Envy Casts Releases Rails 2.2 Screencast and PDF
Just two months ago, Gregg Pollack and Jason Seifer of the Rails Envy podcast launched Envy Casts, a micro-publisher in the Rails scene. In anticipation of the release of Rails 2.2, they've released both a Ruby on Rails 2.2 Screencast and a Ruby on Rails 2.2 PDF (written by Carlos Brando; translated by Carl Youngblood). They're $9 each, or $16 as a package deal for the two. Reviews follow:
The screencast is a 44 minute audiovisual extravaganza that demonstrates most of the significant new features in Rails 2.2. I discovered a lot of stuff I didn't know about, and while Gregg and Jason were still as entertaining as in their first screencast, they've toned it down a little and focus more on the content this time around.
The diagrams and code examples are great and I found the format to be well suited for learning the material. If you really want it all to sink in, you can watch the screencast at the same time as using their supplied code samples (supplied in a separate file), as otherwise you get blinded by all of the cool new features and then need to rewatch it anyway!
In conclusion, this screencast is an awesome resource for getting up to speed with many of Rails 2.2's improvements (though, significantly, internationalization is barely covered). Unless you're a die-hard follower of the commits on edge Rails, however, you're going to pick up a whole ton of tricks and ideas from this video.
The Ruby on Rails 2.2 PDF is a DRM-free PDF e-book that walks through all of the new Rails 2.2 features, along with a code example or two for each.
Clocking in at 118 pages (landscape), the main bulk of the PDF spans 80 pages of step by step feature summaries of the changes to ActiveRecord, ActiveSupport, ActiveResource, ActionPack, ActionMailer, and Railties. There's also a chapter on the Internationalization (i18n) features and one covering a few new performance features. Added to this are two laundry-list like chapters covering the "Bugs and Fixes" in Rails 2.2 and the obligatory "CHANGELOG."
The main chapters of the book, summarizing the new features along with code examples, are good, and possibly worth the price of entry, although I find the PDF format (for this sort of content) and the landscape orientation cumbersome. I'd prefer a more accessible format. The writing is solid and succinct though, and the code examples are as good as you'd expect.