Chapter 13. Cool Things on Rails

In This Chapter

  • Making Web pages more user‐friendly

  • Sending e‐mail from a Web page

  • Entering the world of Web services

Rails eases the pain of constructing a Web‐based database application. And how does Rails ease the pain? Rails makes liberal use of generators, convention over configuration, and other tricks. You open the RadRails Generators view, fill in a field or two, click a button, and then . . . Voila! You have a scaffold.

This generator stuff helps with other kinds of problems, too — problems that don't center around databases. After all, so many problems involve boilerplate code. These problems have related names that apply to several different things — a MyMailer class inside a my_mailer.rb file or an e‐mail setup controller method with a setup.rhtml view.

Rails has components to help you solve these problems. And the best part is that you can have fun doing it.

Using Ajax

Several years ago, someone posed an interesting question. If Web pages are good for displaying information, are Web pages also good for editing information? Can you create a useful word processing program that runs in a Web browser? Can you comfortably read and compose e‐mail through a Web‐based interface? Can you collaborate with a coworker using an online spreadsheet?

The idea sounds promising. But despite the promise, Web‐based applications haven't become very popular. When I want to read e‐mail, I open Microsoft Outlook, Mozilla Thunderbird, or some other desktop application. ...

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