A Live Edition for Learning Rails

By Simon St. Laurent
February 17, 2010 | Comments: 4

One of the best things about Rails is that it's under constant development. New features appear constantly, and the upcoming 3.0 release even streamlines the architecture substantially. This wonderful track record of incremental development gives developers an ever-better set of tools to work with, but is really difficult for those of us documenting those tools in old-fashioned ink and paper.

I'm very happy to announce that O'Reilly has released the Live Edition of Learning Rails, which brings the book up to date from its original November 2008 release (covering Rails 2.1.0) to last month (covering Rails 2.3.5), as well as incorporating errata. Right now, the Live Edition is available only electronically, but we hope to have print on demand as well sometime in the not too distant future. Readers using Safari Books Online will also have access to the Live Edition soon.

If you buy the Live Edition, you'll get electronic updates through the next full edition of the book. In this case, the Live Edition will include the Rails 3.x versions, as they're coming up very quickly. We've already started work with the Rails 3.0 beta, most of which isn't that drastic a shift, but which has some basic changes that will definitely make it difficult for beginners to use the older books.

This is a pilot project, and we still have a lot to figure out. Because it's on a continual update cycle, there won't be a copyedit until the next full edition. Hopefully readers will tolerate that in favor of updated coverage. (It is, at least, much easier to fix typos, and there's less need to check the errata page!)

We have a lot of other questions, though. Do we keep versions covering Rails 2.x available when 3.x comes out? Are Learning customers interested in a version that covers the Rails 3.0 beta? How far should we go in making other changes to the book?

Let us know what you think, and that input will help guide us. We're also getting ready for more Live Edition projects, so there will be more news soon!

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for no particular reason I started picking Rails up last week. Of course, the first tutorial I stumbled across was written against 3.0, so that's what I started with and naturally I'm now finding myself deep in code trying to figure out what parts of the 2.x documentation apply and which don't, and why many plugins won't work :)

In order words: yes, I'd love to see early 3.0 coverage, even though I'm not usually into the "Learning" series.

@Robin - The Rails guides site (http://guides.rubyonrails.org/) is being updated for 3.0, as is the free online preview of The Rails Tutorial Book (http://www.railstutorial.org/).

what's the latest on the live learning rails...and is it safari ebook yet?....dave

Yes, please update us on the next version. I should have done more research before buying Learning Rails, but since "Learning Ruby" had so many in-book inserts on how future versions were going to work with Ruby, I assumed that the Live Edition of Learning Rails would at the very least provide ample information about 3.x changes online if not in the book. Instead there hasn't been a singe mention yet in the book or online of an update (that I can tell at least). And 3.x has been out officially for over 6 months now.

I just purchased this book and I'm finding it basically useless since I've spent enough time already trying to figure out why scripts/server doesn't work the same, or that you need a "new" keyword when creating a new rails application.

Even if the updates are a bit rough, I'd rather have them now than have to disregard the book and learn Rails another way.



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