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Learning how to Learn Rails

1. Get a Mac

I'm serious. If you don't have a Mac then give up or expect lots of pain, no help or sympathy.

99.9% of the Rails community are running on Macs.

Almost all Rails learning material is written with the expectation that you're using a Mac.

For making the jump over to Mac you can expect to be hand-held through the roughest times.

Once you get your Mac read Hive Logic's Article on Setting up Rails

2. Use the Rails and Ruby Documentation

Always, always, always try looking for an answer to your Rails problem by reading the Rails or Ruby docs before asking for help.

Upon asking questions most developers will paste you links and try to send you to the docs, so try just checking the docs first before asking.

Offical Doc Websites

Alt Doc Websites (w/ Offline Versions)

3. Read the Changelogs and Commits

Rails is progressively changing, and its important to keep up-to-date by reading the changelog and commits.

Where to see the Changes to Rails

4. Live in the IRC (Chatrooms)

Interact with other developers in real time, via IRC.

Just ask a question, and sit and wait for an answer. Some developers are more generous then others with helping.

If you spend enough time here, you may end up paying it forward by helping other developers less knowledgeable then yourself.

Get the IRC Program Colloquy for the mac and start joining conversations.

Recommend IRC Channels

  • rubyonrails
  • ruby
  • git
  • mysql
  • apache

5. Video Tutorials

The best part about the Rails community is the large amount of videos available online.

They'll handhold you through anything and everything.

Check out Railscasts, check out Railscasts and check out Railscasts.

Recommended Video Tutorials

6. Forums, Mailing Lists, and Ticket Trackers

If you can't get help right away in the chatrooms, they'res other places to ask.

Forums

Go and post a topic on the Rails Forum to ask general questions about anything.

Mailing Lists

To get a specific answer to a specific problem, subscribe to a mailing list and ask questions there. For example, if you get stuck trying to fix an html glitch the wsg mailing list is the best place to get help

Ticket Trackers (Lighthouse)

Sometimes if something isn't working for you there may actually be a bug with rails or a rails plugin or ruby gem, etc… Take a look at some Ruby on Rails tickets to see what I'm talking about.

7. Stay Current

Visit RailsEnvy every Wednesday for their weekly podcast about whats going on in the Rails community. Very entertaining and very good resources. Visit RailsEnvy.

Sign up on Twitter, search the word Rails and start talking and following people

9. Download Existing Rails Apps

The best way of learning how to build Rails App is by example. Start downloading some projects at GitHub

Recommended Rails Apps

10. Learn your Javascript

You should buy this book and learn Prototype and Scriptaculous. If you heard of JQuery and like using it. Forget about it, and learn Prototype. If you still want to use JQuery after that then go ahead.

11. Recommended Rails Plugins

Try using these for your Rails Project

Mantras to remember

  • Convention over Configuration
  • Underdo your Competition
  • Now is better than later
  • Clarity over Cleverness

  1. anteaya saidTue, 11 Mar 2008 17:22:51 -0000 ( Link )

    Simply acknowledging those who do not know rails is a very helpful starting point.

    Thank you,
    Anita.

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  2. RLLillis saidTue, 11 Mar 2008 18:33:15 -0000 ( Link )

    Ruby programming language per Wikipedia

    Ruby on Rails per Wikipedia

    Ruby on Rails for the Rest of Us by Digital Web Magazine

    Top 12 Ruby on Rails Tutorials – the first has some great explainations too

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  3. Andrew Brown saidWed, 12 Mar 2008 06:46:48 -0000 ( Link )

    It’d probably be also good for me to mention HiveLogic’s Installation Tutorial for Rails

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  4. Gaelin Brown saidThu, 13 Mar 2008 16:09:39 -0000 ( Link )

    Informative and Imaginitive. Waiting for more.

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  5. Andrew Brown saidWed, 19 Mar 2008 16:42:26 -0000 ( Link )

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  6. kamal saidMon, 21 Apr 2008 15:40:17 -0000 ( Link )

    This is helpful, thanks!

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  7. glenngillen saidFri, 09 Jan 2009 13:54:39 -0000 ( Link )

    Things have moved on a little since this post, I’ve created an updated list of the Top 50 ruby on rails tutorials that are still relevant. Hopefully someone finds it useful.

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  8. UMS saidFri, 19 Feb 2010 22:29:29 -0000 ( Link )

    Useful article but Rails has come a long way since this post, jquery has really taken off and Rails 3 will support it ‘out of the box’, also there are a lot of Linux users now, including me. I’ve fallen in love with GMate (http://github.com/lexrupy/gmate/) and gitHub (http://github.com) – people may also want to check out:

    haml & sass (gem)

    Inherited Resources (gem) – cuts out a lot of the scaffold-like code from your controllers

    Formtastic (gem) – create forms the easy way

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  9. csn saidFri, 05 Nov 2010 16:24:40 -0000 ( Link )

    Generally a good post but I have a serious problem with 1:

    “1. Get a Mac

    I’m serious. If you don’t have a Mac then give up or expect lots of pain, no help or sympathy. …"

    I think the above statement isn’t just plain silly (pure bs in my opinion) but irresponsible too; the person is the limiting factor not the machine!

    I have been using Rails for the past year or so and have been doing just fine with my dual boot (Win7/Ubuntu, both 64-bit) HP Pavilion DV9700t laptop, which, incidentally, cost about $500 less than a similarly speced 15" MacBook Pro. In addition, the HP hardware is far more robust and reliable than the Mac.

    I run Rails on the Ubuntu 10.4 64-bit OS and use Kate or GEdit with the GMate plugin. I even installed the RubyMine rails IDE just to try it out, which worked fine. Also, I never had any problems with running any tutorial from Railscasts or PeepCode, running sample apps. etc., etc.

    So my advise to someone who is just starting out, and a.) doesn’t have a giant bank account or b.) doesn’t want to be gouged by Apple, is to get a laptop (HP, Lenovo, Toshiba, Asus, or what ever) and throw your favorite Linux distro on it. You’ll be able to do everything the Mac stooges can (in some cases setting things up on Linux are even easier), and you’ll be developing Rails apps with easy (depending on how fast you learn) in no time.

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  10. csn saidFri, 05 Nov 2010 16:57:31 -0000 ( Link )

    Generally a good post but I have a serious problem with 1:

    “1. Get a Mac

    I’m serious. If you don’t have a Mac then give up or expect lots of pain, no help or sympathy. …"

    I think the above statement isn’t just plain silly (pure bs in my opinion) but irresponsible too; the person is the limiting factor not the machine!

    I have been using Rails for the past year or so and have been doing just fine with my dual boot (Win7/Ubuntu, both 64-bit) HP Pavilion DV9700t laptop, which, incidentally, cost about $500 less than a similarly speced 15" MacBook Pro. In addition, the HP hardware is far more robust and reliable than the Mac.

    I run Rails on the Ubuntu 10.4 64-bit OS and use Kate or GEdit with the GMate plugin. I even installed the RubyMine rails IDE just to try it out, which worked fine. Also, I never had any problems with running any tutorial from Railscasts or PeepCode, running sample apps. etc., etc.

    So my advise to someone who is just starting out, and a.) doesn’t have a giant bank account or b.) doesn’t want to be gouged by Apple, is to get a laptop (HP, Lenovo, Toshiba, Asus, or what ever) and throw your favorite Linux distro on it. You’ll be able to do everything the Mac stooges can (in some cases setting things up on Linux are even easier), and you’ll be developing Rails apps with easy (depending on how fast you learn) in no time.

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  11. csn saidFri, 05 Nov 2010 16:58:14 -0000 ( Link )

    Generally a good post but I have a serious problem with 1:

    “1. Get a Mac

    I’m serious. If you don’t have a Mac then give up or expect lots of pain, no help or sympathy. …"

    I think the above statement isn’t just plain silly (pure bs in my opinion) but irresponsible too; the person is the limiting factor not the machine!

    I have been using Rails for the past year or so and have been doing just fine with my dual boot (Win7/Ubuntu, both 64-bit) HP Pavilion DV9700t laptop, which, incidentally, cost about $500 less than a similarly speced 15" MacBook Pro. In addition, the HP hardware is far more robust and reliable than the Mac.

    I run Rails on the Ubuntu 10.4 64-bit OS and use Kate or GEdit with the GMate plugin. I even installed the RubyMine rails IDE just to try it out, which worked fine. Also, I never had any problems with running any tutorial from Railscasts or PeepCode, running sample apps. etc., etc.

    So my advise to someone who is just starting out, and a.) doesn’t have a giant bank account or b.) doesn’t want to be gouged by Apple, is to get a laptop (HP, Lenovo, Toshiba, Asus, or what ever) and throw your favorite Linux distro on it. You’ll be able to do everything the Mac stooges can (in some cases setting things up on Linux are even easier), and you’ll be developing Rails apps with easy (depending on how fast you learn) in no time.

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  12. marmarko saidSun, 26 Aug 2012 22:21:45 -0000 ( Link )

    We are creating a service for people who are learning Rails (http://devs.helpliners.com/). We’d love to hear your thoughts about what types of problems you are finding along the way (http://bit.ly/NvKiUq). Thanks!

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