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Classes are simply a convenient way to organize functions (also called methods) like the home and contact actions, which are defined using the def keyword. The angle bracket < indicates that PagesController inherits from the Rails class Application-Controller; as we’ll see momentarily, this means that our pages come equipped with a large amount of Rails-specific functionality. (We’ll learn more about both classes and inheritance in Section 4.4.)

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Cover of Ruby on Rails™ 2.3 Tutorial: Learn Rails by Example

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This is similar to Python.