Beta 1.7 of Agile Web Development with Rails, Third Edition is out; I just completed the most exhausting and time consuming portion of this task: attempting to examine literally every single page of rdoc trying to determine what should be documented and what need not be, and to compare that against what has been documented vs what has not. This is not as obvious as it sounds, as with all human endeavors there is a mix of pages which are autogenerated which only describe internal details, and other features which are highly dynamic which do not show up on rdoc pages at all.
I was originally intending to do this exercise based on Rails 2.1, but as there was a general feeling that Rails 2.2 was just around the corner, I waited a bit. It was released last month, and now that I’ve updated the book based on what was included, Rails 2.3 is again “just around the corner”.
Given that Merb is getting merged into Rails 3, it looks like being an author of a Rails book is a full employment proposition. If kept on top of, it shouldn’t be an issue. If left untouched for a year or more, updating it will likely be another herculean task. In all, I must say that this is the hardest I’ve worked on anything for at least a decade, if not in my entire career, so given a choice I’d rather keep on top of it. In fact, my publisher and I are exploring whether a subscription model makes sense for this book.
In any case, back to now and back to this edition, what should be left is only errors and inadvertent omissions. Whether such issues are numerous or rare, such issues should be quick to address.
A few highlights of this edition (as compared to the second edition) are as follows: installation completely updated, static scaffolding (don’t laugh, this completely broke the previous edition’s approach to the Depot application), a balanced focus on REST and non-REST interfaces, atom_feed helper, Internationalization, timestamped migrations, ActiveResource, and Passenger. And a bazillion or so smaller changes. A few things left for the next edition: JQuery, Metal, Merb, and Ruby 1.9.
Rails + Merb posted by Hugo Martinez @ Sat, 27 Dec 2008 13:58:42 -0000
In the Sam Ruby’s blog he gives some clues about a possible ‘subscription model’ for the book given the new Merb+Rails facts. Check [link]...
Thank you for taking my request in the AWDWR forum for a subscription service so seriously.
There are, in my opinion, 2 issues here revolving around the target audience for such a subscription service.
1) New to Rails developers.
Any Rails newbie would be well advised to go down the AWDWR BETA route. Having been through 5 iterations of the book I now consider this to be a bit of a bible and am increasingly finding myself answering questions on the Rails forums that just would not need to be asked had the book been picked up by the asker.
Thank you for such a huge effort.
The BETA book has worked well for me but I find myself baulking at the need to do another re-read of the book just to pick up the latest changes which brings me onto the other target audience.
2) Not so new to Rails developers.
I guess this is now where I fit in. With a thirst for knowledge for the up and coming changes and the “new” way of doing things what I would like to see is a subscription service kinda like a Rails Developers magazine.
As you cover the new Rails features for your next AWDWR book (assuming there is going to be one) it would be really good for me to be able to read about the changes and how they affect the Depot app develoment so I am reading about just the changes rather than redeveloping the whole Depot app again just to get familiar with the changes. So how about a trade mag of some kind that goes hand in hand with the book for people like me?
I would certainly be wanting to get hold of the next version 4? AWDWR book in it’s BETA form just so that I have an up to date reference but there has to be a better way to get to grips with the changes.