Practical Rails Social Networking Sites is for developers who wish to build real-world community and social networking web sites using Ruby on Rails. In this book, we will develop a realworld community web site called RailsCoders, which you can find on the web at http:// railscoders.net; the site is built on the same code that is developed in this book.
By learning how this community site was built, you can easily use the same code to run your own online community site or adapt and develop the code to suit your own site’s requirements. In this chapter, I will start by discussing the high-level requirements for the RailsCoders project. Next, I will give you some background on Ruby and Ruby on Rails and discuss some of the features of Ruby and Rails that make using them to develop web applications very quick and easy. I will provide instructions on how to install Ruby, Rails, and MySQL on your system and create the database required for the project. After that, I’ll show you how to create the skeleton code for the application and make sure that Rails can connect to the database correctly.
You may already have installed Ruby and Rails on your machine and worked through some tutorials, or you may be familiar with developing a project in Rails. If so, you may wish to fast-forward through the installation section of this chapter, but you should ensure that you have the correct versions of the software installed and check that you are using a similar setup.
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