Review: Ruby on Rails - Up and Running
- Ruby on Rails – Up and Running
- Bruce A. Tate & Curt Hibbs
- O’Reilly Media, 2006
- This review has also been posted to RubyDC.org
I was recently provided with a PDF copy of by the Adams Morgan Ruby Users Group. As you can imagine, books on Ruby (and Rails) are about to flood the shelves as the publishing industry gets on the RoR bandwagon. I wanted to see how well a book could cover the fast-moving framework and in what ways it could improve my understanding of Rails.
The book is organized around creating a photo sharing web application step-by-step. Off the bat, I was puzzled to see “Installing Rails” as the last chapter in the book. Having a working runtime enhances the value of the book to the reader. On the flip side, I was pleased to see Mongrel mentioned as one of the web servers available for Rails development, a sign of the freshness of the content.
The authors develop the application from the ground up, tying general concepts (MVC, relational data, etc) into their Rails counterparts (ActiveRecord, etc). Explanations for certain design decisions (how ActiveRecord eschews mapping in favor of wrapping) are sprinkled through-out the book and provide an increasing sense of confidence in the framework.
Beyond the basic controllers, models and views, the authors provide details on enhancing their application with some judicious use of AJAX. They tie-up the development of the Photo Share application with an overview of the Rails testing framework, explaining the importance and ease of automated testing.
Overall, I give the book high marks. The book is excellent for anyone just getting into Rails development or looking for and end-to-end overview of the framework. The level of detail is limited, given the book’s 189 pages, so experienced developers may have less to gain. You will not read anything about RESTful Rails. It should also be noted that this book is focused on Rails, not Ruby, and contains little insight into the language.