Rails 3 is a major upgrade; using it almost feels like working with an entirely new framework. Porting existing applications and acquiring the skills required to build new ones entails a significant amount of effort. You could scout the net for bits and pieces of information, but that would be time consuming and possibly frustrating. Thankfully there are resources available that have done the work for you, so you don’t have to waste time trying to figure out what’s new.
In this post, I’d like to point out a couple of resources that I think compliment each other well, and focus on how to upgrade applications, as opposed to simply providing you with a shopping list of features.
The first one is Upgrading applications to Rails 3, a screencast that was just released by ThinkCode.TV. This screencast is almost an hour-long and shows you how to port a real world web application from Rails 2 to Rails 3. As such, it can be very useful if you have existing code that you’d like to port over to Rails 3. The author ported a few large applications to Rails 3, as he has solid experience with it. I’m biased of course, but I feel it’s well worth $8.99. (Today only, use the coupon RAILS3 to purchase this Rails screencast for just $5.99.)
The second resource is the Rails 3 Upgrade Handbook by Jeremy McAnally. It’s a beautiful PDF that succinctly explains what’s new in Rails 3, as well as how to upgrade your applications to the new edition of the framework. At 10c per page ($12 for 120 pages), it too is worth the money in my opinion.
Regardless of whether you end up buying these resources or not, I sure hope you have extensive test coverage for your existing Rails 2 applications. In my experience this is a must, because porting complex applications to Rails 3 without solid test support is a definite challenge. Nevertheless, I feel that this major upgrade is truly worth it. Rails 3 really brings Rails to a whole new level and we, as a community, should be proud and excited about what lies ahead of us.
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Antonio Cangiano is a Software Developer and Technical Evangelist at IBM. He authored 'Ruby on Rails for Microsoft Developers' by Wrox (2009) and 'Technical Blogging' by The Pragmatic Bookshelf (2012). He is also the Marketing Lead for Cognitive Class, an IBM educational initiative which he helped grow from zero to 1 Million students. You can follow him on Twitter.