A free Rails 3.0 tutorial/manual
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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.


This book is copyright © 2011 by Bryan Bibat. I still haven't decided on the appropriate license for this book. In the meantime, I'll just go with the one in Zed Shaw's excellent series Learn Code the Hard Way:

You are free to distribute this book to anyone you want, so long as you do not charge anything for it, and it is not altered. You must give away the book in its entirety, or not at all. This means it's alright for you to teach a class using the book, so long as you aren't charging students for the book and you give them the whole book unmodified.

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 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 the latest version of Rails Installer and my own RailsFTW.

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


  • 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!