I've really enjoyed Apress Books Practical Projects series. I know that O'Reilly has a Building a Web 2.0 Portal with ASP.NET book and I have heard of a similar book for Cocoa programming (although I am not sure of its title.) I'd like to know what other books or tutorials stackoverflow users would recommend that walks one through a project in any language or framework. I'm familiar with the O'Reilly's Cookbook series as well but I'm more interested in something that describes an entire project or application.

+6  A: 

I've actually been really happy with Agile Development with Rails, 2nd Edition. It assumes that you know how to program in a language but doesn't require you to know any one specifically, and walks you through the process of building a Web 2.0 shopping cart app in Rails with Ajax.

It's pretty simple to work through but if you end up doing it (or for those that have the book), use Rails version 1.26 (gem install -v=1.2.6 rails at the prompt takes care of this) since a lot has changed between that version and the current version. You don't have to know Ruby either (I didn't when I started) and has a companion website. And since the third edition is almost out, the second edition is half off right now ($20), which makes it an awesome deal to boot.

edit: forgot to mention that for the $20 it comes with the full-color PDF which is a million times easier to read along with since you can copy-paste the code and I find it easier on the eyes (although that's a matter of preference)

Chris Bunch
+5  A: 

At the risk of tipping the answers too far towards any one programming environment, RailsSpace is also an excellent choice. Assuming only knowledge of web development, it walks you through the creation of a social networking site, teaching you Ruby and Rails on the way.

The book comes with the website to download source material (simple text files!) or interact with the community.

It is a cross-platform book and can be followed on Windows, Mac, or Linux.

Brad Tutterow
+2  A: 

Even though it does not go through a whole project, Craig Larman's Applying UML & Patterns is one of my favorite books ever, because it takes you by the hand and explore two use cases for two diffent projects while explaining dozens and dozens of concepts about object oriented development, UML diagramming and design patterns logic and usage.

It starts with simples questions and problems and build up to much more complex designs and solutions.

I have already read it three times, I'm always coming back at random pages, and I'm always learning something new.

Oh, yeah, it's examples are in C++ and Java, but are fairly undestandable by anyone.

Mario Marinato -br-
+1  A: 

SitePoint's Simply Rails 2 is a good one that fits your requirement. It walks you through building a Digg-style site (called Shovell). This is probably the one to read if you're interested in building something like, say, StackOverflow. ;-)

I would also like to second the recommendation for RailsSpace; it is one of the best tutorial style books I have read and covers most of the common web 2.0-social-networking-domain problems. I hope it gets a second edition as it is getting a little out of date now, although not problematically so (yet, as of this posting).

Charles Roper
+1  A: 

If you are directly interested in learning how to build a social network then I suggest ASP.NET 3.5 Social Networking. This book currently has 4.5 stars and ranks #27 in ASP programming! (this number jumps around a bit..but it is good today - not bad for a niche book). The book goes into all sorts of details about building an enterprise style application following a tiered approach. It covers many of the core concepts of a community site from the common concepts (accounts, tags, friends, etc.) through little known tool usage (MemCached Win32) to patterns (DDD, MVP, Repository, etc.) until you have a complete working site. I might be a bit biased though since I wrote it! (:P)

Andrew Siemer