Topic: New to Rails

Hi Rails Forum!

I'm new to ruby on rails and to say I'm absolutely besotted by Ruby in general be it rails or sinatra or whatever else would be an understatement!

I've spent years as a web designer, I've been able to code in HTML and CSS since I was 14... I never really decided to take it all seriously until I left education and decided that I actually hate doing something I don't enjoy for a job...

While I could have simply gone and found a job where I do 'web design' with Photoshop and my HTML and CSS knowledge, it didn't feel right... I need to feel like I'm not taking the easy/lazy option.

Anyway I spent a long time mulling over my options. I bought multiple books on PHP and JavaScript but the syntax didn't really appeal to me. Then I found Ruby and as I understand it Ruby descends from a different sub-branch of languages than PHP and JS though I may be wrong! Regardless Ruby just looks a lot better, makes more sense and perhaps due to my design background it appeals to me more.

I'm old enough to know now not to come to a forum expecting any special treatment and I'd rather not ask the usual questions of what to do and all the rest. I realise I need to work hard and just get into the code.

What I would like to ask though is this...

For a beginner like myself, who is very much on the outside of the whole web development scene - baring in mind my sole focus for now is Ruby, Ruby on Rails, Sinatra etc How would you suggest I get involved and become a part of the community. I want to make friends, maybe work on some projects with people some day. Maybe even find a mentor or at least someone friendly who I can talk to. Believe me when I say I bore my girlfriend to death talking about this stuff!

Thanks in advance!

Re: New to Rails

Welcome,

First thing I think you need to do is get the programming thing figured out.  Find a book on Ruby, but make sure it doesn't assume you are already a programmer.  The Book I used "The Ruby Way" is for experienced programmers who want to learn Ruby.  I'm not sure if a "Ruby for First Time programmers" type book exists,  but make an effort to try and find one.

Then start playing with Ruby using the book,  and get to the point where you are comfortable with the basics of Ruby.  Ruby has a command line interpreter,  so you can learn the basics by just typing commands and seeing the results.  You don't need to get into the esoterica (meta programming, etc.) just knowing Ruby fundamentals will get you to the next step,  Ruby on Rails.

Once you start playing with Ruby on Rails,   there a lots of tutorials.  I'd highly recommend Ryan Bates Screencasts,  there are hundreds of them, each covering a small problem,  showing you how to solve the problem using RoR.  Be aware that many of the older ones are based on older versions of RoR,  they still may be helpful,  but check for updated screencasts that cover the same topic  for the latest version of RoR.

I got where I am now the exact opposite way you did, I starting programming very early on (1975), and eventually programmed in many languages.  I learned HTML, CSS, Photoshop, etc. last!

Good luck!

Joe got a job, on the day shift, at the Utility Muffin Research Kitchen, arrogantly twisting the sterile canvas snout of a fully charged icing anointment utensil.

Re: New to Rails

BradHodges wrote:

Welcome,

First thing I think you need to do is get the programming thing figured out.  Find a book on Ruby, but make sure it doesn't assume you are already a programmer.  The Book I used "The Ruby Way" is for experienced programmers who want to learn Ruby.  I'm not sure if a "Ruby for First Time programmers" type book exists,  but make an effort to try and find one.

Then start playing with Ruby using the book,  and get to the point where you are comfortable with the basics of Ruby.  Ruby has a command line interpreter,  so you can learn the basics by just typing commands and seeing the results.  You don't need to get into the esoterica (meta programming, etc.) just knowing Ruby fundamentals will get you to the next step,  Ruby on Rails.

Once you start playing with Ruby on Rails,   there a lots of tutorials.  I'd highly recommend Ryan Bates Screencasts,  there are hundreds of them, each covering a small problem,  showing you how to solve the problem using RoR.  Be aware that many of the older ones are based on older versions of RoR,  they still may be helpful,  but check for updated screencasts that cover the same topic  for the latest version of RoR.

I got where I am now the exact opposite way you did, I starting programming very early on (1975), and eventually programmed in many languages.  I learned HTML, CSS, Photoshop, etc. last!

Good luck!

Thanks Brad I will definitely try to get to grips with Ruby itself first... I've already done a few things with Ruby online such as tryruby.org and I then went on to rails for zombies... To be honest I was doing ok with rails for zombies... I just felt like I was progressing too fast once I got to the fourth challenge and I've gone back to trying to learn a bit more about Ruby.

Programming in general is very new to me so I'll definitely have a look around for a book like you mentioned. A lot of it is starting to sink in already though... In a way what is most confusing is when I come across new terminology that is assumed to be obvious by who ever wrote what I was reading. I think the rest, I just need to get some experience doing some programming itself.

I'm not surprised really, programming is a lot more fun. Wish I'd started doing that first!

By the way you live in LA is it really the hub for web developers etc that it's made out to be? It is a dream for me to be good enough to get a job there some day, but I'd like to know how much of my notions of it is true and isn't true.

Thanks again!

Re: New to Rails

Ya know, I'm really not sure at all about LA being a Hub for web development.  I only do web stuff for my own businesses.  I've never been paid to develop anything web related.  Prior to being self employed,  I was actually a sales engineer for places like Sun & BEA Systems.  Prior to THAT I was  paid to program,  but back then,  the Web didn't exist.  I was only a REAL programmer from 1980 thru 1990, heads down, all day long, C on Unix, C++ towards the end.  Then at Sun & BEA as a sales engineer 1990 thru 2000, playing with everything, mastering nothing (Ada, Fortran, COBOL, Java, Perl, Smalltalk-80, postscript, lex & yacc, you name it).  Spent a year at Locus running UNIX on mainframes in there somewhere as well. 

RoR is really the first time in 20 years that I've actually started to master a new programming technology.  The Ruby part was simple,  all languages just sort of meld in my mind,  it was the Rails system that had the learning curve for me.

Last edited by BradHodges (2011-12-06 02:40:44)

Joe got a job, on the day shift, at the Utility Muffin Research Kitchen, arrogantly twisting the sterile canvas snout of a fully charged icing anointment utensil.