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Book Review: Rails Cookbook by Rob Orsini

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Rob Orsini opens his book Rails Cookbook by saying that Ruby on Rails has revolutionized the process of developing web applications and has enabled web developers to become much faster and more efficient, which allows for quicker application development. It is my opinion that the O'Reilly Cookbook series has done the same for software development. The fact is that it allows developers to become faster and more efficient, which allows for quicker development by providing time tested tricks and pearls of wisdom; exactly what you need when you need it.

Rails Cookbook is meant for someone with web development skills, but who may be new to Rails. It is also for those who are trying to learn new techniques in Rails and want a clear, concise method to learn it without having to read an entire book. In this cookbook there are over 170 recipes broken into 15 chapters. Together they provide a wide range of solutions that will help you test, debug, and improve your application.

In "Getting Started" you will learn how to install, update and set up version control with Subversion. "Rails Development" will show you how to begin development in Rails by creating a rails project and introducing other add-ons to make development more efficient.

"Active Record" shows you how to set up a relational database to use with Rails as well as working with the concept of Active Record which allows you to define the logic of your domain model using Ruby. "Action Controller" teaches you how to handle the incoming requests and how they hand off each request to a particular action. "Action View" completes the triumvirate of the Model-View-Controller (MVC) pattern by showing how the data is presented to the user.

"RESTful Development" explores the Rails world of building full-featured web services within the Rails environment. "Rails Application Testing" shows how being proactive in the approach to testing comes by writing the tests before you write the code – by thinking about what the code should not do, then creating a test to make sure that it doesn't.

"JavaScript and Ajax" ensures that the power of Rails makes it easy to deal with JavaScript and Ajax as well as some of the common effects that you can achieve using them. "Action Mailer" shows you how to set up an application to send emails as well as responding to incoming emails. "Debugging Rails Applications" will help ease the pain of debugging an application. You will learn of the many powerful tools that Rails gives to you to combat bugs.

"Security" covers things like SQL injection and Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) as well as securing ports. "Performance" will help you diagnose speed problems using HTTPerf to measure your web server performance, benchmark your code, and help you figure how best to work with page caching. "Hosting and Deployment" gets you over the hump of deploying a Rails application.

"Extending Rails with Plug-ins" shows you how to extend your Rails application by installing third-party software to accomplish tasks that the Rails framework was not designed to handle. Lastly, "Graphics" will help you to upload, store and display images using a database as well as aid in generating PDF files from a variety of source data.

Rails Cookbook will guide you through the traps and pitfalls of Rails development by providing you with the building blocks of source code to make any Rails application complete. The book will be an essential addition to your programming library.

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About T. Michael Testi

Photographer, writer, software engineer, educator, and maker of fine images.