Topic: Is Ruby/Rails for me?
I'm a middle school teacher with a strong interest in technology and computers. I have a few ideas for web projects that I would like to try to develop over the summer.
I am curious to get your opinion as to whether Ruby/Rails is a good environment for me to persue, or if there is a different programming environment that would be more appropriate to my (lack of) programming experience or my project description.
My Project Idea:
My primary hope is to create a database-driven book review website that would be accessed by middle school students. Ideally, I'd like to interface with Amazon's book database, and make it easy for students to discover books that "kids just like them" seemed to like.
My Programming Experience:
* I took one semester of Pascal 20 years ago...but loved it.
* I have extensive Access experience, so I know a good deal about basic database design and querying (though I never wrote SQL by hand -- only using Access query graphical interface).
My Ruby Reading:
* I've read Chris Pine's "Learn to Program", and was able to handle most of the basic programming challenges (I'm particularly proud of my "99 Bottles of Beer" program!).
* I tried working along with David A. Black's "Ruby for Rails" r4rmusic example. I quickly got discouraged though, as things didn't seem to work as written (though it's probably my fault) and it seemed to be a much steeper learning curve up from Chris Pine's book. I haven't put a ton of time into this one yet (I'll have to wait for the school year to end before I can) but it did spook me a bit!
I'm a terrific "book buyer" on Amazon, so I already have a small library of Ruby books (Pick Axe, Cookbook, Recipes, Quiz, etc.), but I can't seem to find a good bridge between Chris Pine's book and any of the others.
Beyond Ruby/Rails, I am quickly realizing that there is much more to master to make this work, including MySQL, CSS, Amazon EC2, etc.
Is this too much for a capable newbie to take on?
If I do, is Ruby/Rails the best choice for my experience and project requirements?
Is there another environment that might be faster to learn and appropriate to the job?
Any thoughts would be really appreciated.