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Agile Web Development with Rails, Edition 4


I’ve signed on to contribute to yet another edition of AWDwR.

But first a few notes about the third edition.  It continues sell briskly, and I’ve seen times when both Amazon and my local Barnes and Noble have been out of stock.  Unlike the second edition which was quickly made virtually obsolete, largely a victim of the changes that were made in Rails 2.0, the outlook for the third edition continues to be quite a bit better.  Admittedly, there are a number of changes, but they tend to be small and isolated.  And I’m actively engaged to keep it that way.  The regression tests are still running.  What you see as a number of failures all appear to have a common root cause involving an Accept header.  The issue affects non-REST routes fetched programmaticly.  I can easily see how that could be missed in the unit test suite, but given that it also affects IE users intermittently this clearly would not have escaped a beta, and Rails 3.0 isn’t even in Alpha.

My expectation is that the third edition will continue to be relevant well into the life of Rails 3.0.

So, why another edition?  Well, first up will to address each of the changes that have happened since the third edition went up for sale.  Second will be a shift in focus, more towards newer users, many of which have never used either Ruby or even the command line, and less on being a complete reference, given that the online materials have improved dramatically since the first edition of this book.  Along with this will more of a focus on best practices.  Examples will use cookie backed sessions, HTTP authentication, and active record based forms.  Alternatives will be mentioned in prose and online references provided where more information can be located, but the primary thrust will be on the right way to use Rails.  DHH will continue to be a part of the team, and I expect him to keep me on my toes.

Time permitting, we are going to try to integrate in Test Driven Teaching, and to physically integrate the description of the concepts which in prior editions was in section three with the Depot Scenario which was the centerpiece of Section two.  If done correctly, I’m hoping the book can actually reverse the trend and shrink a few pages.  Susannah Pfalzer joins the team as Development Editor to help with this effort.

An Annotated Draft Outline is available.  Comments welcome.

Note to self: new design being explored for config/routes.rb.

Posted by Sam Ruby at

updated design

Posted by Sam Ruby at

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