The guys at EnvyCasts gave me the opportunity to take their new screencast for a test drive. They've produced a 44 minute video and accompanying 118-page PDF covering all the changes in Rails 2.2. They call it "The Ultimate Guide to Rails 2.2" but is it marketing hype, solid as a rock, or somewhere in between?

The coverage of the existing parts of Rails (ActiveRecord, ActiveSupport, etc) is very thorough, especially in the PDF. Unless you're obsessed with Rails, you'll learn all sorts of tips to clean up your code and save you time. In that sense, the package will pay for itself very quickly. Probably the weakest part of the content is the coverage on I18N. This is a big subject outside of the US and neither the video or PDF give anything more than a cursory treatment, pointing the viewer to a 3rd party website rather than providing code samples and examples like the other content.

On the production side, the RailsEnvy guys are well known for their rapport and sense of humor and this video is no different, full of banter between the two. If you like the RailsEnvy podcasts, you can expect the same here. One small quibble was their use of a background image and on-screen images of Jason and Gregg. I would have preferred a solid colored background with just a voice-over on the technical content so as to not distract my attention.

So will this package turn you from a Rails 2.2 n00b to a ninja? Well, I feel like I have a much better understanding of the changes that occurred and already have noted a few places in my own code (I'm looking at you, link_to) I can clean up once I've migrated to Rails 2.2. I still can't throw a shuriken but I'm definitely closer to getting a black belt in Rails.

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