The Rails View: Create a Beautiful and Maintainable User Experience Paperback – 6 Apr 2012
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""This book represents the wisdom gained from years' worth of building maintainable interfaces by two of the best and brightest minds in our business. I have been writing Ruby code for over a decade and Rails code since its inception, and out of all the Ruby books I've read, I value this one the most.""--Rich Kilmer, Director, RubyCentral""Finally! An authoritative and up-to-date guide to everything view-related in Rails 3. If you're stabbing in the dark when putting together your Rails apps' views, The Rails View provides a big confidence boost and shows how to get things done the right way.""--Peter Cooper, Editor, Ruby Inside and Ruby Weekly""In the past several years, I've been privileged to work with some of the world's leading Rails developers. If asked to name the best view-layer Rails developer I've met, I'd have a hard time picking between two names: Bruce Williams and John Athayde. This book is a rare opportunity to look into the minds of two of the leading experts on an area that receives far too little attention. Read, apply, and reread.""--Chad Fowler, VP Engineering, LivingSocial
About the Author
Bruce Williams is a longtime speaker, trainer, designer, and book contributor in the Ruby and Rails community and has experience in everything from low-level data processing backends to front-end user interaction. He is a Senior Developer in R&D at LivingSocial.
John Athayde is a UI/UX/Design type who comes from an architecture (of the building variety) background. He's been in the Rails community since 2006 and has broad experience in e-commerce and running creative teams. He is currently a Senior UI/UX Designer at LivingSocial.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
1. Although it is indicated that a gemset has been used by the authors, they failed to include the file which specifies the exact gem versions that were used (Gemfile.lock), so had a different version been used and proved to be problematic (devise being one of them), the reader would be none the wiser.
2. For certain files that were modified gradually over the course of the book, the authors included all of the various versions. That is not a bad idea in itself, but it was done by including them as separate files in the same location (file.v1 file.v2 file.v3) without any form of version control. Over time it also becomes clear that errors have slipped in while the code package was updated along with the book, even more so without the assistance of version control. There was a defunct migration file that had to be removed for rake db:migrate to work, some redundant resources/models that were completely unused throughout the book were also not removed.
3. The chapters are related, but the sample code for each tends to be prepared to work in isolation only, and sometimes not at all (due to either omissions of controller code, or simply just mistakes), so at times the reader will have to figure out what is "broken", and fill in the missing pieces just to be able to see a minimally working sample. This is especially so for the css sprites example (which was just outright broken), and to a lesser extent the mobile views (Chapter 7) and the views for vanity a/b testing (Chapter 9). The code will not run by screenshots alone, or a production environment said to be giving so-and-so results, which the reader has no access to anyway. Failure to address the content as a whole is also an omission of practical reality - while it is nice to add mobile views, cucumber tests and custom form builders, it would be pointless if one happens to break the other.
4. About the incomplete examples due to omission of certain building blocks, some view/partial files are included but appear as dangling files that are not used anywhere else in the code, while others lack the supporting controller code or have no links within the website (thus accessible only through direct links, if the reader is even aware of them).
It is inevitable for a book to have errors, but a great number of them (both in print and code, check the errata page on the publisher's site) could have been avoidable if the writers have at least tried to vet their code one last time. Given the broad scope of the book, this is understandably more difficult, and yet even more so important. It is my hope to send a clear message to the publisher that the insufficient proofreading and lack of consideration turned out pretty badly, and should never be repeated again.
- The book seems confused about what it wants to be. In their forums, the authors purport the book to be a "Views Recipes"-style book where you can drop into any chapter and upgrade yourself on different topics. Unfortunately the chapters are written more in a step-by-step style that cloys you into thinking everything is written sequentially. The result is a series of step-by-step chapters that seem almost arranged at random to build up a single application.
- You're on your own for getting everything NOT in the views layer set up so you can actually see your work. There are 0 instructions on setting up models, controllers, or the DB. While they do provide all the source code, you're left in this awkward situation of wanting to follow along with the step-by-step nature, but trying to reverse-engineer Rake tasks and models to understand what files need to already be in place. Oi vey.
- Gem versions are not locked. From the first few pages I already had to check the errata to resolve a versioning issue for Devise gem.
- This is minor, but I also felt there weren't enough visuals to provide feedback (reassurance!) as you build up your app. You'll implement change after change and then find your sidebar is off in space and have to tread back through 10 pages to find out what broke it.
I REALLY wanted to love this book. This could easily become the Rails Views bible if these issues were addressed. Here's to hoping the 2nd edition is one I can recommend.
The start will be a little basic, but quickly layers in more and more advanced topics and you'll be learning new tricks in no time. It is well written, well organized, and I felt comfortable with the information as it is written by two leaders in the Rails community.