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Agile Web Development with Rails, 2nd Edition Paperback – December 24, 2006

62 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0977616633 ISBN-10: 0977616630 Edition: Second Edition

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

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.

Clark is a consultant, author, speaker, and programmer. He helps teams build better software faster through his company, Clarkware Consulting, Inc.

James Duncan Davidson is a freelance author, software developer, and consultant focusing on Mac OS X, Java, XML, and open source technologies. He is the author of Learning Cocoa with Objective-C (published by O'Reilly & Associates) and is a frequent contributor to the O'Reilly Network online website as well as publisher of his own website, x180 (, where he keeps his popular weblog. Duncan was the creator of Apache Tomcat and Apache Ant and was instrumental in their donation to the Apache Software Foundation by Sun Microsystems . While working at Sun, he authored two versions of the Java Servlet API specification as well as the Java API for XML Processing. Duncan regularly presents at conferences all over the world on topics ranging from open source and collaborative development to programming Java more effectively. He didn't graduate with a Computer Science degree, but sees that as a benefit in helping explain how software works. His educational background is in Architecture (the bricks and mortar kind), the essence of which he applies to every software problem that finds him. He currently resides in San Francisco, California.

Justin Gehtland, a professional programmer, instructor, speaker and pundit since 1992, has developed real-world applications using VB, COM, .NET, Java, Perl and a slew of obscure technologies since relegated to the trash heap of history. His focus on "connected" applications led him to COM+, ASP/ASP.NET and JSP. Justin is the co-author of "Effective Visual Basic" and "Windows Forms Programming in Visual Basic .NET" (both Addison Wesley). He is currently the Agility columnist on The Server Side .NET, works as a consultant through his company Relevance, LLC, and teaches for DevelopMentor.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 720 pages
  • Publisher: Pragmatic Bookshelf; Second Edition edition (December 24, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0977616630
  • ISBN-13: 978-0977616633
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 1.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,436,233 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By David Alison on May 7, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It does not reflect the current state of Rails at this time. A new version is supposed to come out in October 2008 that covers 2.0. If you get this version you will need to switch to an older version of Rails, otherwise you'll only get about 68 pages in before the examples stop working.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By J. Moore VINE VOICE on February 17, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a web developer, I own literally hundreds of technical books - most of are either thick tomes full of encyclopedic information you'll never use in real life. This book is perfect for learning rails. You jump right in and develop an application - getting a taste for what you'd be doing in real life right away. Datailed explanations are left for later, when you better understand how the platform actually works.

The example application you'll develop, if you follow the book as you should, is a real-world shopping cart type app. Along the way you'll pick up some agile development.

I would not recommend this book to absolute beginners to web development - you should understand some basic web development. This book takes you through everything from installing rails and MySQL to deployment.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By tomh on September 18, 2007
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I am an oldster (you know, 40+) and have learned many a language. Kernigan and Ritchie wrote their "K & R" C-language book in some written language a little higher level than English. After 40 or 50 reads through, I got it. I read C++ books, SmallTalk, Delphi, Visual Basic, and many Java books, HTML, JavaScript, CSS, Awk, Emacs, REXX (!!), and just about everything O'Reily has ever published.

Now, I come to Ruby, and Ruby on Rails. Thank goodness for this book. What a relief to read a book that is 1) comprehensive, 2) practical, 3) accurate, 4) funny at times, and 5) above all, has a good index! Perhaps programming languages are (finally) getting easier to write about, but Dave Thomas is an outstanding technical writer: he knows his audience and writes for us. Look, I know a million programming languages, but I am not the kind of person who zips through a book and suddenly gets it. Most books are written by people who are experts in the nuances, but have forgotten the many steps that lead up to those nuances.

AWDWR is better. It starts with a non-trivial and complete tutorial -- the first half of the book is an application that manages to hit most of the critical aspects of actually doing the job. It is a reasonably broad application covering many points of real webapps. (I read through thinking, yeah, we managed to deal with that in our Java webapp in a month, and here it is, built in to Rails, and better ... more than once). Maybe it is Rails, which seems to be a significant step in maturity over current generations (my last was WebWork/Struts 2, which seems to be the best you can do with Java these days, but really only one part of the larger problem).
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By K. Pate on October 23, 2007
Format: Paperback
You need this book if you're going to be developing a Rails app, but there are some issues.

#1 -- Learn Ruby first. Although the book's jacket makes it seem appropriate for absolute RoR beginners, you need to know basic Ruby before you're ready to start this book. The author says as much in the first chapter. Ruby newbies may want to consider this author's Ruby book (I haven't read it) or the excellent "Beginning Ruby: From Novice to Professional" by Peter Cooper which is enjoyable and very well-written (which I have read).

-- Many (most?) Rails books feel like they were rushed to press. Perhaps I'm just a little too Type A, but the text sometimes reads as if it was dictated rather than written. Much is assumed or left unexplored. A bit more structure within each step of the app-building process would be very helpful in future editions. A quick outline of the app's classes and cethods, describing what each one does, would be helpful as well.

-- A few times the author resolves problems on pages after the code that caused them appears in the text. If you run into a show-stopper, read ahead to see if he resolves it before you go mad trying to debug your own code. A database session problem was especially annoying.

-- Some of the downloadable code examples from the publisher's web site don't seem to match the corresponding code in the book. It's unclear whether the publisher's code has been corrected or simply reformatted. Regardless, download their code and refer to it (or copy and paste it into your own) as you follow along.

So, take a deep breath and dig in!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Bharat C. Ruparel on March 29, 2007
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I have purposely refrained from posting a review of this book though I had purchased the First Edition of this book back in October 2006 when I was getting started with RoR. I have gone through it and purchased the Second Edition and am going through it now.

The first time around, my knowledge and experience with RoR was quite limited especially the Ruby knowledge. It became clear to me that I needed to learn more Ruby before I could begin to grasp what the first edition of this book was all about. I went back and bought David Black's Ruby for Rails Developers book and went through it entirely working through the whole code base. I had to repeat certain chapters a few times to really understand what was going on. Since then, I have gone through Patrick Lenz's "Build Your Own Ruby on Rails.." book and have now come back to the Second Edition of the Book and working through the Depot application again. This time around though, my appreciation for the material in this book has gone up since I am better able to grasp it. I may have to repeat certain Chapters/Sections a few times to round out my knowledge but that is OK.

My advise to people getting started with Ruby and Ruby on Rails is that do not make this your first RoR book (I would say the same thing about the PickAxe or Programming Ruby book). Instead, buy some of the starters books, e.g., the ones that I mention above, and go through them first. If you do that, you will be in a much better position to learn effectively from this book. This book tries to get you running too soon too fast. You have to walk before you run.

Other than that, the materical in the book is obviously written by people who have an expert level understanding of the product and they know how to communicate it well.
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