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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 A few things in this book are already outdated.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.
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on May 21, 2011
I have been programming Rails on and off since 2006 so I am probably not the target audience for this book. Nevertheless I still decided to pick it up for a recent Rails 3 project and I am glad I did. Rails has changed tremendously over the years and not all authors provide the most recent information on how to implement a modern web app in Rails. Not so with this book, the authors provide great up2date information on using rails, how to approach the most common features in a web app, including security, database mapping and testing. In short a great book for novices that even contains some useful information for people with Rails experience.
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on April 20, 2012
Beginning Rails 3 is a book that does a great job introducing an aspiring web developer to the world of Ruby on Rails, and the architecture conventions that Rails utilizes. The book is a good size, goes over the 'hows' and 'whys' of the basics, while creating a useful example project.

I work as a Web Designer that is starting to branch into development, and I had some experience with earlier versions of Rails in a couple work environments, but never really caught on to the concept. This book helped clear quite a few things up. Previous "beginner" books I had read didn't explain fully enough, didn't flow well, or were written as what seemed like edited versions of more advanced books.

great experience overall: fast shipping , excellent communication, product in excellent condition..

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on December 25, 2010
Provides a great 'lets take it from the beginning' look at Ruby programming. While there are many resources on the Internet, I found this book to be easier to follow than the many different tutorials that are available. The author goes through the reasons, and explanations of each decision along the way.

If you are interested in Ruby, what Ruby is, or just want to learn a new language, this book is a good choice.
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on December 18, 2010
I'd played around with Rails in the past, and you can probably get by pretty well relying on online resources, but when I decided to get serious I knew I had to turn to a book like this one. Overall, this book did the trick for me. I've still got a long way to go, but I no longer feel bewildered by the basics.

I'll leave it to other reviewers to give a detailed analysis of the books pedagogy. The structure and course of the book didn't fit me exactly, but it was a good place for me to start.

I will leave one complaint, however: I purchased the Kindle edition of this book. Among the reasons to choose a kindle edition of a reference book is the ability to search the contents of the book when you're looking for a quick bit of info. That's especially important in a book like this which is laid out in a more narrative-like way rather than being broken down into logical topical sections. So, I was bummed to find out that none of the actual ruby code in the book is included when searching the text! This means that if I search for a method name like "accepts_nested_attributes_for" I am unlikely to find anything because all of the chunks of code have been separately formatted as images rather than as raw text.

So, I do recommend the book, but I don't recommend the Kindle version. YMMV.
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on September 2, 2012
The biggest problem with this book is getting Ruby on Rails (RoR) to install properly. I tried with Win7 first and XAMPP and things went well until p. 23, when I discovered the WEBrick server. Most of the "experts" on-line recommended staying with WEBrick. So, I uninstalled RoR and re-installed it to C:\Ruby193 directory.

I then got all the way to p. 28 (the Hello World app) and successfully built it. (This alone is a bizarre process due to the MVC model.) But none of the browsers that I use (IE, Firefox & Chrome) could display the "Hello World!" page. And only FF could find the WEBrick server at all. So, I decided to go the Ubuntu 12 route. That was even worse. Ubuntu barfed almost from the git-go, couldn't find half the stuff that even the Win7 install could. (Ubuntu 12 is simply not ready yet for prime time.)

So, after two days of watching DOS like commands scroll by my command prompt window, I gave up. A tutorial isn't much good if you can't get past the installation point, hence my one star review.

In addition to all that, either installation process consists of very cryptic commands that give you no idea of how they are working, or even if they are working. And compared to PHP or Python, the RoR community is very small. So your on-line resources are limited.

For me, it's back to PHP and Python running on Win7. While the MVC model for PHP hardly works any better (I've tried Cake, CodeIgnitor and a few others and they all suck) at least Python and Django seem to make some sense.

Also, be forewarned: unless you are a genius, you cannot learn RoR from any tutorial. It's just too complex of a technology. Find a class at your local community college if you want to learn this technology because you are going to need a lot of hands-on support. A good teacher can help you in minutes rather than what might take days on your own searching the Internet for answers.
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on December 23, 2010
Initially this was a great book at getting me (a very experienced developer, but a total rails novice) up and running quickly. It was a pleasure how well everything was explained and everything worked. The first few chapters on getting familiar with the Rails framework, getting it up and running on my MAC, the basic hello world was all very well explained, and most of all, everything worked! (Unlike the vast majority of books which don't provide enough information to actually get something to work). I thought, what a pleasure!

The book is then organized around the MVC architecture (Model = database View = html/xml render Controller - application logic). The authors then went into the Model/database part of rails. Great, well explained, a pleasure.

I was then excited to move onto the V and the C, and there is where the book completely fell flat on it's face. On Chapter 5, just about halfway through, the first sign was when I downloaded the sample code which didn't work. Something to do with a rails configuration that I'm totally clueless about - I wanted to say to the authors, excuse me guys, but i'm NOT a rails expert! Then the explanations went way off into the weeds. Instead of going with a simple basic example using core fundamentals and working towards the complex, they started describing all the helper functions, and various complexities, and I found that I wasn't understanding conceptually what was going on and couldn't put the pieces together because I didn't have a basic understanding of how a core, basic application worked, so the complex helper functions for example, weren't gelling. The authors also starting describing routing which was a bit complicated, but I was getting until they described named routing and that was totally confusing.

I'm now searching for a different book. It looks like the authors spent a lot of time getting the first half of the book completed, then rushed through the second half because maybe they were running out of time. I gave them 3 stars, because there are so many lousy books out there, this one is above average, but there was a such a difference between the first and second half, it was only partially useful. Sigh....

The good news is that I was able to actually build a pretty decent web application and do it quickly based on what I read in this book. However, I had to sort through a lot of irrelevant material in Chapter 5 and onward. The authors focused a great deal on the REST framework and routing/named routes, this was a complete waste of time and totally distracting. For example they were pushing the use of the PUT and DELETE http methods which I believe most people don't use, along with a complicated framework of predefined functions that somehow relates to named routing, but I have no idea what they're talking about in the book because they didn't explain it well enough. If you've built web applications before, it's pretty straight forward organizing functions by names you choose and just use GETS and POST. Also the details on helper functions are maybe good if you know nothing about html, but again a distraction for somebody who is familiar with html. They should have put all this stuff (REST, routing, helper functions) into advanced chapters and stuck to the html fundamentals. For example, I still don't know how to put double quotes around a variable in html that's coming from the controller and this is needed for any text that has a space. That's a critical thing to know and I'm annoyed that I have to poke around for it when it's so fundamental to just basically getting this thing to work.
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on June 16, 2011
The book does a decent job outlining what Ruby is and what Rails is. However, the app in this book can really be written in about an hour or less with much simpler methodology. Also, too much dependency on the Rails console. Don't get me wrong, I think the Rails console is great, but using it as a primary method to drive parts of the book, especially for learning, is just poor design.

If you really want to learn Rails, stick with Agile Web Development with Rails (Pragmatic Programmers). I wouldn't say "Beginning Rails 3" sucks, but I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone else; there are better resources out there.
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on December 22, 2011
A good bit of the code in the kindle version is very difficult to read. It shows up in very light gray and is very small (and does not scale).
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on February 23, 2011
...frankly I didn't want to so quickly take issue with its design, but I can't help but point out a major logical inconsistency. When I began reading this book, I had no experience with databases. Now, early on the book says if you aren't familiar with db then you should consult Appendix B. I ignored it and figured I'd wing it. I saw this referenced again in the part where you create a database table, so I consulted Appendix B. I get to Appendix B and it says it "assumes" you've read up to Chapter 4, a chapter preceded by multiple references to Appendix B, and works through this database instruction under that premise. Why send me to Appendix B to learn databases at that point when it assumes I'm much further along in the book? I hope I can change my rating of this book when I'm less annoyed by this.
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