GitHub) for source code control, and Heroku for live deployments of the Rails web apps. At the same time, it manages to cram in a quick introduction to concepts such as Gems and Gem Sets, the Model-View-Controller (MVC) pattern, and Test Driven Development (TDD). Later chapters reinforce and build on the foundation laid by chapter one.

I can see some readers being put off by the amount of setup work it takes just to get started, but for me it was worth the effort. By being immersed in the whole RoR paradigm, from development to testing to deployment, I was able to really appreciate what it would take to run a real Rails project. I highly recommend this book.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for writing this review on behalf of CodeRanch.

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