I’m the author of SitePoint’s latest book in the Jump Start series called Jump Start Rails. There is also an accompanying course for the book called “Building Your First Rails App”. Here, I’ll describe what the book (and course) sets out to achieve.
The book is intended for developers who already have some experience developing for the web, perhaps with another technology such as PHP.
There are plenty of great Rails books out there already, so what gap does this one fill?
The purpose of the book is to show you how to build and deploy your first Rails app – in a weekend. Rails does have a fairly steep learning curve when you are completely new to it, and it can be a little frustrating trying to get something worthwhile up and running. The book provides you with everything you need to get a (simple) app built and deployed, by the Sunday evening of the same weekend you sit down with the book.
it starts out by taking you through the process of getting set up for developing with Ruby on Rails. That includes for all the popular operating systems. Next, you’ll dive straight in and build a “training” app so that you can try out the basics of putting a Rails app together. You’ll also get familiar with what the inside of a Rails app looks like.
In the next step, you’ll begin building a real app, that is, one that you can actually deploy. Along the way you’ll be introduced to many of the Rails conventions for getting things done when it comes to building web applications. There is plenty of coverage of using the extensive Ruby gems ecosystem too, to enhance what your app can do.
Both the book and the course cover Rails 4.0 and Ruby 2.0.0. If you’re new to Rails, that might not mean very much. All you need to know is that Rails 4.0 is the very latest version of the framework. It’s due to become a stable release on the 25th June, pending any major bug reports between now and then. Ruby version 2.0.0 is the latest version of the Ruby programming language. So it means you’ll be building an app that is eight up to date.
It’s also worth noting that Heroku, the popular PaaS for deploying Rails apps to now supports Ruby 2.0.0 by default. You’ll learn how to deploy your app to Heroku in the last chapter of the book. It is also covered in the course.
If you’ve been thinking about trying Rails, now’s your time. There is a free sample of the book available to get you started.
Andy Hawthorne is from Coventry in the UK. He is a senior PHP developer by day, and a freelance writer by night, although lately that is sometimes the other way around.