Topic: Good Rails 2.0 books

Howdy - I just got up and running with Rails 2.0 and would like to get book. I understand that Agile Web Development with Rails Third Eition is in Beta now and is geared towards 2.0, but I heard from one person who didn't really like one of the Agile series - he thought the application was unattractive for one thing. The only other book I've found out there that looks promising for general book is Simply Rails 2.0. Does anyone know anything about these books or others for rails newbs starting with rails 2.0?

Re: Good Rails 2.0 books

AWDwR v3 & The Rails Way … rd-edition … 0321445619

As far as the app in the book being unattractive... it's teaching you Rails, not design! Don't be worried about this.

Re: Good Rails 2.0 books

Sweet - thanks. Can you compare/contrast the two that you recommend and suggest which my be better for what sort of situation?

Re: Good Rails 2.0 books

The agile rails book is more learning by example, with less detail. The Rails Way is much more indepth and is more of a reference book.

Personally I find the best way to learn is to try your own mini projects, and read books, google and tutorials when you come across a problem, in which case The Rails Way is better. When you're following a full example it is easy to fall into "I don't know what this does, but the answer is written there, so I'll just carry on".

If you haven't really touched on web development and you're more of a novice programmer I'd go for the agile book.

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Re: Good Rails 2.0 books

Thanks Rare. That gives me a better idea of what to shoot for. I'm a pure mathematician (proof based math, logic, etc) by training, so I'm no stranger to rigor and would rather have the "full details" story than a gloss over. That having been said, I can see the value of getting a book that teaches more by example for the sake of getting up and running. Would it make sense to start with Agile and go on to Rails Way, or if I was bent on getting to Rails Way sooner or later, would it provide sufficiently for  a starter if I've gone through a couple of web tutorials already?

Further relevant background: I would say that I'm an intermediate programmer, though most of my programming has been in math software (Mathematica, MATLAB, Maple) until recently when I started working on programs for my company (data collection, robotics, instrument control etc), so I'm moving into new fields, but with considerable related experience under my belt. I've also been playing around with Ruby for a while now (a couple/few months), have read Why's Poignant Guide (hilarious!) and am currently reading Ruby for Rails.

Any further insights are appreciated!

Re: Good Rails 2.0 books

I think I would edge you towards The Rails Way to be honest. Just checkout screencasts at: (free) and ($9 each) for examples, and there are great tutorials going on in this forum too:

A bit of a self plug, but if you watch out on my site (link in my signature) next week I am starting a Rails 101 screencast series which will cover everything from the very basics up to creating complex applications. We are just editing the video right now (and producing lots of pretty diagrams). They'll be in short 5-10 minute chunks and I will probably release them daily.

Last edited by Rare (2008-05-29 05:50:59)

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Re: Good Rails 2.0 books

If you are brand new then I would definitely say:

Ruby For Rails

The Ruby Way

The Rails Way

Ajax on Rails

I think the most important thing to do when first coming to RoR is understanding Ruby, I would recommend 'Ruby For Rails' first since that's what the framework is built with. It's a great book. Just my opinion. 

I also agree you can't go wrong with Ryan's screencasts at, they are really well done and he really knows his stuff. I've watched many of the casts.

Re: Good Rails 2.0 books

Sweet, thank you both. I think I'll keep reading Ruby for Rails, get to The Rails Way and then hit up the other two you mentioned.

I had some problems with one of Ryan's screencasts working for me - it was on using fields_for within a form_for structure. It seemed to work at first but as I started flushing things out and tried to get the new task button to work, I came upon some errors. I'm wondering if this was cause I was running RoR 2.0. It would be great to have some railscasts that were focused on 2.0 - is your's, Rare?

Thanks again.

Re: Good Rails 2.0 books

Good choices.

I think Ryan Bate's screencasts were Rails 2.0 from about episode 80.You can look up form helpers here: … elper.html

My screencasts are usually on quite complex ideas, but as I mentioned I am working on a beginner set, the first two of which are up now at: they are up to date with Rails 2, and even include some info on 2.1.

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