Rails Guides and More

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Rails Guides

Once you're familiar with the basics of Rails, you don't need to go through entire Rails books to learn more. Instead, you can learn about specific topics that you're interested in or as they come up when developing. The most important resource are the official Rails Guides, which are up-to-date detailed guides to each part of Rails.

You should already be familiar with some of the material covered in the basic guides, and can read them for more details about a topic:

Active Record
Learn more about the data side of Rails:

Controller View and Routing
Learn more about the rest of Rails:

Important Topics to Learn
Here are some important guides on topics that you may not know well:

Advanced Guides
Later you can go through the more advanced guides:

  • Action Mailer Basics - Send email in Rails. (Note: You'll want to use an email service, such as Mandrill, to send the actual emails.)
  • The Asset Pipeline - The Asset Pipeline compresses your CSS and JavaScript files for production use. Usually it works on its own, but eventually you may run into "precompile issues" and will need to learn more about it.
  • Debugging Rails Applications - Learn about the many way to debug issues in Rails.

You can also find out more about new features in Rails by reading the release notes to recent versions:

Other Tutorials

RailsCasts used to be the most popular tutorial series, but it's no longer updated. There are many other Rails screencasts on specific Rails topics, but they don't generally provide accompanying text, which makes it harder to reference.

The Odin Project is worth looking at. They provide an overview of the different Rails topics and link to the Rails Guides for more info.

When you have a specific question about Rails, you can often just Google it or look at the official docs, as discussed on the next page.

Additional Topics

These are some specific topics you may want to learn after going through this course:


Tests are used to make sure your app works correctly. They're particularly important when you start developing large apps with other people. We provided pre-written tests for the tutorial, but when you'll need to write your own tests for your own app.

RSpec is a popular Rails testing framework for Rails, but I think it's syntax is a little confusing. The default testing framework in Rails is MiniTest, which uses more standard test syntax. You can learn more about testing with in the Rails Guide, and the books on the previous page also cover it.


This course showed you how to drop in a Paypal button into your site with the product name and price, but it didn't integrate transactions into your app. Integrating payments used to be a pain but nowadays there are many services that make it easy for the developer. I recommend Braintree for a couple of reasons:

  • Free - Braintree is free for the first $50,000 in transactions.
  • Paypal Integration - Some people don't like giving out their credit cards. Braintree is owned by Paypal and makes accepting Paypal extremely easy.
  • Easy to integrate and advanced capabilities.


JavaScript is the only language that runs in the browser, so you need to learn it to do anything on the user's side. There are a few topics you should learn:

  • The JavaScript language itself - If you did the Blockly tutorial, you can actually convert your blocks to Javascript. Either way, once you know programming, you can pick up basic JavaScript syntax quickly. See Learn JavaScript or JavaScript by Example for a quick overview of the language.
  • The browser and jQuery - JavaScript is used to do things in the browser, but its syntax can be messy. The jQuery library makes it easier to manipulate elements in the browser page (the DOM), handle events, and more. There are many jQuery tutorials online, here's an interactive one you can go through.
  • JavaScript, Ajax, and Rails - Ajax is when Javascript communicates with a server without reloading the web page, and it's essential for all interactive web apps. To use Ajax in Rails, see the Working with JavaScript Guide.
  • JavaScript front-end frameworks - There are many JavaScript frameworks that help you create and organize interactive applications, but you don't need to learn them early on. Later, you can look at frameworks that fit well with Rails, such as Facebook's React framework.


Initially you can use Rail's Active Record to handle all your database queries. Later, you'll want to learn SQL to perform more advanced or optimized queries. See SQLCourse.com for a quick tutorial on basic SQL, or watch Khan Academy's tutorial for a slower-paced course.

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