Agile Web Development with Rails: A Pragmatic Guide


Computers Currently Reading Non Fiction Programming Rails Ruby Software Development Tech Technical To Read

About this book

Rails is a full-stack, open source web framework that enables you to create full-featured, sophisticated web-based applications, but with a twist... A full Rails application probably has less total code than the XML you'd need to configure the same application in other frameworks. With this book you'll learn how to use "ActiveRecord" to connect business objects and database tables. No more painful object-relational mapping. Just create your business objects and let Rails do the rest. You'll learn how to use the "Action Pack" framework to route incoming requests and render pages using easy-to-write templates and components. See how to exploit the Rails service frameworks to send emails, implement web services, and create dynamic, user-centric web-pages using built-in Javascript and Ajax support. There are extensive chapters on testing, deployment, and scaling. You'll see how easy it is to install Rails using your web server of choice (such as Apache or lighttpd) or using its own included web server. You'll be writing applications that work with your favorite database (MySQL, Oracle, Postgres, and more) in no time at all. You'll create a complete online store application in the extended tutorial section, so you'll see how a full Rails application is developed---iteratively and rapidly. Rails strives to honor the Pragmatic Programmer's "DRY Principle" by avoiding the extra work of configuration files and code annotations. You can develop in real-time: make a change, and watch it work immediately. Forget XML. Everything in Rails, from templates to control flow to business logic, is written in Ruby, the language of choice for programmers who like to get the job done well (and leave work ontime for a change). Rails is the framework of choice for the new generation of Web 2.0 developers. Agile Web Development with Rails is the book for that generation, written by Dave Thomas (Pragmatic Programmer and author of Programming Ruby) and David Heinemeier Hansson, who created Rails.

Reader's Thoughts


Essential reading for savvy designers and developers cleverly boarding the ruby on rails train. All designers should learn to code. Ruby is a beautiful language and rails makes a practical partner to bring your next napkin sketch into reality. This book was written in part by DHH, the creator of rails among other things. That rendered the book a trusted source for conventions and best practices.

Said A

Ruby on Rails intro for complete beginners. Online rails guides are great companion. Would suggest reading rails code for better understanding of rails internals. Sstart with the ActiveSupport's code.

Do─ča Armangil

A must-read for Rails developers.

Mike Han

Like many other reviewers has said, this book is an absolute necessity for all the newbies who are learning ruby on rails for all sorts of reasons. I certainly like the way the book leads you to dig right into the coding something basic before educating you with all the little details afterwards.

Thomas Wolfe

Suggested by my friend Kory. I read the beta version of this book. Again, in some ways I prefer books with a few errors, keeps me on my toes. I've got a few ideas on what I'm going to build with this new tool, I'll post back here when I do (although now I kind of want to play with jquery since I really know nothing about that library and it could prove useful in rails, or well any type of web apps). It's quite verbose, but I guess for people who want their hand held a bit (I'll admit, hand-holding is sometimes appreciated) that's okay. It's a good book, but it's lacks a literary tact that made why's guide so much fun. It's 100% technical with a few rough attempts at humor. I guess you could say, it's the same as most of the rubbish literature in our profession, good for learning how to do something (sadly unimaginative as it's still in the realm of business apps) but not much else. I can only recommend this book if you want to get acquainted with rails. I guess I'm going to have to keep looking for my fix of good technical and literature content, Why's gone and Joel Spolsky's work only goes so far. I guess I just need something new and different of the same quality to inspire me (after reading this book, I need it).


If you are interested in getting started with Rails, this is the way to go. I'd recommend you read the first few chapters of Thomas' "Programming Ruby" first, to get a foundation in ruby first.

Virgilio Pigliucci

I did not finish this... It is a great reading for the first chapters but the technology advancements on this topic are too fast for my reading pace!Waiting to get a copy for the Rails 3 version!


After introducing myself to Ruby, I read this book to become more familiar with the Rails framework. I was very pleased with how this book was laid out. The first section has you dig right into creating a basic storefront by guiding you through the basics of using the Rails framework. This first section teaches you everything you need to create a basic site of your own. The latter sections of the book go into depth regarding each concept you learned in the initial sections as well as other advanced concepts. The progression of the book was very natural and did not try to throw an advanced concept at you without showing you simple examples first on which you could build your knowledge. I'd recommend this book to anyone wanting to see what the fuss is all about regarding Ruby on Rails.


read it for the last few chapters which is Rails in depth. it is really worth.

Josh Frankel

Not a good book for starting to learn the language. A much better choice is Michael Hartl's book Learn Web Development with Rails


I met Dave Thomas at a Ruby on Rails class. He really knows his stuff and I refer to his book at work.


This was the best book I found for Rails web development. If I had to choose between "Simply Rails" and this book, I would choose this book. The reason being that Simply Rails is a very gentle walk through of an example website, and that's about it. This book has that as the first section, and then continues on with more technical discussions of the major moving parts in the rails framework, and thus serves as both a primer and a reference. The 4th edition is due to arrive soon, and is retooled for Rails 3. Anyone wanting to be on Rails 3 should get the 4th edition.

Angus McDonald

One of my first reads about Ruby on Rails, and still the best starting point for anyone new to RoR. The fact that it takes an Agile view is a plus and is what got me interested in Agile development in the first place.

Chris Maguire

Great intro to rails. It felt a little backwards building up a site before going into the details, but it wasn't too bad. I feel confident now that I could sit down at a rails app and at lease have an idea of what's going on. I didn't follow along or do the exercises, which is crucial, and the book was still good. This book changed my opinion of rails from "meh" to "wow". Rails is very powerful stuff. I don't necessarily like Ruby all that much but Rails is a pretty full-featured and capable toolset. This book quickly shows you how much Rails is capable of with relatively little code.


I've read the 1st edition and now the 3rd edition. Still seems like the best book for a rails newbie. My nitpick: this book doesn't have a concise roadmap to what's new in Rails 3.

Share your thoughts

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *