How to Run a Rebuilding Rails Book Club

Rebuilding Rails has been used for several book clubs and similar "let's get together and work through it" series. I have some recommendations if you're doing to do the same thing.

First, decide if you're going to work through the ebook or the videos. The videos are a quick, straightforward "golden path" through the material. You'll get a usable framework in as quick and simple a way as possible. You'll also need to buy the full (more expensive) package if you want all nine chapters.

The ebook is, by design, *not* the simplest way to get a full framework. It wanders a bit. It makes you think. It provides bonus exercises to let you choose how much or how little to do. The code is slightly more complex, and more similar to Rails. There are a lot of smaller bits of advice and trivia that the videos don't have time for. It will take more of your time and make you better. It's also significantly cheaper to buy. The basic package with no extra videos gets you the full ebook.

You should *not* have some people work through the ebook and some through the videos. The chapters are very slightly different and the code isn't compatible. Pick one or the other, right at the beginning, and have everybody do the same thing.

If you're doing this at a job, mention how to expense RR to the book club folks. Gumroad provides receipts and invoices that are usually just fine for expense reports. You're improving at software development. That's the kind of thing a company is usually happy to pay for. Let them.

If you're doing this outside a job setting, contact me for a group discount. If you're all working through the book together, you'll all learn more. I want people learning this, and I'm happy to give you a discount to make that happen. Let me.

For book clubs, video clubs, etc, there's a fantastic presentation by Katherine Wu from RubyConf 2016 on how to run them, especially at work. She condenses years of mistakes into a nice short watchable talk. Highly recommended before you start organising. Short version: it's really hard to get busy people to reliably show up to a book club. She tells you how to encourage them to, how to make it easy for them, and so on.

It's tempting to do multiple chapters per week of Rebuilding Rails. That can be fine, especially for early chapters, up to around chapter 4. But keep in mind that the later chapters are a lot of work. Doing two at once can be challenging, especially for the ebook version.

Nothing is perfect, and things change over time. Rebuilding Rails may well have mistakes, or parts that are out of date. Feel free to contact me, always, with questions, comments and so on. I'm helping run an RR book club at my job as I write this, and I promise, I'm finding little things I want to fix every session. Feel free to contact me about anything. I'm thrilled when RR helps people, and I'd love to improve the experience for you if I can.