} You are severely disturbed if you think that Google and the (current)
} API docs are all you need to learn Rails. I don't think API docs are a
} good place to point newbies; I think RDocs are great for people who
} "get it" but need a little nudging.
We call those people who "get it" programmers. Google will find you the
first edition of AWDWR which is free for download. That will teach you the
basic concepts behind of Rails (MVC, convention over configuration, app/*
directories, ActiveRecord, etc.). The rest is just the API, which is
reasonably well documented online.
Failing that, there is the source itself. If you understand Ruby well
enough to use Rails effectively, you understand it well enough to read,
comprehend, and even introspect the Rails source code. Of course, many
people are coming to Rails without strong Ruby knowledge; that's fine, and
they are encouraged to buy books and read the mailing list archives and
learn both Ruby and Rails.
} I agree with the OP. Rails' docs suck for over half of the people who
} are going to come to Rails. This is why we have a lot people asking
} questions on the mailing list that could/should be answered by quality
} documentation. I'm working on trying to fix this documentation
} conundrum that with my books, but I'm only one person and the
} featureset is so fluid that it's hard (at this point, impossible) to
} keep up.
} I think it's kind of ridiculous to ask someone to pay $40 for book to
} be able to use your framework because your documentation is terrible.
} I really hope that the documentation drive takes off and produces
} something useful.
Translation: Despite having provided this excellent web application
framework into which you have invested many hours of work at no charge, you
suck because I have to pay money for documentation of a quality similar to
that of the framework itself. I am unwilling to dedicate any time, effort,
or money to learning to use this excellent product; it is your
responsibility to spoonfeed it to me at no charge.
This translation is somewhat tongue-in-cheek, but I hope it points out the
absurdity of complaining about the cost of documentation for free (and
} I apologize for the rant.
Incidentally, you should check your local public library (and school
library, since I believe you mentioned being a student) to see if they have
AWDWR. If they do, you have access to the book at no cost. If not, most
librarians (both public and academic) are delighted to get feedback from
patrons on what books they'd like to see. Generally, librarians make
guesses on what to purchase based on their own preferences or what they've
heard from their friends, but can order and have a book on the shelves
within a month if there is a request from a patron (and the book isn't
hideously expensive). Make friends with your librarians; they are there to
help you and the good ones are eager to do so.