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June 28, 2016

UPDATE: Rails 5 just launched, and the Ruby on Rails Tutorial has already been updated accordingly.

I’ve just launched the newest edition of the Ruby on Rails Tutorial book, updated for Rails 5! It’s available for free online, for purchase as an ebook (PDF, EPUB, MOBI), and best of all via the Learn Enough Society (details below).

(I’m especially pleased to be launching the new edition today because it’s also Tau Day, a math holiday I founded in 2010 with the publication of The Tau Manifesto. Happy Tau Day!)

With the release of this new edition, the Ruby on Rails Tutorial continues to be the most comprehensive and up-to-date resource for learning web development with Rails. As with previous editions, its focus is on the general principles of web development, not on Rails specifically, though of course it gives you a great foundation with Rails as well.

Although there are many alternatives in web development, I believe Rails is still the best overall choice for learning how to develop dynamic web applications. Rails has a combination of power and maturity that few frameworks can rival, and is used by companies as diverse as GitHub, Disney, and Airbnb.

While preferred development stacks in languages like JavaScript seem to change every six months, the core of Rails has remained stable for years, even as it has added innovations like Action Cable and Rails API to stay on the cutting edge. (For more information on coverage of these new technologies, see below.)

As with the 3rd edition of the tutorial, the new Rails 5 edition covers every major aspect of web development:

  • Creating both static and dynamic pages with Rails templates
  • Data modeling with a full database back-end
  • Creating a working signup page from scratch
  • Building a custom login and authentication system
  • Learning to use cookies to make a working “remember me” checkbox
  • Activating accounts and resetting passwords
  • Sending email in Rails, both locally and in production
  • Advanced data modeling to create a mini Twitter-like application
  • Coverage of software best practices, including test-driven development and version control
  • Emphasis on strong security throughout
  • Deploying to production early and often

Those familiar with the previous edition will find the following main differences in the Rails 5 version:

  • 14 chapters instead of 12, due not to new material but to the two longest chapters being split in two (much more manageable)
  • Full compatibility with Rails 5, including the use of the rails command in place of rake and new default behavior for controller and integration tests
  • A huge number of new exercises, spread throughout each chapter for maximum reinforcement of the material

This last difference was probably the most time-consuming change for the new edition, but it was well worth the effort: many readers had requested more frequent exercises, rather than having them all collected at the end, and the new design makes the material much easier to absorb and retain.

Even if you’ve already read a previous edition of the Rails Tutorial, I think you’ll still get a lot out of going through the new edition and solving all the exercises.

By far the best way to do this is through the Learn Enough Society, a subscription service that includes the full Ruby on Rails Tutorial. This is because the Learn Enough Society exercises interface lets you record your answers and see the answers of other Society members, which means you can work on your own but can always get a hint if you need one.

The Learn Enough Society is offered as part of Learn Enough to Be Dangerous, dedicated to teaching the essential skill of technical sophistication, which gives you the seemingly magical ability to solve any technical problem.

In the modern technical landscape, there’s perhaps no more valuable example of technical sophistication than web development, so naturally the Ruby on Rails Tutorial is a perfect fit.

The Learn Enough Society currently includes the following products:

  • Learn Enough Command Line to Be Dangerous: Nearly 100 pages of content, dozens of exercises, and over an hour of video
  • Learn Enough Text Editor to Be Dangerous: Over 100 pages of content, dozens of exercises, and over an hour of video
  • Learn Enough Git to Be Dangerous: Over 100 pages of content, dozens of exercises, and over an hour of video
  • Ruby on Rails Tutorial: Over 700 pages of content, over 300 exercises, and—to be released soon—over 15 hours of video

My cofounders and I are also hard at work filling in the introductory Learn Enough tutorials, with HTML, CSS & Layout, and JavaScript coming soon.

For those who want to take their Rails development to the next level using the latest features in Rails 5, we’re planning to release standalone tutorials on Action Cable and Rails API as well. (Be sure to sign up for the email list to get notifications.)

Finally, for members who stay in the Learn Enough Society for at least two months, we’ll be offering the full Rails Tutorial ebook download (PDF, EPUB, MOBI) as a free bonus!

As always, the Ruby on Rails Tutorial is available for free online, and the ebook is also available for direct purchase. As indicated above, the best way to get the Rails Tutorial is via the Learn Enough Society, which gets you the full book as well as priority access to the Rails Tutorial screencast videos (with the first videos launching next week!). Plus you get access to all the other Learn Enough tutorials as well.

I’m really excited about how the Learn Enough tutorials are coming together, and I’m especially pleased with how well the Rails Tutorial fits in. We’ve got a great group going in the private Learn Enough Society Slack, and enterprising Society members have already shared the answers to hundreds of exercises.

Adding the Rails Tutorial is taking things to a whole new level, so I hope you’ll join us there!

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May 18, 2016

Good news, everyone! I’ve just started updating the Ruby on Rails Tutorial for Rails 5. This new 4th edition of the Rails Tutorial will be fully compatible with the latest version of Rails while adding a large number of instructive new exercises (optimized for use with the Learn Enough answers UI​).

The final version of Rails 5 isn’t even out yet, so this is a chance to really be on the cutting edge.

Once the new edition is finished, I think it’ll be the absolute best resource for learning web development with Rails. It will also be fully integrated with Learn Enough to Be Dangerous and the Learn Enough Society.

The initial availability of new Ruby on Rails Tutorial chapters is exclusive to members of the Learn Enough Society. The free online version and ebook sales will launch for everyone once all 12 chapters are updated. My plan is to publish a couple of chapters a week until it’s finished.

Today I’m releasing drafts of Chapter 1: From zero to deploy and Chapter 2: A toy app. Learn Enough Society members can follow those links directly or go to learnenough.com/courses and scroll to the bottom of the page. Of course, joining the Learn Enough Society now gets you instant access.

After the book is finished, I’ll be updating and releasing the screencast videos as well, both for sale and for free to Learn Enough Society members.

The current update focuses on the core subject of web development, but I also plan to cover topics specific to Rails 5 (such as Action Cable and Rails API) in separate follow-on products.

This release is a major milestone for Ruby on Rails, and likewise for the Ruby on Rails Tutorial. Looking forward to seeing what you do with it!

P.S. You can get instant access to all Rails Tutorial updates by joining the Learn Enough Society now.

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April 19, 2016

This is just a short post announcing an exciting new service to help you develop the single most valuable skill in the 21st century. I’m not going to say what it is here, though—to find out more, you’ll have to read the Learn Enough Story. Hope you’ll check it out!

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Michael Hartl

I’m Michael Hartl—author, educator, and entrepreneur. I’m probably best known as the creator of the Ruby on Rails Tutorial, a book and screencast series that together constitute one of the leading introductions to web development. Once called his “favorite book” by Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, the Ruby on Rails Tutorial currently has over 150 5-star reviews at Amazon. I’m also (in)famous for creating Tau Day and The Tau Manifesto, which have inspired an international movement dedicated to the proposition that “pi is wrong.” (For example, as a result of The Tau Manifesto, MIT releases their admissions decisions each year at “Tau Time” (6:28 p.m.), and typing tau/2 at Google yields 3.14159…) Finally, I’m a founder of Softcover, a publishing system and sales platform for technical authors, which among other things powers both The Tau Manifesto and the Ruby on Rails Tutorial.

I’m a graduate of Harvard College and have a Ph.D. in Physics from Caltech, where I studied black hole dynamics and was an award-winning instructor in theoretical and computational physics. I’m also an alumnus of Y Combinator, the entrepreneur program that has produced companies such as Dropbox and Airbnb. (Alas, my own Y Combinator startup was neither Dropbox nor Airbnb.)