Sunday, September 23, 2007

Rails for Java Developers


I've picked up and put down quote a few Ruby and Rails books, but haven't found anything that really captured me. That is, until Rails for Java Developers. The discussion is intelligent, and the comparisons between Java and Rails approaches is a great learning process. Thankfully, it doesn't get into slamming one or the other but just focuses on the how. I've worked through some parts of the book so far (my Rails learning is not exactly on the fast track yet!), but I can definitely recommended it if you have the Java background.

Ruby on Rails for Dummies, on the other hand, simply reinforces my dislike of the whole Dummies idea. I'm not against straight-to-the-point beginner texts (on the contrary, that's what I was looking for!) but this books suffers the worst of two blights:
  • It doesn't get straight to the point. Only so many cutesy, hip analogies and stories I can deal with.

  • It lays a limited and 'closed' foundation of knowledge. For example, it takes you through project configuration with an IDE but never hints there is another way. Fine if you never want to go beyond the basics that you get spoon fed here, but if you have higher ambitions at some point you'll have to unlearn/relearn all of the fundamentals you learn here. I hate that. By all means teach me grade 1, but help me build a mental model that can accommodate grade 2,3 and beyond at the same time.
Give this a wide berth.



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