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Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Ruby for Rails Ruby Techniques For Rails Developers Book

Manning has published their latest Ruby On Rails book:
Ruby for Rails
Ruby techniques for Rails developers by David A. Black

Ruby for Rails helps Rails developers achieve Ruby mastery. Each chapter deepens your Ruby knowledge and shows you how it connects to Rails. You’ll gain confidence working with objects and classes and learn how to leverage Ruby’s elegant, expressive syntax for Rails application power. And you'll become a better Rails developer through a deep understanding of the design of Rails itself and how to take advantage of it.

Newcomers to Ruby will find a Rails-oriented Ruby introduction that’s easy to read and that includes dynamic programming techniques, an exploration of Ruby objects, classes, and data structures, and many neat examples of Ruby and Rails code in action.

Table Of Contents:

Part 1 The Ruby/Rails landscape 1

1 How Ruby works 3

The mechanics of writing a Ruby program 4

Getting the preliminaries in place 5, A Ruby literacy bootstrap guide 5, A brief introduction to method calls and Ruby objects, Writing and saving a sample program 8, Feeding the program to Ruby 9, Keyboard and file input 11, One program, multiple files 14

Techniques of interpreter invocation 15

Command-line switches 16, A closer look at interactive Ruby interpretation with irb 20

Ruby extensions and programming libraries 21

Using standard extensions and libraries 21, Using C extensions 22, Writing extensions and libraries 23

Anatomy of the Ruby programming environment 24

The layout of the Ruby source code 24, Navigating the Ruby installation 25, Important standard Ruby tools and applications 27

Summary 31

2 How Rails works 33

Inside the Rails framework 34

A framework user’s–eye view of application development 35, Introducing the MVC framework concept 36, Meet MVC in the (virtual) flesh 37

Analyzing Rails’ implementation of MVC 38

A Rails application walk-through 41

Introducing R4RMusic, the music-store application 42, Modeling the first iteration of the music-store domain 43, Identifying and programming the actions 50, Designing the views 53, Connecting to the application 58

Tracing the lifecycle of a Rails run 59

Stage 1: server to dispatcher 61, Stage 2: dispatcher, to controller 62, Stage 3: performance of a controller action 62, Stage 4: the fulfillment of the view 65

Summary 65

3 Ruby-informed Rails development 67

A first crack at knowing what your code does 69

Seeing Rails as a domain-specific language 70, Writing program code with a configuration flavor 73, YAML and configuration that’s actually programming 75

Starting to use Ruby to do more in your code 77

Adding functionality to a controller 79, Deploying the Rails helper files 80, Adding functionality to models 82

Accomplishing application-related skills and tasks 85

Converting legacy data to ActiveRecord 85, The irb-based Rails application console 89

Summary 90

Part 2 Ruby building blocks 93

4 Objects and variables 95

From “things” to objects 96

Introducing object-oriented programming 97, I, object! 98, Modeling objects more closely: the behavior of a ticket 103

The innate behaviors of an object 108

Identifying objects uniquely with the object_id method 109, Querying an object’s abilities with the respond_to? method 110, Sending messages to objects with the send method 111

Required, optional, and default-valued arguments 112

Required and optional arguments 112, Default values for arguments 113, Order of arguments 114

Local variables and variable assignment 115

Variable assignment in depth 117, Local variables and the things that look like them 119

Summary 120

5 Organizing objects with classes 121

Classes and instances 122

A first class 123, Instance variables and object state 126

Setter methods 130

The equal sign (=) in method names 131, ActiveRecord properties and other =-method applications 133

Attributes and the attr_* method family 136

Automating the creation of attribute handlers 137, Two (getter/setter) for one 138, Summary of attr_* methods 139

Class methods and the Class class 140

Classes are objects too! 140, When, and why, to write a class method 141, Class methods vs. instance methods, clarified 143, The Class class and 144

Constants up close 145

Basic usage of constants 145, Reassigning vs. modifying constants 146

Inheritance 148

Inheritance and Rails engineering 149, Nature vs. nurture in Ruby objects 151

Summary 153

6 Modules and program organization 154

Basics of module creation and use 155

A module encapsulating “stack-like-ness” 157, Mixing a module into a class 158, Leveraging the module further 160

Modules, classes, and method lookup 163

Illustrating the basics of method lookup 163, Defining the same method more than once 166, Going up the method search path with super 168

Class/module design and naming 170

Mix-ins and/or inheritance 171, Modular organization in Rails source and boilerplate code 173

Summary 176

7 The default object (self) and scope 177

Understanding self, the current/default object 179

Who gets to be self, and where 179, Self as default receiver of messages 184, Instance variables and self 186

Determining scope 188

Global scope and global variables 188, Local scope 191, Scope and resolution of constants 194

Deploying method access rules 197

Private methods 197, Private methods as ActionController access protection 199, Protected methods 201

Writing and using top-level methods 203

Defining a top-level method 203, Predefined (built-in) top-level methods 204

Summary 205

8 Control flow techniques 206

Conditional code execution 207

The if keyword and friends 208, Conditional modifiers 211, Case statements 211

Repeating actions with loops 215

Unconditional looping with the loop method 215, Conditional looping with the while and until keywords 216, Looping based on a list of values 218

Code blocks, iterators, and the yield keyword 219

The basics of yielding to a block 219, Performing multiple iterations 222, Using different code blocks 223, More about for 223

Error handling and exceptions 225

Raising and rescuing exceptions 225, Raising exceptions explicitly 227, Creating your own exception classes 228

Summary 230

Part 3 Built-in classes and modules 231

9 Built-in essentials 233

Ruby’s literal constructors 234

Recurrent syntactic sugar 236

Special treatment of += 237

Methods that change their receivers (or don’t) 238

Receiver-changing basics 239, bang (!) methods 240, Specialized and extended receiver-changing in ActiveRecord objects 241

Built-in and custom to_* (conversion) methods 242

Writing your own to_* methods 243

Iterators reiterated 244

Boolean states, Boolean objects, and nil 245

True and false as states 246, true and false as objects 248, The special object nil 249

Comparing two objects 251

Equality tests 251, Comparisons and the Comparable module 252

Listing an object’s methods 253

Generating filtered and selective method lists 254

Summary 255

10 Scalar objects 257

Working with strings 258

String basics 258, String operations 260, Comparing strings 265

Symbols and their uses 267

Key differences between symbols and strings 267, Rails-style method arguments, revisited 268

Numerical objects 270

Numerical classes 270, Performing arithmetic operations 271

Times and dates 272

Summary 275

11 Collections, containers, and enumerability 277

Arrays and hashes compared 278

Using arrays 279

Creating a new array 279, Inserting, retrieving, and removing array elements 280, Combining arrays with other arrays 283, Array transformations 285, Array iteration, filtering, and querying 286, Ruby lessons from ActiveRecord collections 289

Hashes 292

Creating a new hash 293, Inserting, retrieving, and removing hash pairs 294, Combining hashes with other hashes 296, Hash transformations 297, Hash iteration, filtering, and querying 298, Hashes in Ruby and Rails method calls 301

Collections central: the Enumerable module 303

Gaining enumerability through each 304, Strings as Enumerables 306

Sorting collections 307

Sorting and the Comparable module 309, Defining sort order in a block 310

Summary 311

12 Regular expressionsand regexp-basedstring operations 312

What are regular expressions? 313

A word to the regex-wise 314, A further word to everyone 314

Writing regular expressions 314

The regular expression literal constructor 315, Building a pattern 316

More on matching and MatchData 319

Capturing submatches with parentheses 319, Match success and failure 321

Further regular expression techniques 323

Quantifiers and greediness 323, Anchors and lookahead assertions 326, Modifiers 328, Converting strings and regular expressions to each other 329

Common methods that use regular expressions 331

String#scan 332, String#split 332, sub/sub! and gsub/gsub! 333, grep 334

Summary 335

13 Ruby dynamics 337

The position and role of singleton classes 338

Where the singleton methods live 339, Examining and modifying a singleton class directly 340, Singleton classes on the method lookup path 342, Class methods in (even more) depth 345

The eval family of methods 347

eval 347, instance_eval 349, The most useful eval: class_eval (a.k.a. module_eval) 349

Callable objects 351

Proc objects 351, Creating anonymous functions with the lambda keyword 355, Code blocks, revisited 356, Methods as objects 357

Callbacks and hooks 359

Intercepting unrecognized messages with method_missing 360, Trapping include operations with Module#included 361, Intercepting inheritance with Class#inherited 363, Module#const_missing 365

Overriding and adding to core functionality 365

A cautionary tale 366

Summary 367

Part 4 Rails through Ruby, Ruby throug Rails 369

14 (Re)modeling the R4RMusic application universe 371

Tracking the capabilities of an ActiveRecord model instance 372

An overview of model instance capabilities 373, Inherited and automatic ActiveRecord model behaviors 374, Semi-automatic behaviors via associations 378

Advancing the domain model 380

Abstracting and adding models (publisher and edition) 380, The instruments model and many-to-many relations 382, Modeling for use: customer and order 386

Summary 390

15 Programmatically enhancing ActiveRecord models 392

Soft vs. hard model enhancement 393

An example of model-enhancement contrast 394

Soft programmatic extension of models 396

Honing the Work model through soft enhancements 398, Modeling the customer’s business 399, Fleshing out the Composer 401, Ruby vs. SQL in the development of soft enhancements 401

Hard programmatic enhancement of model functionality 404

Prettification of string properties 404, Calculating a work’s period 409, The remaining business of the Customer 414

Extending model functionality with class methods 419

Soft and hard class methods 419

Summary 421

16 Enhancing the controllers and views 422

Defining helper methods for view templates 424

Organizing and accessing custom helper methods 425, The custom helper methods for R4RMusic 427

Coding and deploying partial view templates 429

Anatomy of a master template 429, Using partials in the welcome view template 430

Updating the main controller 436

The new face of the welcome action 436

Incorporating customer signup and login 438

The login and signup partial templates 438, Logging in and saving the session state 439, Gate-keeping the actions with before_filter 441, Implementing a signing-up facility 444, Scripting customer logout 445

Processing customer orders 446

The view_cart action and template 446, Viewing and buying an edition 448, Defining the add_to_cart action 449, Completing the order(s) 449

Personalizing the page via dynamic code 450

From rankings to favorites 450, The favorites feature in action 452

Summary 454

17 Techniques for exploring the Rails source code 455

Exploratory technique 1: panning for info 456

Sample info panning: belongs_to 457

Exploratory technique 2: shadowing Ruby 458

Choosing a starting point 458, Choose among forks in the road intelligently 459, On the trail of belongs_to 460, A transliteration of belongs_to 463

Exploratory technique 3: consulting the documentation 464

A roadmap of the online Rails API documentation 466

Summary 469

Appendix: Ruby and Rails installation and resources 471

index 477

Sample Chapters
Sample Chapter 5
Sample Chapter 10

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