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  1. #1
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    Agile Web Development with Rails, is it a good start?

    After watching the demonstrations of Ruby on Rails on the Ruby on Rails website and working my way through the ONLamp examples, i'd really like to learn Ruby on Rails. I was wondering, does Agile Web Development with Rails cover enough Ruby to get one started with Rails, or would I be better off purchasing a book on Ruby to go along with it (Programming Ruby: The Pragmatic Programmers' Guide perhaps?)? I've read all of the reviews on Amazon, Googled numerous reviews, and checked out the manufacturer's website, but I still haven't been able to come to a conclusion. If it helps, I know and work with CSS, JavaScript, MySQL, PHP, and XHTML on a daily basis (I do realise none of the aforementioned are similar to Ruby or the Rails framework.). Thanks a lot for any information, it is appreciated.

  2. #2
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    As you know, Ruby is a programming language. It doesn't have to do anything with Rails. But in the contrary, Rails has to a lot with Ruby. So before buying any title for Rails, you should seperately buy a Ruby book. That will be quite helpful. I prefer you to buy Programming Ruby as you mentioned. This is good if you have a simple understanding of how programming is done.

    Programming Ruby is an excellent title, I am also reading its first chapters. I believe programming should be done by practice (even when reading!). So, I prefer you a PDF version of that title. Also you will get discounts for the Rails title (pragprog.com) if you buy them seperately. Unlucky me, I bought them combined . Have a nice journey with Ruby on Rails!

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the reply!

  4. #4
    ☆★☆★ silver trophy vgarcia's Avatar
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    The rails book on its own is enough to get you going, but I would definitely recommend knowing Ruby first. I started on the Agile book not knowing much Ruby and I've had to do a bit of googling to understand some Ruby-related concepts that weren't tackled in the rails book..

  5. #5
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    Thanks for the reply! If you had to start over, taking your new found knowledge of Ruby on Rails into consideration, would you go about things the same way you did before (Starting with the Agile Web Development with Rails book.) or would you learn more about Ruby before moving on to the Rails framework? I've got little to no patience, but if it will help me in the long run then i'll make my way through the 864 page beast that is Programming Ruby: The Pragmatic Programmers' Guide.

  6. #6
    ☆★☆★ silver trophy vgarcia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IAIHMB
    Thanks for the reply! If you had to start over, taking your new found knowledge of Ruby on Rails into consideration, would you go about things the same way you did before (Starting with the Agile Web Development with Rails book.) or would you learn more about Ruby before moving on to the Rails framework? I've got little to no patience, but if it will help me in the long run then i'll make my way through the 864 page beast that is Programming Ruby: The Pragmatic Programmers' Guide.
    I would have learned at least the basics of Ruby better. Diving right into Rails taught me a lot about Ruby in the process, but I think I'd be showing more progress had I taken the time to learn the language first.

  7. #7
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    I would say that if you only want to buy one or the other book and you will mostly be starting out to learn rails then buy the Agile rails book and use the free version of the Programming Ruby book from here: http://ruby-doc.org/docs/ProgrammingRuby/
    The info in the online version was written fro ruby 1.6.8 but almost all of it still applies to ruby 1.8.x. This way you get to use both. the agile book has a chapter about ruby basics but having the programming ruby book online for a reference is very valuable.

  8. #8
    SitePoint Wizard samsm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ezmobius1
    I would say that if you only want to buy one or the other book and you will mostly be starting out to learn rails then buy the Agile rails book and use the free version of the Programming Ruby book from here: http://ruby-doc.org/docs/ProgrammingRuby/
    The info in the online version was written fro ruby 1.6.8 but almost all of it still applies to ruby 1.8.x.
    Ditto.

    If you are going to be using Rails, I suspect you would benefit immediately and practically from the Rails book in a way you would not from a Ruby book. By the time you get around to really needing a Ruby book, the old Programming Ruby may have tided you over into a newer version of Programming Ruby than presently exists.
    Using your unpaid time to add free content to SitePoint Pty Ltd's portfolio?

  9. #9
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    Thanks for the replies guys, off to order Agile Web Development with Rails! Now, we've just got to wait for SitePoint to release a book on the Rails framwork.

  10. #10
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    They should release. It's the best thing to hit since the sliced bread.

    Connecting to the database, retrieving data and processing is so easy. I never imagined I wasted my time writing 3500 lines of extra code in PHP for an application. Had it be written in Ruby, it should not go beyond the total 1500. I also had to give as much time as I write code to debug, that's not the case with Ruby.

    Ruby on Rails is really great! Anyway, I like PHP too because of the strong response and community.

  11. #11
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    As stated before, I have little to no patience, so I decided to order the PDF version. Usually I don't like electronic delivery of PDF files, this is definitely an exception. They don't impliment any sort of DRM, it's nice to have that freedom, even though I have no intentions of distributing my copy.

    I spent the better part of the day reading this book, all of the way through chapter 7. I've never done that before, at least, not without the urge to fall asleep. I'm finding that the Ruby reference in the back of the book and my prior PHP knowledge is helping me out, for example:

    1. PHPs <?= and ?> are similar to Ruby's <%= and %>.
    2. Ruby's implimentation of sprintf is indenticle to PHP's, as far as I can tell.


    Though I do find myself adding semi colons to the of lines of code and getting ? and % mixed up often. Anyways, i'm done ranting, off to do some more reading!

  12. #12
    Resident Java Hater
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    I gotta say the Agile Rails Book is very good. While you do need to have some sort of Ruby reference if you are new to Ruby, I was suprised how simple the Rails book was to follow for those with no Ruby knowledge. One of the best things I found about the book, is that it manages to be really useful for both experienced and non experienced programmers alike. I find that the Ruby documentation that you get online will be good enough if you are expereienced in other languages. You probably want to look at some Ruby Idioms though (I think RubyGarden has a few, but not many)

  13. #13
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    I'm coming from a PHP background, currently about a third of my way through 'Agile Web Development with Rails' and it's been a brilliant resource so far. I also bought a copy of 'The Ruby Way' and had a look through before touching the Agile book, but I must say most of the stuff went straight over my head.

    Perhaps I'll have a look at it again once I've finished Agile Web Development with Rails
    cssr on Rails
    Web designer and programmer

  14. #14
    SitePoint Addict jpease's Avatar
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    I have the "Programming Ruby" book and the "Agile Web...Rails" book. I have been very happy with both of them. Plus the Rails books is real cheap on Amazon now-a-days. Like $16, I think.

  15. #15
    SitePoint Guru 33degrees's Avatar
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    I just bought both books as well, and recommend both highly!


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