Simon St. Laurent

Simon St. Laurent

  • @simonstl
  • + Simon St. Laurent

Ithaca, New York

Areas of Expertise:

  • Rails
  • XML
  • HTML
  • CSS
  • documentation

Simon St. Laurent is Senior Editor at O'Reilly Media, Inc., focusing primarily on JavaScript and web-related projects. He is co-chair of the Fluent conference. He's authored or co-authored books including Introducing Elixir, Introducing Erlang, Learning Rails 3, XML Pocket Reference, 3rd, XML: A Primer, and Cookies.

You can find more of his writing on technology, Quakerism, and the Town of Dryden at

Introducing Elixir Introducing Elixir
by J. David Eisenberg, Simon St. Laurent
September 2014
Print: $24.99
Ebook: $19.99

The Web Platform The Web Platform
by Simon St. Laurent
March 2014
Ebook: $0.00

Introducing Erlang Introducing Erlang
by Simon St. Laurent
January 2013
Print: $19.99
Ebook: $16.99

Learning Rails 3 Learning Rails 3
by Simon St. Laurent, Edd Dumbill, Eric J. Gruber
July 2012
Print: $34.99
Ebook: $29.99

Learning Rails: Live Edition Learning Rails: Live Edition
by Edd Dumbill, Simon St. Laurent
July 2010

Learning Rails Learning Rails
by Simon St. Laurent, Edd Dumbill
November 2008

XML Pocket Reference XML Pocket Reference
by Simon St. Laurent, Michael Fitzgerald
Third Edition August 2005
Print: $9.95
Ebook: $7.99

Office 2003 XML Office 2003 XML
by Evan Lenz, Mary McRae, Simon St. Laurent
May 2004
Print: $44.99

Programming Web Services with XML-RPC Programming Web Services with XML-RPC
by Simon St. Laurent, Joe Johnston, Edd Dumbill
June 2001
Print: $34.99
Ebook: $27.99

Recent Posts | All O'Reilly Posts

Simon blogs at:

Your money or your life

June 10 2014

I know it’s hard to run a large company. I know that organizations can get too deep into their own visions to imagine conflicting values. I realized yesterday, though, that: Microsoft ruined their brand for me by holding too tightly … read more

Who holds your keys?

May 06 2014

Put your books, movies, and music on a gleaming shelf. Close the door to keep the dust off. Lock the door, so no one can take it, and hand me the key. I’ll let you have the key when you … read more

Distributed resilience with functional programming

February 08 2013

Functional programming has a long and distinguished heritage of great work — that was only used by a small group of programmers. In a world dominated by individual computers running single processors, the extra cost of thinking functionally limited its … read more

CSS keeps growing

October 24 2012

Eric Meyer, the author of CSS: The Definitive Guide (and much more) has taught thousands of people CSS through his books, his talks, and his articles. I’ve always enjoyed hearing his take on the state of CSS, as he manages … read more

Shrinking and stretching the boundaries of markup

August 14 2012

It’s easy to forget that XML started out as a simplification process, trimming SGML into a more manageable and more parseable specification. Once XML reached a broad audience, of course, new specifications piled on top of it to create an … read more

Applying markup to complexity

August 09 2012

When XML exploded onto the scene, it ignited visions of magical communications, simplified document storage, and a whole new wave of application capabilities. Reality has proved calmer, with competition from JSON and other formats tackling a wide variety of problems, … read more

JavaScript and Dart: Can we do better?

May 17 2012

O'Reilly editor Simon St. Laurent talked with Google's Seth Ladd about the challenges of improving the web.  How can we build on JavaScript's ubiquity while addressing performance, team, and scale issues? read more

Understanding Mojito

May 10 2012

O'Reilly editor Simon St. Laurent talked with Yahoo's Bruno Fernandez-Ruiz about the possibilities Node opened and Mojito exploits. Yahoo's Mojito is a different kind of framework: all JavaScript, but running on both the client and the server. read more

Web developers can rule the iPad

January 29 2010

Arise, web developers! Our time has come to dominate! read more

Why is HTML Suddenly Interesting?

August 26 2009

After a decade of quiet, HTML is a hot topic once again. While there is pent-up demand for new features, the conversation reflects a more basic change in the Web's landscape. read more

Programming Contests, Community, and Business

June 10 2009

Attending the TopCoder Open, the final in-person rounds of an intense programming competition, in support of the TopCoder Cookbook, showed me possibilities that go way beyond programming or books into business models and community I came expecting to see a competition, but found a much more inclusive (and compelling) business… read more

Recent Posts | All O'Reilly Posts

Fluent Online Conference: Beyond JavaScript and HTML5
December 12, 2013
In this free online conference, attendees will get a practical sneak peek at some of the topics we'll be covering at Fluent.

Fluent Online Conference: Fluent 2013 Preview
April 04, 2013
In this free online conference, attendees will get a practical sneak peek at some of the most important topics we'll be covering at Fluent. If you're a developer, engineer, or are invested in the future of the Web in any way, It's your chance to see ...

"For a beginner to Rails this is a good asset."
--Srinivasan Margabandhu

"Overall, I recommend this book to the type of reader described above. As the authors state in their preface, you will not be a Rails guru after reading it; but you be a lot closer towards it than you were before this book was read."
--Jason Armstrong,

"The exercises and review questions in each chapter are interesting, instructive, and thought-provoking."
--Michael Kleper, The Kleper Report on Digital Publishing, Vol. 17 No. 4/5, July/October 2012

"Learning Rails 3 is an excellent guide for Ruby on Rails newcomers. And those already working with Rails can learn from it, too."
--Si Dunn, Sagecreek Productions

"So overall this book did absolutely give me that quick introduction to what Rails is all about. "
--Mike Smith, The UK's Unix and Open Systems User Group (UKUUG)

" "
--David Fisher, What is Noise Blog

"Most Ruby on Rails books take a software developer's approach, making them difficult to follow for web designers and developers without a lot of programming background. Learning Rails takes a different approach, starting with building web pages and gradually introducing the full software model. It's gentle, but not dumbed-down. In our screencast course, we've found this to be a highly effective way for people to learn Rails. Even if you're not a software developer by training, this book will open up the power of Rails for you."
--Michael Slater,

"Learning a new web framework (and language) can be difficult, but Simon and Edd take it one step at a time and explain everything you need to know to get started with Rails."
--Gregg Pollack,