Top critical review
Covers a lot, but easily confuses beginners. A little dated now, too.
on November 10, 2012
As far as programming books go, I found this read to be so-so. While this book was very useful in that it was my first ever exposure to Ruby on Rails and gave me a good bird's eye view of its features, I found it to be atrocious as a tutorial for beginners. The problem stems from the fact that in Ruby, there are many different ways to write a line of code. While this flexibility is one of the reasons programmers love it, it also makes it challenging for new programmers. Rather than explaining in a linear fashion how these features work, the authors inconsistently toss in a hodgepodge of shorthand Ruby tricks throughout the book. They write code examples that rely on some back end naming convention to work and don't tell you the mechanism driving it. So as a beginner, the whole paradigm-shattering MVC model way of thinking to be challenging enough to learn, but you are constantly caught off guard wondering "Why did the authors write this line of code this way instead of the way it was written in a previous chapter? What's going on here?"
The official Rails Guides online [...] totally blow away this book. And also don't forget that this only covers Rails 3.0, and we are now on version 3.2. A few things in this book are already outdated. Save your money and try learning Ruby and the Rails Framework through some of the terrific online tutorials first.