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


I read the first 100 pages last night. I'm really starting to like this rails stuff. This is really helping me get a handle on Rails. Good stuff.


there's too much going on here for this to be accessible to rookie programmers, i found i ended up going through the motions a lot without truly understanding what was going on underneath.

Harri Kauhanen

The same book than the second edition (I read many years ago). But updated for Rails 3. Couple of sections were not written in this beta edition, but they should be very useful for Rails newbies.

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


Decent book to learn rails. I'm a total noob when it comes to web apps, yet this book was good enough to get me through my first site. The approach they take is to write a full website first, then go back and fill in the details. I think this was a good approach as long as you're willing to do the whole example site along with the book. However, it made it hard to use the book as a reference once you run off on your own. Many times I knew I had seen a topic in the book and couldn't find it later. I suspect this is as good a rails learning book you'll find, but if you're serious about developing in rails this book won't be quite enough. In addition to this one, you'll want to pick up a ruby reference and either a rails cookbook or a true rails reference.

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!


Read this if you want to get started learning Rails and already have some programming experience. It doesn't go too far into explaining how Ruby works, so if you are not comfortable diving in all at once, be sure to learn the basics of Ruby before you pick up this book.

Tom Purl

In general, this book does a fairly good job of helping you create a rails-based application. Part 3 includes some great in-depth information on the topics that are briefly discussed in Part 2. I only have one real gripe about this book. It packs in lots of topics (e.g. db theory, AJAX, unit testing, security, deployment), but it doesn't really tell you much about them. Therefore, if you have a problem, then good luck figuring it out using the content in the book. A good example is the final chapter which covers deployment. The chapter devotes only a few small paragraphs to configuring Apache for passenger. To me, this section was completely useless unless you were already an expert with Apache configuration. I ended that chapter with a broken Apache server and no resources (from the book) to begin fixing it.Another problem that I had with that chapter is that it really didn't follow the pattern that the chapters in Part 2 used. In those chapters, the authors would should you how to do something relatively small, show you how to test it, and then provide some troubleshooting information if the task was particularly complex. The deployment chapter gave you a *very brief and generalized* tutorial in each section, and then just assumed that everything went perfectly. It didn't show you how to test anything, and it didn't help you troubleshoot any possible problems.Don't get me wrong. I know that no book will provide all of the information that I would ever need about a subject, and thank goodness for the internet in these situations. I was just hoping that all of the chapters in a book that I actually bought would provide better information than some person's blog. So in general, I guess I would have to say that this was a very good book with some bad chapters that were tacked-on at the end.


Essential reading for the aspiring Rails developer. These guys helped popularize Ruby and Rails with their early books on the subjects and the latest editions cover the new versions of each very well. Old Rails hands will not find much reason to be excited about this one.

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.


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


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.

Donald Guy

Through having owned 3 editions, and basically having picked up all the material from other sources in the meantime anyway, after something like 7 years, I finally finished this book. I ... don't really have much more to say about it.

Jevgeni Holodkov

It was one of the books with I read using rapid reading techniques. It means, that my review is going to be biased. I liked the book - the first part was a hands-on tutorial on building a rails application from stratch. I believe it covered all the most popular issues we have when building web applications. The book includes information on how to do automated testing, like functional and unit testing. However, it expects to enter all commands to the rails console and does not always provide "results" in the book. The second part described implementation details and why Rails works. That part was harded to read rapidly as it contained API descriptions, etc. I rated this book as 3/5, since for me it would be more appropriate to learn just what API is available. The rest of that I will not memorize anyway, so I will go to the documentation instead, when needed. At the same time, this book gave me a pretty good overview on rails. I recommend reading the first part and skim the second part and get the rest of the knowledge from documentation instead (when needed).


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

Share your thoughts

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