Ruby on Rails
Ta-da List


March 23, 17:15

Agile Web Development with Rails and me

Dave Thomas has revealed the not-so-big secret that I've jumped on board Agile Web Development with Rails as a co-author. Dave is definitely the driver of this title, but I'll be writing about "Deploying and Scaling" as well as doing a series of "David says" sidebars explaining the philosophy of Rails.

Just as importantly, I'll be making sure that the book represents the state of the art in use and approach of Rails. As Dave says:

So how do you go about writing a book about a technology that’s advancing every week? How do you make sure that you capture both the detail and, as importantly, the spirit behind the surface? How do you make it the best book it can be?

Seems to me that a good way would be to have the guy who invented the technology help write the book.

I'm honored to be on board. Seeing my name on the cover of a book is one of my 17 things after all. And to see it happen along side one of my all-time favorite authors is, literally, a dream come true.

It's amazing to see all this book action. Agile Web Development with Rails will definitely be the foundation, though. The bible title you get first and then compliment with all the others coming out. I'll try my very best to make it deserving of this pole position.

Challenge by Bill Katz on March 23, 18:14

Congratulations David. Not a bad venue for your debut as an author :)

Challenge by Andrew on March 23, 19:24

Great news. I've really liked your explanations and examples in the Rails docs (I assume that most of the ones that have been around a while--like the ActiveRecord Base class stuff--is yours).

Challenge by David Heinemeier Hansson on March 23, 19:33

They are. I held back the release of Rails at least a month while I was working on making those docs worth your while. Having good documentation is absolutely essential to the success of a framework. We still got work to do, but things could be almost infinitely worse. Lots of frameworks or cool libraries have languished for lack of documentation.

Challenge by kevin barnes on March 24, 0:13


Seems as though, Mr. Thomas would be wise to author a book along these lines, "Agile Book Development: Refactoring Your Words to Keep Pace with Your Subject Matter".

Challenge by Ralf Wirdemann on March 24, 10:01

Great news David. Cant wait to get a Rails book written by Dave Thomas and David Heinemeier Hansson. This year will be an exciting one for Ruby and especially for Rails.

Challenge by sh on March 24, 15:58

Hi David,

I am a J2EE developer and am interested in learning Ruby, RoR. Where would you suggest I start?


Challenge by David Heinemeier Hansson on March 24, 17:21

It depends on how you learn best. We have tutorials, reference documentation, and loads of open source Rails code for you to look at. Checkout

Challenge by ToddG on March 25, 0:26

"They are. I held back the release of Rails at least a month while I was working on making those docs worth your while. Having good documentation is absolutely essential to the success of a framework."

Without a doubt. This and the overall thought-out-ness of the whole project put it head and shoulders above so many others, even if there is(was?) something out there better. A framework is not just lines of code in source files. It's too bad so few developers seem to understand this, or be willing to follow through on it. Thanks again.

Challenge by Hardcore_gamer on March 25, 16:27

Det er dog det grimmeste jeg længe har set.. fuck mand du kan jo ikke engang kode eller kom ind på og og bliv svinet noget mere til "1" svans. Hardcore owner dig sq da ..

Challenge by Winston on March 31, 20:47

Speaking of "Deploying and Scaling", I'd love to know more about deploying and scaling Rails now.

What I'd really love is some pages that lay out all of the major performance, scalability, and deployment issues that people have faced so far. With the amount of support and upcoming books on Rails, it seems like most of those issues good be addressed quickly and effectively, but, aside from hunting through newsgroup threads, I can't seem to find any good resources on what those issues actually are.

I've read about Apache+FastCGI vs WEBrick, but haven't seen anything conclusive, and I haven't heard about any other options besides those two. I think I remember hearing that RHTML evaluation is one of the bigger bottlenecks. Somewhere else I read that rails was not "prematurely" optimized, suggesting that there were significant bottlenecks in the framework code, but no details were given.

I've rewritten a social networking application in a ridiculously short amount of time, and the code is infinitely more maintainable than its Java predecessor (not a knock on Java -- the previous developers were awful. I'm a pretty hardcore J2EE guy in the daytime). After initially being very excited, my client is now extremely concerned about the risk of being an "early adopter" of Ruby and Rails. I can easily make the case that it will be easier for one of their developers with no Ruby experience to maintain the Rails version than it would be for a seasoned Java developer to maintain the old Java version. The remaining concerns have to do with deployment and scalability. What are our options? What has worked for other people? What are the pitfalls? I just can't find any concrete information.

ps - to the J2EE guy who wants to learn RoR, I did the following:
1. Read "Rolling with Ruby on Rails"
2. Scan the Pragmatic Programmer's Guide to Programming Ruby
3. Read all of the README pages for each Rails component.