• Hello Jekyll

    If you’re reading this, then the migration from WordPress to Jekyll is complete. WordPress is a great blogging platform, but it just doesn’t fit the way I work anymore. I spend my days using git and GitHub and everything I write is plain text in Markdown.

    With Jekyll I can write posts using Markdown in my favorite text editor, Byword on iOS or Atom on everything else, then commit to GitHub to update the blog. Hopefully this will result in more frequent updates, but no promises…

    Where Are The Comments?

    I’m very grateful for all of the awesome comments I’ve received over the years. Unfortunately, comment spam is still a big problem. Even with tools like Akismet to filter comments, some manual labor is still required. Here are the numbers for my blog as of today:

    Wordpress Spam

    That’s right - there are 123 comments on the site and 170,348 were blocked as spam. There are also 94 comments that might be spam. Those need my attention. I exported all of the non-spam comments from the old WordPress blog. Those may come back someday, but probably not. In the mean time, you can find my contact information at the bottom of every page.

  • Unfollowing Users

    A few readers have also asked me to add an Unfollow button for the sample social network in Rails Crash Course. Here’s how I made that happen:

    I created a new branch called unfollow-user and added the Unfollow button.

    Here are the steps I followed:

    1. Update config/routes.rb to include a route for unfollow_user. Since this removes a row from the database, I used the DELETE HTTP verb.

    2. Add an unfollow! method to app/models/user.rb, similar to the follow! method.

    3. Add an unfollow action to app/controllers/users_controller.rb, similar to the follow action.

    4. Add a Unfollow button to the view at app/views/users/show.html.erb. I also added some logic to show the correct button.

    The changes are in this commit: 29fa67a

    Hope this helps!

  • Destroying Comments

    A reader asked if I could add the destroy action to CommentsController for the sample blog in Rails Crash Course. The changes are summarized below.

    I created a new branch called comments-destroy and then added the destroy action.

    Here are the steps I followed:

    1. Update config/routes.rb to include a route for comments destroy

    2. Add a destroy method to app/controllers/comments_controller.rb

    3. Add a Destroy link to the comment partial at app/views/comments/_comment.html.erb

    The changes are in this commit: f410496

    Note this is the same as Exercise 3 at the end of Chapter 5. The answers for all exercises are in the back of the book.

    Hope this helps!

  • No "Getting Started" Tonight

    The Getting Started with Ruby on Rails workshop has been cancelled due to lack of signups. That’s a shame, I was really looking forward to this one. Obviously I didn’t do the best job of getting the word out about this event.

    Let me know if you were also looking forward to it and I’ll see if I can set up another session in the future. Another alternative might be something like a screencast or Google Hangout.

  • Keep Talking

    I’m giving the beginner talk at this month’s Austin on Rails meeting. Come to Capital Factory at 7:00pm on January 27 to learn about Active Record Associations. After my talk, Steve Madere is covering Hobo. Austin on Rails is always a lot of fun. The Rails community in Austin is great, there’s free pizza, and drinks and socialization after the meeting.

    I’m also leading an evening workshop called Getting Started with Ruby on Rails for General Assembly on Monday, February 2 from 7:00pm - 9:00pm. General Assembly is new in Austin, but the company has been around since 2011. Today they teach classes all over the world.

    This workshop covers the tools used by Ruby on Rails programmers, the basics of the Ruby programming language, and the components of Rails and how they work together. If you know the basics of web development, and are curious about building web apps with Rails, come spend the evening with me and see what Rails is all about.

  • Recent Talks

    I spoke at Austin on Rails on October 28. I talked about new features coming up in Rails 4.2. There’s no video of that talk, but the slides are available on Speaker Deck.

    I also gave a live webcast for O’Reilly called Rails 4 Application Security on November 12. The video will be available at the previous link. The slides for this talk are also on Speaker Deck.

  • Rails Crash Course

    After way too many nights and weekends, and way too much iced coffee, it’s finally done…

    Rails Crash Course Cover

    Rails Crash Course is my new book on the Ruby on Rails web framework. This book is based on the curriculum I’ve used in the past to teach Ruby on Rails to both new programmers and experienced web developers.

    The first section teaches the fundamentals of both Ruby and Rails. It covers the model-view-controller pattern used by Ruby on Rails in detail. At the end of the first section you learn how to set up a git repository for your application and deploy it Heroku.

    The second section covers more advanced topics such as authentication, testing, performance optimization, security, and debugging. These concepts are explained as you build a simple social network app. It also covers creating your own Web API. The book concludes with a chapter on setting up your own Amazon EC2 server and deploying your application using Capistrano.

    The book should ship around the middle of October (I already have my copies). You can preorder the book directly from No Starch Press or from Amazon.

  • Lone Star Ruby Conf 2013

    Tickets are now on sale for the Lone Star Ruby Conference 2013 in Austin, TX from July 18-20. The speaker line-up this year looks amazing.

    This will be my third year to attend and my second year to offer training. I am teaching two sessions on July 18.

    My morning session is called From X to Ruby. It is designed for developers with experience in other languages who are looking to move to Ruby. I will cover the basics of Ruby syntax and idioms with an emphasis on things that are different from other languages.

    My afternoon session is simply called Advanced Ruby. It is the perfect next step for people in my morning session, or anyone else who has some experience with Ruby, wanting to “level up” their skills. I will discuss Ruby’s object model, modules / mixins, and metaprogramming.

    I’m looking forward to reconnecting with the community, both local and from around the world. If you’re at all interested in Ruby, I highly recommend this conference and I hope to see you there.

  • Active Record Demystified

    I spoke at Austin on Rails back in February. I gave the “beginner” talk and attempted to explain some of the magic behind Active Record.

    It’s about 27 minutes including a short Q&A. If you’re new to Rails, or just curious, check out the video below and let me know what you think.

    Many thanks to AustinTechVideos for recording my talk and making it available.

  • Upcoming Events

    It’s a great time to be a Rubyist in Austin. There are several upcoming events that I’m looking forward to attending.

    First, I’m giving a talk on Rails Application Security at the Austin on Rails meeting tomorrow evening. The meeting will also feature lightning talks covering a variety of beginner topics. Be sure to get there early.

    Next, the second session of my GeekAustin Beginning Rails class starts August 4. The last class went really well and I’m looking forward to teaching it again. There are still seats available. For full details and to sign up, see the EventBright page at http://geekaustinrailsclass.eventbrite.com/.

    Then, the Lone Star Ruby Conf starts on August 11 with a day of training. Followed by the conference proper on August 12 and 13. The keynote speakers and session topics are all outstanding this year. I am not speaking (this year), but I plan to be an active participant. Hopefully I’ll see you around town.

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