Ruby on Rails Tutorial Michael Hartl

Review to one of the most popular Ruby on Rails tutorial
Sergey Siminskiy's picture
Sergey Siminskiy
22 June
Ruby

A dynamic, open source programming language with a focus on simplicity and productivity.
 

Ruby on Rails

Ruby on Rails (RoR) - a framework written in the Ruby programming language.

When you will start to learn RoR, one of the first book that will be recommended to you is a Ruby on Rails Tutorial by Michael Hartl. This is one of the most popular newbie’s Ruby guide. At the moment, it has 6 editions and translated to many languages. It consists of 14 chapters and 744 pages. Thru these pages, Michael will teach you how to develop custom web applications, using the popular Ruby on Rails framework. It will also focus on the general principles of web development.

Ruby on Rails Tutorial by Michael Hartl
Ruby on Rails Tutorial by Michael Hartl

Author

Michael Hartl is former Y Combinator alumni, he has a Ph.D. degree in theoretical physics and he was teaching at Caltech. His book guides you through building a Twitter clone in Rails. This is the only Rails book that does test-driven development the whole time. This approach is highly recommended by the experts.

Michael Hartl
Michael Hartl

By including Git, GitHub, and Heroku in the demo examples, the author really gives you a feel for what it’s like to do a real-life project. The tutorial code examples are not isolated.

Book targeting

The book is targeted to a Rails newcomer, not a pro web developer, but general programming skills are needed. Author assume that you are a beginner, so, he will introduce whole Rails ecosystem to you. So, some time will be spent to install version control system called Git and text editors for coding.

What's inside

Inside Ruby on Rails Tutorial
Inside Ruby on Rails Tutorial

Building a Twitter clone by this book will be in a “hard way”, without a gem for user authentication. So, you will be involved in building different models (user, micropost and session), creating partials, passing information between different classes and handling errors.

A micro-blogging app is used to slowly, step-by-step walk through the different Rails features. The tutorial also explains some of the “magic” that goes on under the covers that Rails provides for you.  

Whole book is like a perfectly written program, modular, without any bugs or “empty code”. Author specify the exact versions of every gem, Rails and databases that are used. The book has zero errors, so, every time you will have a bug, it is an issue on your end.

True coder's habits

Usage of GitHub, Heroku, branching makes you feel like you are working on a real-life project, being a “real coder”. Number of gems, used in a test project is not very big, only the most common were used. Most of the things are made by hands.

Book is focused on testing. It starts from RSpec unit tests, then integration tests. TDD approach is followed for a long time where the tests come before the code, a practice that is commonly used by the coders. It will help you to create a good coder habits like running tests before and after merging a branch and refactor your code to reduce duplicates and increase application’s stability.  

Here is a good quote from the book:

If you ask five Rails developers how to test any given piece of code, you’ll get about fifteen different answers—but they’ll all agree that you should definitely be writing tests.
 

Michael Hartl
Ruby on Rails Tutorial

Also, Tutorial teaches you how to use Terminal properly. You will learn how to set up a sublime text shortcut, how to navigate file structures, create files and other shortcuts that will help you. Terminal will be your program associated with programming and technical expertise.

Conclusion

Ruby on Rails tutorial is a long course and it needs assiduity and diligence. But you can learn a lot from it.

It covers everything someone new to developing Ruby on Rails applications could need. It’s a good fit for people new to web development and new to Rails.

Ready to master Rails? Get this book. 

A. Davydov: It's vital not to stop and find conceptually new solutions

An Open Source enthusiast and one of the core developers of the Ruby-framework Hanami shares ideas about Hanami, Ruby and the developer's life
Diana Ugay's picture
Diana Ugay
10 August

Anton Davydov
Anton Davydov

An Open Source enthusiast and one of the core developers of the Ruby-framework Hanami.

On the eve of RailsClub 2017, on which Anton will be one of the speaks, we questioned him about the job and his views on Ruby development.

What are you working on right now?

I am working for a Healthcare start-up, which can improve the lives of so many people in the US. Unfortunately, I can't tell you more about it as I have signed the NDA. Talking about Open Source projects, now we are working on the version of Hanami 1.1. Besides, Sergey and I create a library for Event Sourcing in Hanami. It already works without a global state as well as does subscribe & broadcast for events, supports multiple adapters and allows you to easily add your own ones. The library is to have much more cool features in the future, such as retries, the construction of the event tree and eventbox documentation.

Isn't there something similar in Ruby with the Wisper gem...

Yes, it is very similar, but Wisper implements pub/sub only in the memory of one instance, while we want to allow the developer to choose how to process such messages: in one instance or to scale a few.

What about new adapters? How will they be added?

You just have to resolve them into a container. For now, we have in-memory and Redis adapters which you can play with. Kafka, RabbitMQ and, probably, PostgreSQL will show up in the future. 

What is your view on the development of Hanami in the next four years?

As now there's definitely a monopoly of Rails, I would like to see a worthy alternative in Hanami. This will allow all frameworks to develop. Thus, Hanami already solves business problems and many developers are inspired by this tool. I hope that in the future we will manage to view on Ruby as a dying language and popularize new ideas.

Do you think Hanami can become a mainstream in the future?

I've noticed some significant changes in the attitude towards the framework and its ecosystem over the last year. To measure it you have to take a look at the gems downloading scale, the frequency of the posts publishing, the conferences'references. A year ago, when people heard about Hanami, they would circle a first finger by a temple, whereas now they come up and tell us that they enjoy the framework, and they are already using it.

Why do you think it was Rails that became the standard in Ruby development?

To my mind, there are several reasons for this. Firstly, everyone was tired of verbose Java- and PHP-frameworks, so there was a need to create a simple and operative solution. Secondly, the framework allows you to quickly launch products, the creation of which in other languages would take weeks and even months. For many of the developers it was like a breath of fresh air and Rails has quickly gained popularity.
Now, there is no other MVC-framework of full value except for Rails. There are Sinatra and other http-frameworks out there, but they do not provide the developers with the opportunity to start working on business tasks with just one command.

In your opinion, what are the problems the Ruby community is facing right now?

Well, a lot of my friends are saying or have said that they are too bored with Ruby. They do the same thing day after day, which, consequently, kills the motivation, that's why a lot of them begin to study other languages ​​and technologies. People lack something radically new, some ideas that will allow them to look at their work from the different perspective.
It is vital not to stop and find conceptually new solutions, which nowadays the guys from dry/rom are busy with. Unfortunately, any new approach - not only in Ruby - is almost always perceived with hostility. On the one hand, some criticality should definitely take place, however, it usually kills the motivation to move on and grow as a community.

What is the path of the Ruby developer for you in general?

There's no single answer for this question, I guess. In my opinion, a good developer is interested in the capabilities of different languages and systems. If so, the specialist himself is to decide what is good for him and what is not. Thus, they would be able to choose really useful approaches to be used in work in the future.

Which gem, in your opinion, can serve as an example of an ideal code?

I certainly would not point at Ruby core (laughs). it's  quite hard to talk about such ephemeral concepts as the quality and the beauty of the code as I myself can't say that I write a good, so I do not always like it. To me, the best gems are those that simply solve existing problems and do not create new ones.

How do you learn something new about Ruby? Do you read blogs or use other sources?

I like link aggregators, e.g. Reddit. I also use RSS, which allows you to get acquainted with different points of view on the same problem.
For example, an article appeared recently about why Hanami is bad. There was, in fact, the only one point: the call method is magically called in the framework. The majority of the community was trying hard to explain that this was normal: excessive explicitness hurts sometimes. It's very interesting to read such things as you start to look at things from a different angle.
I also have my own Telegram channel, and the followers often send me some interesting links.

You were doing a platform for a collaboration on the Open Source-projects of OSS Board, weren't you. Are you still working on this project?

That's correct, I continue working on it right now. It seems to me that I failed to promote the OSS Board properly. That's very difficult to find people who will create tasks there and do them, especially when the task is slightly more difficult than making changes to the form. The main problem of the project is the search for specialists who will be able to add a well-described task as you need to monitor it, update it and communicate with the developers, which is actually is a very great work. However, there are still people who help, which I am very grateful for.

What do you consider your greatest achievement in the career?

I received more than 80 comments with questions about each line on one of the pull request in Rails. I never finished it, but as a result I started take such things easier.
On top of that, I finished the project in Google Summer of Code, while a lot of people give up in the first month, even more - on the second, and only a few gets to the end.

What kind of project was it?

This was a plugin for Sidekiq, which shows the statistics for all the tasks. Unfortunately, I've abandoned it due to the lack of time, although it is a fairly popular library.

What are your main achievements in life?

To me, it is that I did not shy away from speaking in English for the first time in my life at the conference EuRuKo-2016 in Sofia in front of the audience of 700 people. It is way easier to make a report in Russian as this is your mother tongue. You can imagine that it is very anxiously when you do not know English well and do not have the experience of such performances.

In your opinion, who from the Open Source developers can be considered an example to follow?

It's definitely worth it to look at what other developers are doing. They generate and implement interesting ideas that you can help to develop or just take a good note. However, first of all you need to focus on yourself and not compare yourself with others.

What are you going to talk about at the conference and why is it worth listening to?

I am to talk about the experience. I've been working not only on the framework, but also on its ecosystem for the last year and a half. To some extent I can be called a developer advocate of the Hanami framework. Thus, I will talk about why this work is needed, what mistakes I've made along the way and how to take this experience and apply it to another framework or technology.