A free Rails 3.0 tutorial/manual
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UPDATE (13-Feb-2014)

This book is now available on Leanpub: https://leanpub.com/rails3dot0-astudentmanual

While the book is still free for online viewing, you can also purchase the e-book for a pay-what-you-want fee as a way of showing your support. Proceeds will go towards the updated versions of this manual and the other books I'm planning to write in the future.

Ruby on Rails 3.0

a free student manual


Computer Science teachers have it easy. Every time a new semester rolls in, they can simply reuse the material they've been using for years.

As a teacher of a quickly evolving web framework, I do not have that luxury.

As I write this, less than 24 hours have passed since the Rails Core team released the new version of Ruby on Rails: version 3.1.0. This means that I now have to update my student manual (i.e. this document) for upcoming classes to use this new version. Having done that before when we moved from Rails 2.3. to Rails 3.0, I know how much of this document will be changed: sections will be gutted, swaths of code rewritten, and at least one new chapter would be added.

And, yet again, I will not be paid a single cent for those updates.

So instead of just letting this nearly obsolete document go to waste, I've decided to give it away for free.

Obligatory Self-deprecation

Technically speaking, this document isn't that good, especially in the later chapters.

When I was initially contracted to do this Rails course, I was under the assumption that the guys hiring me would do at least a technical review of the manual. But nooooo, they didn't really care about the quality of the materials: all they really cared about is that they get students and get paid. So you're left with a book written by a guy with no formal training in writing.

Anyway, enough griping. If you spot any typos or other issues, feel free to log it as an issue. I'd love to see "pull requests", though. ;)


The manual was written with Windows and Ubuntu in mind. Thus, the code in the book is compatible with Rails Installer v1.3.0 and below, as well as my own RailsFTW.

Code examples in the book are available at the following locations:


This book is copyright © 2011 by Bryan Bibat.

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ or send a letter to Creative Commons, 444 Castro Street, Suite 900, Mountain View, California, 94041, USA

tl;dr: I'm cool with you modifying this document in order to better suit your needs e.g. turning Aling Nena into Farmer Bob, changing the Chrome/Firefox screenshots to Safari, using Swahili instead of Tagalog in the I18n section, etc. What isn't ok is modifying this work in order to sell it, profiting off it while leaving this poor third-word developer to starve. =(


The document is at src/student_manual.odt. You can use any OpenDocument application (e.g. LibreOffice) to export this to PDF as long as you have the fonts Ubuntu and Inconsolata.


  • Add O$X installation steps - on hold for various reasons. Submissions are welcome, though.
  • Add other deployment options e.g. expand on Unicorn, mention cloud hosting, etc.
  • LaTeX all the things!