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Learning Rails 1st Edition

13 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0596518776
ISBN-10: 0596518773
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Book Description

Rails from the Outside In

About the Author

Simon St. Laurent is a web developer, network administrator, computer book author, and XML troublemaker living in Ithaca, NY. His books include XML: A Primer, XML Elements of Style, Building XML Applications, Cookies, and Sharing Bandwidth. He is a contributing editor to XMLhack.com and an occasional contributor to XML.com.

Edd Dumbill is co-chair of the O'Reilly Open Source Convention. He is also chair of the XTech web technology conference. Edd conceived and developed Expectnation, a hosted service for organizing and producing conferences. Edd has also been Managing Editor for XML.com, a Debian developer, and GNOME contributor. He writes a blog called Behind the Times.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (November 28, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0596518773
  • ISBN-13: 978-0596518776
  • Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 0.9 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,707,804 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Rilindo Foster on July 24, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am almost done with the book and I found it much easier to grok than the Agile Rails book. Its likely because the latter book deal with the shopping cart example (and e-commerce was the last thing I wanted to deal with at the time I bought the book), so going through this book was a pleasure. So far, I got some apps up and running thanks to it and I am pretty comfortable going into more advanced at this point.

That said, the code in the book do needs to be proof-read more throughly - a number of times I got stuck in one section, trying to figure out what I was doing wrong, only to find by looking at the errata online (or the source code download) that the snippets are wrong. Take my advice - if something broke or didn't work the first time, look at the errata and then source code to make sure the code in the book is correct or not (hopefully, they will correct it in later printings).

With that out the way, I recommend this book to anybody interested in Rails. It'll get you going in short order.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Nicholas Sardo on May 28, 2009
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I have been using Rails for going on two years now, but have a penchant for accumulating books on subjects that interest me. I tore into this book the day that it was delivered, and was not disappointed. Very well written, and informative. I picked up a few kernals here and there from the book ( remember, I'm not a total newbie ), which made it worth the money.

If you are not familiar with web development in general, this book alone will not help you. You'll need a basic grasp of the fundamentals: (X)HTML, the general way web development client-side and server-side work, basic data base knowledge. Nothing earth shattering, but none of these things are covered. Though there is a small crash course on the Ruby language, you'd do well to get a beginning book on it as well, for better understanding, though the author does describe what his code does.

The book does what it's charter describes well. It can bring you up to speed with the basics of Rails. I liked it, and recommend it.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By grantmichaels on January 7, 2009
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I am reading this book at present, and agree w/ the "shelleyp" review completely. If you want to get started w/ Rails, this book is an excellent choice, even more so if you are already familiar with HTML/CSS. I also think it's great that they suggest using Heroku, which is a great way to get started w/ Rails!

While all of that is true, however, I can't help but suggest that new-to-Ruby coders look at Sinatra while they are learning Ruby, and grow their apps to Rails via their Rack commonality. Rails is great, but I think it is over-kill and at once overly complicated for the scope of the applications that many new developers are making while getting started. That being said, this is a phenomenal choice for getting started with Rails, and a refreshingly different angle for doing so.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Shelley P on December 5, 2008
Format: Paperback
During my previous attempts to work with Rails, I would get frustrated because the information I needed either was spread all about, or made some pretty significant assumptions about what the reader knows. When I told one of the authors, Simon St. Laurent, about my frustrations with Rails, he asked if I would be a target audience reviewer for the book, since I knew little about Rails, or Ruby, when it comes to that. I jumped at the chance, and was impressed with how easily I was able to pick up Rails from Learning Rails, despite not being really proficient with Ruby.

Learning Rails is split into several topic-specific chapters, such as adding styles, creating form-based applications, using scaffolding (no worries, the book will explain and demonstrate this concept), as well as creating dynamic interfaces and securely deploying the applications. Most importantly, the first chapter covers various ways to install Rails in different environments, so you're not fumbling around, trying to figure out how to start. The book even provides a brief introduction to Ruby, as an Appendix. Now, that was handy.

The writing is clear, informal without being fake-friendly, with a good use of notes and figures. Best of all the examples are smaller, easy to follow, and rather fun to implement. To me the latter is what facilitates learning: easy to follow, step-by-instructions that provide a nice hands-on experience.

If you have had little or no exposure to Rails, and want, or need, to learn the technology, I strongly recommend this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Joshua S. Infiesto on March 9, 2010
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I'm a web designer that's been looking to get into serious web development. I had some experience, namely development in PHP. This book is an excellent way to get your feet wet if you have the prerequisite knowledge. (Mostly just XHTML and CSS and some basic programming concepts)

If you don't know ruby, I suggest you learn it first. It's a pretty easy language to pick up. You can be semi-literate within the space of a week.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. Glass on March 29, 2009
Format: Paperback
I have been playing with Rails for several weeks, and I was rather confused until I picked up this excellent book. Reading it has brought me realization after realization about how Rails works.

What was especially helpful to me was that the book did not start (as most other Rails books do) from setting up the model (database), but instead started with the view (ruby-embedded html), something much easier to get my head around. I think this makes the book an excellent choice for those with experience in web design but little programming experience, those who have some programming experience but are not familiar with the how the model-view-controller paradigm is implemented by Rails (as I wasn't), those who have limited experience with SQL (mine is), or really for anyone who is confused about what Rails does and wants to know how to use it.

There is a Ruby reference included in the book, but those who are not familiar with Ruby at all might want to check out an online tutorial or read the first few chapters of a beginning Ruby book (such as Beginning Ruby: From Novice to Professional, Second Edition (Beginning from Novice to Professional) ). While it isn't strictly necessary, Rails is based on Ruby and having some knowledge of Ruby made everything more clear to me (I read the first few chapters of the aforementioned book). The authors suggest some knowledge of HTML, but just a glancing acquaintance with HTML will do.

This book reads like taking a course, if that makes sense. Simon St. Laurent and Edd Dumbill have anticipated the questions that those new to rails will have (for example, how do I set the default page for Rails applications?) and answered them clearly. I can't recommend this book highly enough.
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