What started as a quick update to Rails, Angular, Postgres, and Bootstrap to add support for Angular 2 ended up being a pretty big rewrite on account of Rails 5.1 and Webpacker. And the book is better for it! I can’t overstate how well Webpacker works at allowing a Rails application to have a modern front-end.
In my imagined Rails 6 keynote, in “Front-End 2.0”, I imagined a lot of changes around the front-end, and while the exact features I listed didn’t come to pass, the underlying problems they solve are addressed by Webpack and Webpacker.
Webpacker basically creates a canonical, simple configuration for Webpack that allows for easy extension. It can totally replace the asset pipeline and allow Rails developers to use all the modern front-end tools in wide use elsewhere in the industry.
Although my book has Angular, Postgres, and Bootstrap in its title, Webpack is the key feature that allows the front-end to work so well. Without doing anything other than running two Rake tasks, you have a fullly-featured asset pipeline that supports ES6, TypeScript, and Post-CSS.
The unit testing was not as easy, but the book also has you set up Karma and that worked great as a test runner. The application you build in the book really feels full-stack and modern.
If you want to know how to create a modern, productive Rails application, buy the book now. It’s complete and in print.