You've Been Searching the API Docs Online for Hours. That Exception Still Makes No Sense. An Expert Would Know What To Do, But You're Still Sitting There...I Want to Be a Rails Expert
‘The magic thing about Rails is when I looked at it the first time, I knew how it worked because I already knew Ruby really well.
I saw all the metaprogramming tricks; they were almost transparent, looking at it. But I didn't know you could put it together that way and create something so expressive and succinct.’— Chad Fowler, episode 1 of The Ruby Hangout (0:41:48)
An expert doesn't cut corners. They learn the fundamentals. They learn deeply.
A lot of what separates 'just a developer' from 'senior developer' is independence — the ability to dive deeply into a technical problem and, with exploration, get to the right answer.
A lot of technical problems in the Ruby and Rails world require going into, or through, framework code. Whether that framework is Ruby on Rails, Hanami, Sinatra or something else, it's important to be able to understand how frameworks and applications operate.
Nothing teaches you about frameworks like writing a framework. It's not any more magic than any other coding. It's experience and work. Specifically, it's experience and work in writing and debugging a framework.
Unfortunately, that experience can be difficult to get at work unless you've done it before. It's another "you can't do the work until you have the experience" catch-22's that you've seen before.
Here's one way to break that deadlock: don't wait for work to tell you to build a framework. Just go build one. Rebuilding Rails can help.
With Rebuilding Rails you'll build a complete Ruby MVC framework from an empty directory. Your framework will be structured like Rails, using the same architecture and the same metaprogramming tricks. You'll learn the magic behind Rails. You'll finish each system and solidify your knowledge with structured exercises. And you'll get the gut-level understanding that only a framework builder has.
To be an expert, learn the fundamentals. Then you can pick up not just Rails, but any framework you want. Rebuilding Rails will show you the tricks and where to start reading the source code.
When you've built these systems, you get a sort of X-ray vision into the framework. You've had that before with code that you built for yourself. Wouldn't you like the same thing for Rails, Sinatra or your framework of choice?
At some point you understand basic coding, and it's time to take on more responsibility. At some point, you need to be ready to take responsibility for larger, uglier bugs and features. And so at some point, you need to master dealing with framework code.
To master Rails, but also Rack and other Ruby frameworks, you need to work with the underlying concepts. That means knowing how an MVC framework is structured. It also means metaprogramming. And you should know a few different approaches for how to build different components of that framework.
No book can fully prepare you. That takes practice. But Rebuilding Rails can start you on that practice and show you how to practice. Nobody understands frameworks like an engineer who has built a framework. That, dear reader, could be you.
Every chapter of Rebuilding Rails shows you how to build one system of a Rails-like MVC framework. What are those systems?
Every chapter teaches you more Ruby magic, which makes Rails more transparent. At 178 pages, the book will keep you busy for awhile. Each chapter convers the basic material and several exercises as well as pointers into the Ruby on Rails source code.
Here is the full table of contents.
You'll also get access to the Software Technique Slack community. It's a great place to ask questions of the author and of other rebuilders.
Want to use Rebuilding Rails for a book club? It works great for that. I've done it several times, myself. Here are some recommendations for how to do that.
You should rebuild if:
Do NOT buy if:
Worried that you need more Ruby or Rails practice first? Michael Hartl's well-known Rails Tutorial is excellent — far more than you actually need to understand Rebuilding Rails. There's also a free older version online. Or you can work through the sample chapters of Rebuilding Rails and see how much you learn from them.
I've written a lot of great information for you and tested it with my beta audience of hundreds of dedicated readers and programmers. You'll also get my personal email address. I read every message you send. Email me before your purchase and after it. I love hearing from readers.
I want more people to understand Ruby and Rails. I'll help you.
Still, I know many people don't want to interrupt me at my personal email address. And some day, I may not have enough time to talk to everybody. And so there is now a Slack workspace for buyers of Rebuilding Rails and Mastering Software Technique. Your purchase of Rebuilding Rails entitles you to lifetime membership in that community (assuming you uphold reasonable standards of behaviour.)
Noah Gibbs (that's me) is a well-known international conference speaker who has spoken at RubyConf, RailsConf, RubyKaigi and many more. Noah spent years as a principal engineer, tech lead, architect, Ruby Fellow and more. His work on Ruby performance appeared regularly for years in Ruby Weekly. He has extensive teaching and mentoring experience in Ruby and outside it.
I'd love to sign you up for the first few chapters of Rebuilding Rails and an email class about Ruby on Rails internals, for free. If you like the sample chapters then please consider buying the full version later on.
Gumroad offers payment via credit cards and PayPal. If you aren't 100% satisfied then get a full refund with no questions asked within 60 days.
Want to get Rebuilding Rails reimbursed by your employer? Great! Gumroad offers invoices.
You can also contact me about site licenses.
You're a software developer. Your time is expensive. If you don't live in the USA, Rebuilding Rails still only costs several hours of your salary — in the United States, the plain ebook may cost around fifteen minutes of what the business actually pays to keep you.
If Rebuilding Rails makes you just two percent better at what you do in Rails and you stay with your current employer for just two more months, then RR has made a tidy profit for your employer. Each post-Rebuilding-Rails year you work there (say 50 weeks of work at 40 hours/week) with a two percent improvement will have saved 40 hours of your debugging time to be used on more interesting work, or made you 40 hours more effective at framework-related features. That's worth far more than the price of the book. By expensing Rebuilding Rails and reading it, you're doing your employer a huge favour.
To do them even more of a favour, you could pick up a site license (multiple book licenses) and share with your coworkers! I also teach workshops, both in person and online.