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Agile Web Development with Rails 3.2 (Pragmatic Programmers) Fourth Edition Edition

3.6 out of 5 stars 46 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1934356548
ISBN-10: 9781934356548
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Sam Ruby is a prominent software developer who is a co-chair of the W3C HTML Working Group and has made significant contributions to many of the Apache Software Foundation's open source software projects. He is a Senior Technical Staff Member in the Emerging Technologies Group of IBM.

Dave Thomas, as one of the authors of the Agile Manifesto, understands agility. As the author of "Programming Ruby," he understands Ruby. And, as an active Rails developer, he knows Rails.

David Heinemeier Hansson is the creator of the Rails framework.


Product Details

  • Series: Pragmatic Programmers
  • Paperback: 488 pages
  • Publisher: Pragmatic Bookshelf; Fourth Edition edition (March 31, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9781934356548
  • ISBN-13: 978-1934356548
  • ASIN: 1934356549
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 0.9 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #697,155 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I only got into Ruby on Rails in the last year and have been incredibly impressed with it and enthusiastic to grab any book I can to increase my knowledge of it. I was told that Agile Web Development with Rails was "the" Rails book to own, but the only problem was that the fourth edition was not out yet. I looked through a first edition at the local library, but took it with a grain of salt as I knew a lot of that information was outdated, and so, the wait continued and other Rails books I checked out. Finally, this was released and I have now read through the entire book.

It is a little unique over Rails books due to the order of things. Where all the other books tend to start off explaining all the features, terms and and functionality behind the framework and starts working you through a demo app later on, Agile Web Development goes in the opposite direction as it starts you out immediately building the demo app, then the second half of the book goes into the specifics of Rails in more details. As anyone who has read any other edition of this book will already know, you will be building a demo app of a e-commerce store. Although it's not to completion, that's not really the point of it; the app will take you through a handful of different Rails 3 details and by the time you're done reading - or building along - you should have a fairly good grip on how to do different things in Rails. Once in a while, people in the Rails community like DHH and others will chime in with thoughts and tips.

It's a little hard for me to review this book as a complete stranger to Rails, as I have read through other Rails books prior to this.
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Format: Paperback
What happened? The authors are leaders in the field and the publisher is well-known and respected. This is already the 4th edition of the book (that shows its staying power). The book now covers the latest Rails version 3.1. There is a complete application and lots of useful material. So what is so wrong about this book? Is it because the book is actually meant for intermediate learners and not beginners? Well, I am afraid this is not the reason why. I wouldn't recommend this book to any intermediate learners either.

The book suffers from a lack of proper reviews that have pointed out the many pedagogical errors in style, sequence and content that the book has. One must work hard to grasp what is being taught. It requires a lot of motivation, reviewing and double checking. Too much is given at once, in the wrong order and with little explanation (if any). Too much is left open. Proper subject matter review for a consistent explanation isn't available.There is a summary at the end of each chapter, but it is as a statement of goals "achieved" and not an explanation. I could list many examples. One can easily get lost following (or trying to follow...) the book. It can be a real pain.

I have also checked the former, 3rd edition. It is better than this one. For example, the development of the sample application is better explained. In the current edition, a lot of text has been removed, including lots of critical parts needed to understand how the sample application is being built. The reader is left confused, trying to make sense of what is left. Truly bad editing, I must admit. The program code itself has changed dramatically. The new and the old text (program code and explanations) don't work together well at all.
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2 Comments 45 of 54 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback
Agile Web Development gets marketed as the ultimate beginner-to-intermediate guide to developing using Ruby on Rails. I think its target audience is solidly in the intermediate camp. Starting out as a beginner by reading this book will leave you more lost than enlightened.

Rails is powerful because of the conventions it pre-assumes. For those who understand the conventions -- why they exist, why they are better than the alternative, etc. -- Rails is a dream to use because it does all the behind-the-scenes work for you. But for beginners, seeing things like ":attr_accessor" or the "_path" notation in "link_to" is just downright confusing right off the bat.

Though I find the book well-written and useful now that I'm at that intermediate level, I'm giving it two stars because of all the time I wasted reading and re-reading its passages while I was learning Rails.

I found beginner's intros to Rails available on the web [...] indispensable to give me background BEFORE reading this book.

My suggestion to the authors is to more fully flesh out explanations of all of Rails' conventions, particularly routing, passing variables from method-to-method, and linking models together. Additionally, I think the authors should initially code their examples even less concisely and then work down to make things more concise.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've been programming on Rails for a while now and originally started on the previous edition of this book. When learning Rails for the first time the previous edition was indispensable. It started you off with the shopping cart application which was great and helped me to learn fast. After you completed the shopping cart application, the previous edition went into just the right amount of depth regarding the various components of Rails. For example, it had pages explaining each type of relationship (has_many, has_one, join tables) in detail with the various methods that were added and how to use each.

In the new edition, a very substantial portion of the in depth explanations are missing. It no longer is able to serve as a handy reference for me as the previous edition had done.

Additionally, Rails 3 is changing fast and might not settle down for a little while. A good portion of this book is obsolete. For example, this book still teaches readers to use the Prototype library even though Rails is switching to jQuery in 3.1. Additionally there are numerous other large changes in Rails 3.1 that are not mentioned in this book that will be essential for future Rails developers.

To the author's credit, they opted to release this book at a difficult time since Rails is changing rapidly, however I wouldn't recommend this book at this time. Its probably a better bet to buy the earlier edition for dirt cheap and then watch Ryan Bates' Railscasts to get up to speed for Rails 3.
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