The Bottom Line
- Many useful techniques are covered.
- Each chapter gives some ideas about how else the application can be improved.
- Plentiful links and examples of how to use existing plugins from the Rails community.
- Not all of the covered techniques are useful.
- There's a lack of discussion as to how these techniques work.
- Covers practical skills Rails developers should know.
- Uses plugins and other existing code to get your application up and running in the least amount of time.
- Each chapter gives a list of further topics to investigate on your own.
Guide Review - Practical Rails Projects
Practical Rails Projects is an ideal "second book" for any Rails programmer. Though Practical Rails Projects illustrates a number of key techniques that should be a part of any Rails programmer's toolkit, it doesn't teach about Rails itself. Beyond the first chapter on setting up a Rails development environment, that's the only chapter that assumes no previous knowledge of Rails. And though it would be possible to follow along with the projects without any previous Rails experience, it would be best to start at the beginning with a book such as Agile Web Development With Rails before moving on to Practical Rails Projects.
The techniques taught throughout the book range from useful (which you may use in every Rails project) to "neat, but I'm not sure I'd ever use it." Below is a list of projects built throughout the book and the techniques they teach.
MonkeyTasks - User authentication and registration, basic Rails skills such as creating models and scaffolding, AJAX/RJS.
Exercisr - RESTful resources, YUI stylesheets, model associations, nested RESTful resources, graphs and other dynamically generated graphics.
Blogs - Installing and using Typo, web services, RSS feeds.
Web Comic - Attachments, page caching, fragment caching.
Chuch Community Site - User registration and authentication with profiles, avatars, blogs, photo galleries and comments.