Monday, November 12, 2007

Book Review: Pro Active Record

Title: Pro Active Record: Databases with Ruby and Rails.
Authors: Kevin Marshall, Chad Pytel, and Jon Yurek

Visuals:
Font size and layout are good. Easy on the eyes. Large and frequent sub-headings make it easier to locate information.

Audience:
The book lists it's intended "User level" at "Intermediate-Advanced".

Practicality:
It really depends on what you are expecting. I've been using Rails and ActiveRecord for about 2 years, so I should fit into the target audience. After reading the book I think it will be a great reference book to have within arm's reach while working with ActiveRecord. To me it will serve as an API to AR. So it will be practical in that sense.

On the other hand, while reading it I never experienced any "aha!" moments where I felt like I learned something new or exciting, which I had hoped for.

If you are a beginner (never having used AR) it will definitely save you time (and eye strain) hunting down tutorials on blogs.

Overall:
It's a good Active Record reference & usage tutorial(s). I would have appreciated this book even more when I was first starting to use the Ruby on Rails framework. So if you are a beginner, don't let the "Intermediate - Advanced" user level scare you off. Active Record is not a terribly complicated subject, and if you are using Rails (as a beginner or not) you will probably be using Active Record too.

I was kind of surprised when I read the Introduction to the book that it starts off with:

"Is there really enough to talk about in Active Record to fill a whole book?"

"Our answer, then and now, is, "Yes and no""

As an "Intermediate - Advanced" user, that's kind of how I felt at the end of this "Pro" book.

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