Chad Fowler has completed the first draft of the initial 21 chapters for Rails Recipes and is now making the work available as a beta book for purchase. The final book is still a ways off, but this is an awesome opportunity to get at the very timely material right now. You need to strap on your edge shoes and get the latest Rails version off the repository for some of the recipes that rely on 1.1 features, but most of them is just about clever ways to do common things.
The great thing about Chad’s approach to these tutorials is that they are more like case studies than laundry lists of commands to input. Take the recipe to use Active Record with multiple databases. First, it sets up a complete sample mini-application to demonstrate (using best practices like migrations), then walks you through how the quick one-off hack would look like (so you understand the mechanics), then wraps everything up in a sweet External class hierarchy for ease of reuse. And then of course tops up with a recommendation that you shouldn’t really be using multiple databases unless you have no other choice and offers alternatives to avoid it.
This makes Rails Recipes useful for more than just looking up when you encounter a problem it has the solution for. It serves just as well as a teaching tool in the best practices of the framework in general and you’re likely to become a better Rails programmer by reading through all of the recipes one by one. Even if you don’t need to use multiple databases today.
So this is the perfect stepping stone after or as a companion with the Agile Web Development with Rails book. Get the first 21 recipes today and receive updates with additional recipes as they become ready. I’ll be working with Chad myself to ensure that these recipes offer as much of The Rails Way as possible and that it’ll discuss how to use all the goodies from the forthcoming Rails 1.1.
Now what are you waiting for? Go pick it up, yo.