Ruby on Rails: Up and Running
Description:This compact guide from O'Reilly teaches you the basics of Ruby on Rails, the super-productive new way to develop full-featured web applications. Discover how to install and use both the Ruby scripting language and the Rails framework. More advanced material shows you just how fast Ruby on Rails can go.
The Power of Ruby on Rails, but not the education
Honestly, it was a good book if you just wanted to see how quick and powerful Ruby on Rails is. If you want to learn how to create a web application that goes beyond the Photo Sharing application that they present in this book, you'll need more. I learned a couple of new things, but nothing that I can really point out the value of.
Enjoyed the speed, depth and brevity
Positives are speed, depth and brevity. Fully enjoyed the speed with which the book covers the essentials. I did not have difficulty understanding this book maybe because I had read the Rails in Four days tutorial before reading this book. Eventhough it is a very short book, the price is reasonable given the pure muscle of the book. What is $30 if you can pick up this technology in 3 days? Negatives are - you need to read with concentration, does not have much code to cut and paste, does not discuss authentication. Overall excellent value for money if you are pressed for time.
Poor Quality, Low Quantity, High Price
For a newbie following the examples closely is generally a must; however, there are some `trivial` steps left out of the book ,,. that turn out to be necessary to get the sample projects moving. Given the brevity of the content, the inaccuracies of the samples, and the high price ,,. my suggestion is to look elsewhere.
A bit dated but gets right to the point with a useful example.
This book made use of an earlier version of Rails, but if you aren't totally clueless and have the wisdom to read warnings from IDEs, generation scripts and the server, you can actually get the code running.
BTW, 99% of the code works without warnings/errors at all. FWIW, I switched to Mac OS X to do this (from Dell using XP), so I was fighting a lot of other differences besides having a more modern Rails, and I actually got through it all. Also, I am an old Java/C++ programmer,,. so if somebody younger than me cannot get this stuff, maybe they should think carefully about whether programming is for them (Rails development is still programming).
This is a hands-on, bottom up book. I did wrestle a bit with reading the chat about the code *then* coding or coding the code and *then* reading the explanations. It was *fun* to use this book and I really enjoyed using this book for getting a visual, and (for me) potentially useful application running.
Best of all, IMO,,. the core material is under 150 pages! Hard to find such terse and useful books these days. If anyone remembers the power and elegance of K&R's C book, you'll appreciate this fact.
Here are some things to keep in mind:
 Uses Rake for migrations and yes on a modern Rails (pre 2.0) you will see deprecation notices that tell you what you need to do,,. either way it works.
 Uses some deprecated start_forms_tag but guess what, if you have the internet you google around and you figure it out. And you know what then? You own what you learn and are not just spoon fed the code.
 Does not go deep into theory.
 You best try your hand at Ruby first just so you can read Rails code,,. ummmm it uses Ruby ya know.
 Is not TDD or BDD,,. so you are coding the evil, old fashioned way. Unless you are Donald Knuth (who claims to have no need for unit testing).
 Be careful during the DB migrations section, I screwed up the order of some things, I don't think the book misled me. I also figured my way out of it while also learning how to get around SQLite3's command shell. No whining from those spoiled by pushbutton IDEs please.
 This book will not make you a Rails guru, it opens the door and gives you working code base to head down that road. You'll still have other books, blogs, and Wikis ahead of you.
Buy it for pre Rails 2, I assume it is still largely applicable to Rails 2, which came out last year (end of).
While this book does not require it, I found using NetBeans IDE with Ruby/Rails support helped me get the coding done much faster than using VIM or TextEdit. I did not use it to generate the application and the components. For that I used the Rails command line scripts per the book.
Too Pricey For Too Many Errors
I definitely will avoid both authors in the future.
I can't fathom how O'reilly `approved` these authors to write such book with so many ridiculous errors from typos to just blatant errors.
1) Too many errors
2) Outdated (Rails is 2.0, the book, rushed, is using 1.1)
3) Too pricey
4) Bruce A. Tate always jumped shipped form one language to another with no deep interest/experience in each of the `new languages`
5) You're building the examples based on `scaffolding` auto-generation
1) That I told you not to buy this book.
2) That Bruce is no longer writing more books (yet)
3) That others also echoed the same complains