Welcome to 2009!

We’ve got an interesting mix to kick off the year. We’ll go deep into creating Rails forms with a screencast from Pragmatic called “Forms Essentials”. They’ve been gracious enough to give us permission to show the episode to our group. It’s a part of their Mastering Rails Forms series. We are also going to get a high-level overview of Django and how it compares with Rails.

Episode 1: Form Essentials (30 minutes)

We’ll start by building a search form, and then move on to a form for ordering custom pizzas. The pizza form starts out with a simple text field and checkbox, but ends up with a pull-down menu for the pizza crust type (a one-to-many association) and a group of checkboxes for the pizza toppings (a many-to-many association).

You’ll learn how to:

  • use various form helpers to create form fields
  • create forms that are backed by Active Record models using form_for_
  • create forms that aren’t backed by a model using form_tag_
  • set default and initial values in form fields
  • use form field values in the params hash
  • prevent a common security problem related to mass-assignment
  • create pull-down menus for one-to-many associations
  • use checkboxes for many-to-many associations

We will also be getting the 30,000 ft. view of Django, starting with its humble origins as “The CMS” at the Lawrence World Journal in Kansas. We’ll work through the basic project structure, Routing, Models and the ORM, Views, Templates and the Django admin, with comparisons and contrasts to Ruby on Rails along the way.

Brandon Taylor is a formally trained graphic designer, self-taught web developer and is currently a senior Presentation Layer Developer at Razorfish. He’s been a professional web developer for 12 years, with experience ranging from classic ASP to .NET to PHP, Rails and his personal favorite - Django.

He is originally from Tulsa, Oklahoma and is a ‘96 graduate of Oklahoma State University. When he’s not coding or designing, he is spending time with his wife and two daughters, their 5 parrots, teaching the Hawaiian martial art of Lua or surfing.

Finally, look out for a big announcement about the future of our community and how we interact with each other.

As per usual, we will be meeting in the offices of Datran Media/OtherInbox on the 8th floor of the Omni Hotel Building (enter by the stairs at 7th and Brazos). Please show up early to get a good seat!

Looking forward to seeing you all!