The Ruby on Rails Tutorial book, updated for Rails 5

Jun 28, 2016 • posted by Michael Hartl

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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