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Pro Active Record: Databases with Ruby and Rails (Expert's Voice) Paperback – September 14, 2007


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Product Details

  • Series: Expert's Voice
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Apress; 2007 edition (September 14, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590598474
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590598474
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.7 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,060,698 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Chad Pytel is president of thoughtbot, Inc., a software development consulting firm that specializes in agile, test-driven web application development using the Ruby on Rails framework and located in Boston and New York City. A firm believer in the Model-View-Controller design pattern and realistic software development, with a history in Java and EJB development, Chad strongly believes that Ruby and Ruby on Rails represents a new, exciting, and better way to develop software. Chad lives with his wife in Somerville, Massachusetts. When not at the office managing projects and writing code, Chad enjoys acting in and producing theater, film, and improv comedy. To follow along with Chad and the rest of the thoughtbot team's thoughts on business, design, development, and technology, visit their blog at Giantrobots.thoughtbot.com.

More About the Author

Chad Pytel is founder and CEO of thoughtbot, inc. a leading software development firm that specializes in agile, test-driven web application development using Ruby on Rails. He currently lives in Newton, MA with his wife and son.

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By James Stewart on October 24, 2007
Format: Paperback
Right at the start of Pro Active Record the authors address a possible problem some may have with it: that there's not enough in Active Record to warrant a full book. They point out that the basics are well covered as sections elsewhere but that this is the first book to really dig into working with legacy schema and other `advanced' uses. That's fair enough, but after reading the book I am still left with the question of why, then, they dedicate the first half to covering ActiveRecord's most basic concepts?

Judging from postings on the rails email list, there's certainly a lot of confusion about ActiveRecord, associations, observers, how to work with legacy table names and primary keys, and so on. But in a book with a title prefix of "Pro" I was expecting to jump straight into the nitty gritty of topics like compound/composite primary keys and performance tuning, probably with some real world examples, and maybe with a serious exploration of AR's internals. As it is, such topics only get a quick treatment in the final chapter (the compound/composite primary keys section is a paragraph referring users to a plugin).

It's almost always instructive reading other developers' code and it would be unfair to claim that I didn't spot a couple of tips that may prove useful, but they were passing things. And sometimes I found myself wondering what happened to the tech review process, particularly in the coverage of the has_one association, where not only is the variable naming confusing, but they seem to be calling the each method on a single ActiveRecord instance.

I'm left wondering what the audience is for this book.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By J. Pease on November 12, 2007
Format: Paperback
Visuals:
Font size and layout are good. Easy on the eyes. Large and frequent sub-headings make it easier to locate information.

Audience:
The book lists it's intended "User level" at "Intermediate-Advanced".

Practicality:
It really depends on what you are expecting. I've been using Rails and ActiveRecord for about 2 years, so I should fit into the target audience. After reading the book I still think it will be a great reference book to have within arm's reach while working with ActiveRecord. To me it will serve as an API to AR. So it will be practical in that sense.

On the other hand, while reading it I never experienced any "aha!" moments where I felt like I learned something new or exciting, which I had hoped for from a "Pro" book.

If you are a beginner (never having used AR) it will definitely save you time (and eye strain) hunting down tutorials on blogs.

Overall:
It's a good Active Record reference & usage tutorial(s). I would have appreciated this book even more when I was first starting to use the Ruby on Rails framework. So if you are a beginner, don't let the "Intermediate - Advanced" user level scare you off. If you are using Rails, even as a beginner, you will probably be using Active Record too. In fact I think this book would probably be better named "Beginning Active Record" instead of "Pro Active Record".

I was kind of surprised when I read the Introduction to the book that it starts off with:

"Is there really enough to talk about in Active Record to fill a whole book?"

"Our answer, then and now, is, "Yes and no""

As an "Intermediate - Advanced" user, that's kind of how I felt at the end of this "Pro" book.

I give the book 4 stars, with the assumption that you go into it with the expectation of "Beginning Active Record".
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Charles Harvey on September 21, 2007
Format: Paperback
ProActive Record fills a void in RoR texts. From some of the descriptions I was worried that the book would be too focused on using ActiveRecord without rails. My assumptions were unfounded.

By having basically unrestricted space to focus on one part of the MVC framework, the book is able to go into much deeper discussion about many of the topics on ActiveRecord covered only partially in previous Rails texts.

This book focuses on the practical instead of the abstract to its credit.
One chapter is devoted entirely to real world issues in a Q and A style that most every Rails developer will eventually face. It is more like participating in a lab rather than being preached to in a classroom.

Note while this book does not target total beginners it is extremely useful for someone who is past the newbie stage.

Highly recommended for the RoR professional.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Alex P. Keaton on October 4, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
No fear of the legacy database!

Excellent book overall, but Chapter 7 is what takes the cake for me.
It's generally considered a pain to use ROR with legacy databases, but
K.Marshall et al, show that it is not only doable, but not bad at all.

Excellent examples and explanations, showing code in a step by step approach - starting at the very beginning (what active record is, configuring/installing it, etc...).

At the same time, the style is extremely laid back (at times the authors poke a bit of fun at each other), which is always welcomed when learning something new.

Great book and great choice to include information on getting active record working with legacy databases.
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