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The Ruby on Rails 3 Tutorial book (with PDF downloads) is out (railstutorial.org)
133 points by mhartl on July 28, 2010 | hide | past | web | favorite | 17 comments



As a special thank-you to the awesome community here, the main story link above contains a Hacker News–specific code for a 20% discount on Ruby on Rails Tutorial PDF purchases, good for 30 days. Here is the code if you want to use it directly:

    hackernews01
As noted on the Rails Tutorial site, the online version of the book is still free, and purchasers of the PDF will get unlimited free updates through the final release of Rails 3.0. (The online version will also be updated, of course.)

Finally, I'd like to announce that, after the Rails 3 ecosystem and book text have fully stabilized, the HTML source of the online version will be available under a Creative Commons license to allow for translation into other languages. Hacker News readers interested in translating the Ruby on Rails Tutorial book should email me at my personal address (available in my HN profile).


I hate to look a gift horse in the mouth, but e-junkie is vomiting on the code.

EDIT: No, wait, the discount happens and e-junkie reports that the code is invalid. ;) So I guess it's just a scary false alarm. Might want to fix it though; it nearly scared me away, so count me as an "A" in the informal A/B test of "scary popup/no scary popup".


Thanks! That was a snafu. There was no Hacker News code proper, because I accidentally named the discount hackernews01, and then forgot to fill in the code field with the actual code. Happily, despite the scary warning, E-Junkie's default behavior when this happens is to automatically apply any discounts with a missing code field—which in this case was the very discount whose code didn't work!

It's fixed now, and the discount code should work without any frightening JavaScript popups.

By the way, this is why I always monitor the Hacker News comments obsessively whenever I launch something. You guys rock!


Hey, I just wanted to say thanks for writing this. It really made it easy for me to get into rails development. Anyone who is interested in starting rails should definitely take a look at this. Can't wait to take a look at the Rails 3 version.


On a side note, i'm teaching a ruby on rails class based on Agile Web Development with Rails (rail3 beta version) and all of my lecture videos, and slides along with course erata are online http://thinkbohemian.com

the more rails3 the better. maybe my next class should be based on this book instead, let me know what you think.


That course looks great! I wish such classes were available when I was in school.

By the way, you might want to be careful about using Agile Web Development with Rails when teaching a course. Its code license is quite restrictive, as you can see at http://books.pragprog.com/titles/rails4/source_code:

    Copyrights apply to this source code. You may use the source code in
    your own projects, however the source code may not be used to create
    training material, courses, books, articles, and the like. We make
    no guarantees that this source code is fit for any purpose. 
I generally think the PragProgs are awesome (I originally learned Rails from AWDwR and a Pragmatic Studio course), and it seems bizarre that they really might not want you to use their book in your course, but that seems like a reasonable interpretation of their license. (Caveat: IANAL.) On the other hand, all the source code in the Ruby on Rails Tutorial book is released under the MIT License (http://railstutorial.org/book#license), so you can do pretty much anything you want with it. (Technically, the Rails Tutorial source code is dual-licensed under the MIT License and the Beerware License—the latter of which invites you to buy me a beer if you're ever so inclined: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beerware. :-)


Thanks for putting this together, you're definitely qualified, and i like what i've read. In case I end up jumping ship, do you prefer light or dark beer? (Also would you consider discounts for students with .edu email ?)

I've been very careful to not use any of the book's code in any of my presentations. I only use the book as exercises for the students, and to server as a content template for what order to teach materials.

They donated free pdf books to all .edu students in the class, so i don't think they would sue me...hopefully...


I'd be happy to offer a .edu discount. Email my personal address and we can discuss it further.

I like all kinds of beer, but let's go with dark for now. ;-)


Just bought it. I have a feeling this will be a better value than my $1500 Thoughtbot class. :)


Awesome. I'm very glad that there's a free online version, as well. Oddly, that makes me much more likely to purchase the pdf.

Now, if only Rails 3 were finished.


Hey mhartl...love that this is finally done.

One suggestion I have though, is I feel like you are giving away too much on the site.

One point of interest is that I can just simply press 'view all as single page' and then do a Print to PDF and have everything in one nice PDF.

Granted, I am sure the official version looks MUCH nicer, but there isn't THAT much difference between the crude version and your version - in terms of content.

So one suggestion might be disabling that function. Allow users to be able to see all the chapters and everything, and even if they want to print it all out, they could still do it chapter by chapter, but that is a huge hassle.

Also, if you did that, I would love to know what impact it had on sales (if any) :)

Hope that helps.


Thanks for the feedback, and I appreciate your concern. I'll consider removing the link you mention, but I'm not too worried about the scenario you describe. The PDF resulting from "Save as PDF" is total crap; for instance, there is no source code syntax highlighting, and none of the cross-reference links work—it's not even remotely as nice as the PDF available for purchase. Plus, most people don't even notice the "view as single page" link you mention. ;-) Finally, I personally love that link, and I want other people to have the convenience of a single-page view, too. Among other things, it makes searching the book a breeze, rendering an index unnecessary, even if you don't buy the PDF.


Wow, awesome! Especially cool that you're releasing under CC to allow for translation - thanks :)


Looks great!

One question/suggestion I have is if you are planning to have some kind of forum on your site so people who are working with the book could help each other. Might be especially interesting for people who only have "general computer knowledge" (like me).

I know there are millions of other pages to look for help but have something dedicated especially to this book might still be useful. If you or other experienced programmers would answer some of the questions you could also charge for that (I would pay).


I've been considering a forum for a while, and I've looked as several possible alternatives. One problem is that a forum could easily be a no-win situation for me: if I participated regularly, then it would become a huge time sink; if I didn't, then people would likely complain that I wasn't answering their questions.

I like your suggestion of having experienced programmers charge to answer questions, but I don't know of any successful pay-for-answers forum model. That doesn't rule it out, though, and maybe it's worth running an experiment at some point.

It's worth noting that there is a feedback form, available here: http://railstutorial.org/feedback. It's not as interactive as a forum, but it serves some of the same purposes.


Thanks for the updated edition! As about comments, I personally think the DjangoBook website has gotten it right somewhat - it has a comment facility wherever one would want to http://www.djangobook.com/en/2.0/chapter01/


Thanks for the answer. I get the risk of a forum beeing a time sink and the problem with charching for it. maybe you could sell it as some kind of bundle, so ony people who bought the pdf or the screencast have excess to it etc. This would encourage people to buy the book/screencasts and you would earn some extra money that could justify spending some time in the forum.

Another way might be to state very explicit that it is a forum for reader to help each other and that no one should expect you to answer (actually not sure if that would work).

The comments in the Django book also look nice.




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