On Mon, Nov 7, 2011 at 1:04 PM, Jim Bartek <[address removed]>
Hey everyone, i'm brand new to rails.
Are people still loaning books?
Yes...ish. I'll try to remember to bring some next time.
Brennan, was Ruby on Rails 3 Tutorial: Learn Rails By Example a good book?
I have no idea, also my name is not Brennan. But I can say that the Rails Guides  can be very helpful. They're what I use to learn the new features of major releases.
also what setups/tools are people using to dev Rails with?
I just got setup with:
ruby version manager
postgreSQL (via the enterpriseDB installer)
Are their different tools/versions, etc. that you like to use? Why?
What are they best for?
I'd say this is quite similar to most of us, except Ruby is probably 1.8.7 or Ruby Enterprise Edition(ree) which is effectively 1.8.7. If you're using rvm you've already done the right thing, switching Ruby versions is easy and painless. We're developing our new apps against Ruby 1.9.3 which was released a few weeks ago, very noticeably faster than 1.9.2.
Another thing is nearly everyone is running on OS X, but deploying to Linux. Mostly minor differences. A few of us are running linux in virtual machines on our mac laptops using Vagrant . Some things are much easier to run in Linux, or you want to have a near replica of production for more exact testing. Vagrant may still be of use to you as a means to isolate the environment.
Ubuntu, ahem Debian, has great support for installing and upgrading databases. We typically install Postgres or MySQL using that unless we need some crazy compiled extension. Postgres is awesome, we use it wherever possible.
I don't know anyone using Titanium at the moment. Most of us have evaluated it at one time or another but it's been "unstable" at best.
I will likely be focusing more on front end, UX, views part of this
first project, while others are focusing on the backend.
I'm certainly not the best to give advice in this area, but I suggest one thing. If you're not using Chrome already, you should give it a try. Their developer tools are nearly up to Firebug quality and it is blazingly fast which makes development a lot more enjoyable.