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Rails Book Update and Outlook

Agile Web Development with Rails, 3rd Edition is about to have its third printing.  Translations are under way for Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Spanish.

One thing I wasn’t aware of before participating in the development of this book is that printers have an opportunity to address errata in each printing.  I don’t know how widespread this practice is, but this is definitely something that Pragmatic Programmers takes advantage of.  The ground rules on what changes are allowed are a bit flexible, but in general work out to be something along the lines of “no new features” (i.e., bug fixes only) and “don’t affect pagination”.  Process wise, I make changes to the source, provide a diff to a layout editor who verifies the layout and makes tweaks as necessary (e.g., adjusting inter-line spacing if necessary to ensure that changes are localized), and the results are sent off to the printer.

Other changes are fodder for a new edition (or possibly even a new title).  Examples of this include the changes required to use this book with Rails 2.3.2.

What would I like to see in a follow-on to this book?

Hopefully, this work can get underway by the end of the month and be complete as near as possible to the first public release of Rails.


Really enjoyed the book. I’d like to see running with JRuby and integrating legacy Java code covered, but that is probably a separate book and something that I’m going to have to discover for myself.

Posted by James Abley at

It would be hilarious to see the first part of AWDR become a sort of “Choose your own adventure” in which you can choose to write unit tests by skipping to page XX and you can choose to avoid scaffolding using another choice. Although all choices should work in the sense of not having error messages being thrown from a given version of Rails, it would be really funny to also have a “Fail” adventure in which the developer chose to write the depot app in the worst way and the code is now unmaintainable.

Posted by Nick Berveiler at

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