Rails Documentation Resources

Breaking this thread out because the last one was somewhat emotionally
charged.

Some points:

- Please do not confuse language documentation with framework documentation.
To say that PHP documentation is better that Rails documentation is
comparing apples to oranges
- Please do not assume that Rails documentation should encompass all of Ruby
and all of Rails. When you are looking for information on topics like
instance_variable_get or instance_variable_set, consider that it might be
Ruby and not Rails that defines the function

Some recommendations:

- Find blogs by people you respect on various subjects and bookmark them
- Find resources for overall API documentation and bookmark them
- Find a list of cheat sheets and bookmark them
- Read the Rails mailing list and a clear picture will begin to emerge
- Please do not assume that some collection of documents will provide a set
of magic recipes whereby you can instantly be an expert Rails developer.
You'll need to work on a complete skill set from OS and server configuration
to Ruby to Rails
- Take advantage of the great books out there. No, they're not silver
bullets, but they collect a great deal of wisdom into a relatively small
number of pages. And... by all means, get the PDF versions when available so
you can quickly find any specific item

I think it's a safe statement that nobody who posts on this list was born an
expert at developing Rails applications. Over the months and/or years (for
the Rails graybeards), people have acquired these skills. It's also a safe
statement that no matter how good documentation is, there will be holes in
it somewhere. The question is how big are the holes and what are you willing
to do about it?

Here are a few resources I rely on:

The Wiki: http://wiki.rubyonrails.org/rails
Gotapi for general API info: http://gotapi.com/
Rails Manual for more up-to-date info than Gotapi: http://railsmanual.org/
Rubydoc for Ruby questions: http://www.ruby-doc.org/
Pickaxe for more Ruby: http://whytheluckystiff.net/ruby/pickaxe/
Why's Poignant Guide for more Ruby: http://poignantguide.net/ruby/
Rails Weenie for cool q&a and tips: http://rails.techno-weenie.net/
Rails Forum for good give and take discussion: http://railsforum.com/
BDD Documentation: http://rspec.rubyforge.org/documentation/index.html
Luke Redpath for great writing about BDD (also look at :
http://www.lukeredpath.co.uk/2006/8/29/developing-a-rails-model-using-bdd-and-rspec-part-1
Dave Astels for BDD philosophy and fundamentals: http://blog.daveastels.com/

I suppose this would be a good point to chime in with my own person experience and suggestions.

Breaking this thread out because the last one was somewhat emotionally

charged.

Some points:

  • Please do not confuse language documentation with framework documentation.
    To say that PHP documentation is better that Rails documentation is
    comparing apples to oranges

This is an extremely good observation. By all means, if you’re going to learn Rails, then make sure you’ve got a good handle on Ruby first. Personally, I didn’t use the books to learn Ruby, I used one of the tutorials hanging around on the web, then I found a nice quick reference so I could look up how to do specific tasks and bits of syntax (I use this: http://www.zenspider.com/Languages/Ruby/QuickRef.html).

Now that I’ve got a good grasp on Ruby, when I need to figure out something more it’s typically an API that I’m trying to learn. In that case, if the API’s docs aren’t helpful enough, I’ll just read the code. That has proven to be a wonderful means to both learn more about writing good Ruby code and how many of these APIs or libraries works. Just to make things clear, by “read the code”, I mean that I’ve been reading the Ruby code…I haven’t yet had to go and read any C. :slight_smile:

  • Please do not assume that Rails documentation should encompass all of Ruby

and all of Rails. When you are looking for information on topics like
instance_variable_get or instance_variable_set, consider that it might be
Ruby and not Rails that defines the function

Some recommendations:

  • Find blogs by people you respect on various subjects and bookmark them

  • Find resources for overall API documentation and bookmark them

  • Find a list of cheat sheets and bookmark them

  • Read the Rails mailing list and a clear picture will begin to emerge

  • Please do not assume that some collection of documents will provide a set
    of magic recipes whereby you can instantly be an expert Rails developer.
    You’ll need to work on a complete skill set from OS and server configuration

to Ruby to Rails

  • Take advantage of the great books out there. No, they’re not silver
    bullets, but they collect a great deal of wisdom into a relatively small
    number of pages. And… by all means, get the PDF versions when available so

you can quickly find any specific item

These are all fantastic suggestions. While I did go and buy the various Ruby and Rails books, I wouldn’t put too much emphasis on using them to learn these things, because right now they spend most of their time in the backseat of my car. As I said above, to learn Rails, I’ve mostly been reading the source.

I think it’s a safe statement that nobody who posts on this list was born an

expert at developing Rails applications. Over the months and/or years (for
the Rails graybeards), people have acquired these skills. It’s also a safe
statement that no matter how good documentation is, there will be holes in

it somewhere. The question is how big are the holes and what are you willing
to do about it?

Here are a few resources I rely on:

The Wiki: http://wiki.rubyonrails.org/rails

Gotapi for general API info: http://gotapi.com/
Rails Manual for more up-to-date info than Gotapi: http://railsmanual.org/
Rubydoc for Ruby questions: http://www.ruby-doc.org/

The Rails Manual and Rubydoc are both in my bookmarks and are rather heavily used. While Rubydoc isn’t usually all that helpful, the Rails Manual can be quite useful depending on what you’re looking for.

Pickaxe for more Ruby: http://whytheluckystiff.net/ruby/pickaxe/

Why’s Poignant Guide for more Ruby: http://poignantguide.net/ruby/

If you can deal with it, Why’s guide does have a lot of very useful information in it. I used it to learn about metaprogramming, but beyond that I personally just can’t stand it. No offence meant to Why, he’s a damn genius, I just can’t stand that guide. :slight_smile:

I have some server space. Give me some code and a domain and I'll put
it online.

steve

I decided to put a Mephisto blog on some of my server space. It's now at:

http://rtfm.calicowebdev.com

I haven't had time to add much, but you can send suggestions to me and I'll
do it as I have time.

Enjoy

Sean Colquhoun-2 wrote: