About a year ago, PragProg approached me to see if I was working on anything book-worthy. I'd just created https://angular-rails.com to document
the pain of configuring Rails to do something it clearly didn't want to do—let you write an application with lots of front-end. Meanwhile, I'd been
learning more and more how great Postgres is.
The result is my new book “Rails, Angular, Postgres, and Bootstrap: Powerful, Effective, and Efficient Full-Stack Web Development”. It's been in beta for
a while, but official print verison is now for sale.
You can buy it now and start embracing the full stack of web development using
some awesome tools that will serve you well for years to come!
But why are these experiences unpleasant? I would argue simply that they don't fully meet our needs as programmers. And we can think about those needs as
a hierarchy, each need building on the need below it.
My talk from Full Stack Toronto, called “Rails, Postgres, Angular, and Bootstrap - The Power Stack” is up, where I make the case for using not just using a CSS framework, an MVC framework, a
middleware framework, and an amazing database, but for using Bootstrap, Angular, Rails, and Postgres and using them together.
Before using Postgres, I would have to rely heavily on Rails validations to ensure data integrity—MySQL simply doesn't provide the tools
to do this. This always felt wrong. Outside of rogue processes connecting to the database, there's also application bugs
and, well, the ActiveRecord API itself: update_attribute skips validation! That means it's hard to rely on Rails validations for data
integrity, but there isn't a great alternative for creating a great user experience.
Postgres has the answer: check constraints. As we'll see, check constraints are tool for data integrity and work much better than
Rails validations. But Rails validations are still a great tool for user experience.
The latest edition of PragPub is out, featuring an article I wrote on embracing the full stack. This is more of a motivator for why
you should be more well-rounded as a developer (which then should motivate you to buy my new book :). I cover things from grid-based design to database indexes.
This may seem like an immense amount of learning and work, but it hopefully feels more achievable now. You could get a cursory understanding of these topics in a week. What happens when you do is that you start to take a more holistic view of your application and of how to build features.
With this set of conventions, it was important that developers not feel these were optional features they could leave out to cut corners, so it seemed logical to make it as painless as possible to follow them. The result is stitches, which works as a generator and backing library. It's not an engine or a DSL or anything complex. It's just a bit of Rails configuration, designed to be explicit and obvious.
As a Rails developer, you care about user experience and performance, but you also want simple and maintainable code. Achieve all that by embracing the full stack of web development, from styling with Twitter Bootstrap, building an interactive user interface with AngularJS, to storing data quickly and reliably in PostgreSQL. Take a holistic view of full-stack development to create usable, high-performing applications, and learn to use these technologies effectively in a Ruby on Rails environment.
I've been working on this for quite a while, and pretty excited about it. If you want to really level
up your abilities as a Rails developer, this is the book for you.
In September 2011, I interviewed at Instagram.
While I didn't ultimately get/take the job1, the experience had a pretty profound effect on me as a developer.
What I learned during the interview process (which was really enjoyable, and became the basis for my ideal technical interview process) was just how much two engineers with relatively little experience could accomplish.