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A Flickr-based Introduction to Ruby on Rails 2.0

Want to get started with Rails 2.0? Explore some of the most prominent new features, and learn how to use them to build a simple, but visually attractive, web application based on Flickr.

nitially released in 2004, the Rails web application framework became the perfect killer application for the Ruby language and an extremely powerful tool for rapidly developing web applications based on the CRUD (Create, Read, Update, Delete) pattern. At the end of 2007, version 2.0 of the now popular web application framework was released. Although not as groundbreaking as the first release, Rails 2.0 still offers many innovations that make developing with it more productive and fun.

This article describes how to get started with Rails 2.0, explores some of the most prominent new features, and uses them to show how to build a simple, but visually attractive, web application. Instead of the standard "create a blog in 15 minutes" example, the application demonstrated here is a useful and immersive photo browser for the popular Flickr photo sharing website.

Figures 1 to 4 show screenshots of the photo browser (called RailTrackr), and you can see a screencast of it here.

Figure 1. RailTrackr Screenshot 1: Rails 2.0 Flickr Browser.
Figure 2. RailTrackr Screenshot 2: Floridapfe Photosets.

Figure 3. RailTrackr Screenshot 3: Floridapfe "Snowy Owl" Photoset.
Figure 4. RailTrackr Screenshot 4: Lemur Photo from "Snowy Owl" Photoset.

The RailTrackr source code is attached to this article, and it will be kept up-to-date at the author's website. You can download it and use it as a reference while reading the rest of the article. Given the amount of features the application offers, this article will show only the relevant snippets extracted from code.

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