“The goal of Ruby is to make programmers happy. So why do I have to slog through 400 pages on RSpec and Capybara and Bootstrap and Sass before I can write a simple blog?”

You’re on your second Rails tutorial, and you feel like flipping a table.

Writing a Rails app is supposed to be easy, right? But even if you’ve seen all the pieces, you don’t know how they fit together. Everywhere you look there’s another DSL you have to learn. When you ask for help, you’re told that you should be using minitest/spec instead. And when your tests fail, you have to figure out if it’s your fault, another library’s fault, or if the book’s out of date. Again. How are you supposed to debug your code when you don’t even know what you’re doing?

You’ve heard that Rails is delightful to use. So why are you starting to feel like you should have learned PHP instead?

But what if you could build a Rails app you could hack on today? If you had someone to guide you through the dozens of libraries you feel like you have to learn? You’d know when arguments about ‘best practices’ are worth listening to, and when you can ignore them. You could use the object-oriented skills you already have to write good tests, instead of learning a bunch of single purpose DSLs. You’d be confident that you could handle any error you run into, and you’d know how to find help when you need it. And you could regain the feeling of pure joy that comes when you really start to get a fun new language.

The Ruby ecosystem can feel overwhelming, but you don’t have to let it crush you.

Practicing Rails will help you cut through the noise and complexity and finally become the Rails developer you know you should be.

“I consider Practicing Rails among the best software books I’ve read. It clearly explains the exact approach I took when learning Ruby and Rails. In a couple hours, you can learn the most important lessons that took me almost a decade to figure out. I just wish I had this book when I started. I’m glad I have it now.”

– Pat Maddox, RubySteps

Learn Rails without being overwhelmed

In this ebook, you’ll learn:

  • How to start your own Rails apps today, and learn as you build them.
  • The best ways to understand the most about Rails in the tiny amount of free time you have.
  • When to pay attention to new gems, libraries, and programming techniques, and when you can ignore them.
  • What error messages mean, where they come from, and how to fix them on your own.
  • Simple processes you can follow to build even the largest features and apps.

And most importantly, Practicing Rails will keep you motivated and on the right track to finally mastering Rails.

Is Practicing Rails right for me?

Tutorials seem so easy when they’re words on a page. But when you try to transform your ideas into code, all you feel is stress, frustration, and fear. You don’t have the time to learn it all over again, so did you spend that time reading for nothing?

This is a really common feeling to have. While I’ve been writing, I’ve heard from many people who have gone through introductory Rails books and videos, have learned the different parts of Rails, but can’t get beyond the tutorial Rails apps.

This book isn’t meant to teach you Rails from the ground up. There are already a few great places to get introduced to Rails.

But maybe you’ve seen the “what” of Rails, but don’t understand the “why” and the “how.” Maybe you were about to give up on Rails because you just can’t put the pieces together. If you feel like running away when you stare at your newly-generated Rails app, this book is written for you.

Practicing Rails is a companion to the rest of your Rails learning. A way to become a great Rails developer, without giving up, and without getting overwhelmed.

What will you learn?

Right after you purchase Practicing Rails, you’ll get all the information you need to change from a tutorial-follower to an app-builder. Here’s what’s covered in this 180 page ebook:

1. The best way to study new Rails ideas
How to create your own Rails playground • Three tricks for experimenting with Rails features quickly • How you can use Rails to learn Rails (get this chapter for free!)

2. How do you build your own Rails app?
Beating the terrifying emptiness of a new app • How to design and build new features, without getting stuck • A way to use your apps to tell you what to study next

3. How to test your code efficiently and effectively
What should you test, and what can you skip? • How testing can help you build your next feature • A template for your tests to help you get started • How to improve your tests with a few refactoring techniques • The best way to learn TDD

4. Your “learning Rails” roadmap
The most important things you need to know about Ruby and Rails • How much HTML, CSS, and JavaScript you need to get started • A list of my favorite books for each web development topic • How to handle the mountain of “must-learn” topics

5. What to do when your app stops working
How do you read exceptions? • Three approaches to easily debugging your own code • How to get help from Google, StackOverflow, GitHub, and IRC • The most common Ruby and Rails errors, and how to fix them

6. Keeping up with the Rails community
What new stuff should you keep track of? • How to get the best Rails news to come to you • Figuring out which tools and techniques will help your app, and which will hurt it • Staying up to date with your gems and libraries

7. Where learning Rails fits into your nonexistent free time
How to build the most Rails skill out of your limited free time • Doing the work when you’re not feeling motivated • Simple ways to turn learning Rails into a habit you’ll actually keep

Practicing Rails

Start Practicing Rails now for $49

(Buying Practicing Rails for your class or company? Click here for discounted group pricing)

“If anything would have stopped me from buying, it would have been the cost. But once I read the summary of the contents, I knew this book was something I really needed to read. I found that the book was worth the price, as it seemed like a good bridge between beginner tutorials and taking the next step in learning.

In Practicing Rails, I learned to take things one small chunk at a time. I previously thought making Tiny Apps would be overkill, but the way you explained it really helped! And I really appreciated the section on testing. This is one of the areas I’ve always felt the least comfortable, so it really helped me gain confidence on getting started.

As much as I enjoyed the content in the book, I also really appreciated the links to external references to continue learning. There are so many resources and books out there about Ruby and RoR, that it was nice to have a launch point after completing this book.

I would definitely recommend it to anyone who has done a few tutorials on Rails and still feels like there’s a huge amount of information to be learned, and for anyone that feels small when it comes to building an app from scratch.”

Matt Augustine

Learn how to use Rails to learn Rails: Get the first chapter of Practicing Rails for free

Sign up below to get your free 32-page sample of Practicing Rails. (Along with bonus Ruby tips and advice, sent straight to your inbox.)

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What are people saying?

“Justin consistently delivers professional and useful content for Rubyists at all levels and this book is no exception. There’s no doubt in my mind that you’ll be a better Rubyist after having read this book.”

– Brandon Hilkert, Author, Build a Ruby Gem

Which version of Rails does Practicing Rails use?

The current version covers Rails 5.1.

What formats does the book come in?

You can download Practicing Rails in PDF, EPUB, and MOBI formats.

Does the book have DRM?

Nope, you can read and enjoy the book on all of your devices that support PDF, MOBI, or EPUB formats, without restriction.

What if I’m not happy with the book?

I wrote this book to help you. So if you’re not happy with it, or don’t feel like it was worth the price, I don’t want to keep your money. If you’re unhappy with the book for any reason, send me an email, and I’ll refund you ASAP.

Did I forget something?

Send me your questions, I’d love to answer them.

“Like your blog, the book is easy to understand and you make your concepts and ideas clear. And for the first time within a book, I see that the author - you - are interested in helping people understand what is not so obvious in the first place.”

– Axel Yoshimoto

Still not sure? Get your free 32-page sample

Sign up to get your free 32-page sample of Practicing Rails. (Along with bonus Ruby tips and advice, sent straight to your inbox.)

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Who am I?

I'm Justin Weiss, a software engineer at Aha!. I first found Ruby in 2004, and it's been my favorite language ever since. Ruby brought the joy of programming back to me after years of Java, and I'll always love it for that.

I've written a few popular Ruby gems, including robut and resque_unit, and I've contributed to many more.

I live in Seattle, WA with my beautiful wife and two daughters.

I'd love to hear from you, so you should send me an email or follow me on Mastodon.