Feeds

Off the Rails?

Calling all Rails developers that want to learn Ruby

High performance access to file storage

Book review Billed as a possible Java-killer, the huge amount of interest in the Ruby programming language is in no small part due to the popularity of the Ruby On Rails framework.

An application framework that implements the Model View Controller architecture, Ruby On Rails enables the creation of data-driven web applications with minimal configuration and infrastructure coding.

Its advocates point out that developers using Rails can concentrate on the application logic and forget about the plumbing. It's also possible, in theory at least, for developers to use Rails without knowing much in the way of Ruby. However, those wanting to understand how Rails works, and who want to get the most out of it, can turn to Ruby For Rails, a tutorial designed precisely for Rails developers wanting to learn Ruby.

The first part of the book introduces both Rails and the Ruby language. It's an extended scene-setter containing a first introduction to Ruby. It describes the Model View Controller architecture and how it's implemented in Rails, and introduces a follow-along example site. It also presents a good argument as to why it pays the Rails developer to learn Ruby rather just be content with the framework as is.

In the next part of the book, the language is the main focus. This entails an introduction to classes and objects, program structure, scoping, control flow, and so on. It's a complete introduction to Ruby syntax and the main concepts of object oriented programming (inheritance, polymorphism etc).

Part three moves on from the language and syntax to look at the built-in classes and modules. As with any modern language, the standard library of packages and modules adds the power to the language's semantics. Like Java, C#, Python, and others, Ruby comes complete with collection classes, built-in types, regular expressions support, and so on.

The final section of the book puts the language and framework side by side again. There is a whole chapter on enhancing ActiveRecord – the object relational mapping class for Rails – which is one of the key selling points for the whole Rails framework. This section of the book returns to the R4RMusic example website which is developed at various points throughout the text, adding more functionality that stretches Rails a bit more and which makes use of the Ruby skills that have been imparted in the earlier parts of the book.

The central intention of the book – to make Rails users Ruby-literate – is sound enough, but the book does suffer from a number of faults. The first and most serious is that it's too long. The text is long-winded and repetitive, making it hard to read at times. The 530+ pages could well be slimmed down 150 or so pages and still deliver the same technical content.

Secondly, the author seems unsure whether he's writing for experienced developers new to Ruby and Rails or readers who are new to programming in any language. This lack of clarity means the book lacks a clear focus at times (particularly in contrast to the pick-axe book, Programming Ruby by Dave Thomas).

Ruby For Rails

Verdict: A bit verbose at times, but many readers will find the book a useful tutorial as they take their first steps into Ruby and Rails.

Author: David Black

Publisher: Manning Publications

ISBN: 1932394699

Media: Book

Buy this book at Cash 'n' Carrion.

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Windows 8.1, which you probably haven't upgraded to yet, ALREADY OBSOLETE
Pre-Update versions of new Windows version will no longer support patches
Android engineer: We DIDN'T copy Apple OR follow Samsung's orders
Veep testifies for Samsung during Apple patent trial
OpenSSL Heartbleed: Bloody nose for open-source bleeding hearts
Bloke behind the cockup says not enough people are helping crucial crypto project
Microsoft lobs pre-release Windows Phone 8.1 at devs who dare
App makers can load it before anyone else, but if they do they're stuck with it
Half of Twitter's 'active users' are SILENT STALKERS
Nearly 50% have NEVER tweeted a word
Windows XP still has 27 per cent market share on its deathbed
Windows 7 making some gains on XP Death Day
Internet-of-stuff startup dumps NoSQL for ... SQL?
NoSQL taste great at first but lacks proper nutrients, says startup cloud whiz
US taxman blows Win XP deadline, must now spend millions on custom support
Gov't IT likened to 'a Model T with a lot of things on top of it'
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.