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Coming to life

Oct 7, 2009 • posted by Michael Hartl

After a busy few months filled with travel and contract work, I've finally been able to give the Ruby on Rails Tutorial project the attention it deserves, and now it's really coming to life. As a first step, I've written a markup system to make the Rails Tutorial book available simultaneously as HTML and as a PDF; you can see an example of the markup system (which I call PolyTeXnic) in this short sample document. I've also started writing the main book, and will soon start releasing some chapters to the public. Of course, this is only the beginning—expect to see many exciting announcements here in the coming weeks and months!

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.)