the workshops

Get Excited: Ground Zero

Tuesday, June 6, 2006

What can you do with Rails? Why is it better at it than what we might otherwise use (PHP, etc.)? What would you probably not want to use Rails for? Come to this free session to find out why there's such a buzz about Rails.

RSVP to pat DOT langille AT techtowork DOT com to get location and time.

Get Started: The Hello World Quickstart

Thursday, June 8, 2006

We start with some exposition, then spend the bulk of workshop 1 gaining an understanding of what makes a Rails app tick. We create a new application & dissect its structure to learn how all the parts fit together. Then we get that application to say _Hello World_ to us, in a couple of different ways, as we explore the the V (view) and C (controller) parts of the MVC architecture.

After the break we bring the M (model) piece into the picture, by creating a simple database to tie into our app. With the model in place we then dive into Scaffolds, considered by many to be Rails' most controversial feature. Workshop 1 closes with a brief look at what we'll cover in Workshop 2 and installing a Rails development environment for those with laptops.

complete course outline

Get Stronger: Under the Hood

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

The goal of Workshop 2 is to learn how we can use Rails to create a real world web application. We start this day with a brief look at the Ruby programming language. After some basic Ruby, we jump right back into Rails to begin building a functioning web application. We will explore some of the deeper aspects of Rails, with particular focus on the Model part of its MVC architecture: ActiveRecord.

After the break we begin to put ActiveRecord to work. Next, our models properly defined, we turn to the task of finding and displaying our objects in our Views. As we start to add object editing and creating to our application, we focus a bit on Controllers and Actions, touching on form parameters, session management and a quick look at access controls in Rails. Workshop 2 closes with a discussion on rendering Views, Layouts, what Rails calls Partial Page Templates, and a brief look at what's coming up in Workshop 3.

complete course outline

Get Going! Put Rails to Work

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Workshop 3 focuses ot some of the more advanced features of Rails. We kick things off with a look at how Rails deals with e- mail. Rails doesn't just make sending email easy, you can also receive email directly into your Rails app. We move from e-mail to AJAX. Rails has one of the best AJAX implementations out there and we'll spend a little bit of time getting familiar with this cornerstone of Web 2.0. Next up is URL routing. In most cases the base Rails URL setup is plenty, but there are times when you need to exercise full control over your app's URL space. Routes is how you do that.

After the break we will dive into one of the most important features of the Rails framework, built-in testing support. Rails provides stub scripts that allow for nearly automated testing of all parts of your application. We will look at both Unit and Functional tests (as they exist in Rails), speak a little about Integration testing, spend some time refactoring some of the features of our app from Workshop 2, and explore Test Driven Development. Workshop 3 concludes with the process of moving a Rails app into Production, working with Subversion for source code version control, and how to configure and use the Rails automated deployment system: Capistrano.

complete course outline


who should attend?

Intermediate to advanced web developers (perl, PHP, Java, Python, ... ) who haven't started using Rails extensively. No previous exposure to Rails is assumed. You will load Rails onto your laptop, if you bring one, during the first class.

While there are no prerequisites for the first workshop, the second and third workshops require you to have attended the previous session(s).

daily schedule

Each workshop (except the free introductory session) starts at 9am and runs until 1pm, with a mid-morning break. The optional hands-on sessions will resume at 1:30. Brian will be available until 6. The room will be open until 10pm.


Handouts will consist of the instructor's course outline, with plenty of white space for note-taking.


The Starr Instructional Center has workstations with Macs loaded with OS X. Rails will be installed on the machines, and we recommend that you do the course exercises using the center's Macs. At the end of the first workshop, we will allow time and provide assistance to install Rails onto your laptop if it runs OS X 10.3 or later, Win 2K, XP, or Linux.


A mid-morning snack and coffee is included. For those staying on for the hands-on sessions, a box lunch will be provided. (Registering at least a week in advance earns you some choices re: the lunchbox contents!)


To learn how to create a real-world Rails application, take all three workshops for $950. If you just want to learn what Rails about and get a look "under the hood," feel free to join us for the first class only for $350.

Each session will be followed by a hands-on working session where you can hammer away at your application with Brian there as a resource. These sessions are a great way to test yourself on what you've learned during the day, and/or start to create an application of your own. The sessions are priced at $100 for one, or $200 for all three.