Topic: IDE for Beginners....or not?

A bit of guidance here, please. I've decided to learn how to develop a database based website.  As a recent convert to Mac, I was searching around for a web development framework and came to understand that RoR ships with OSX.  While I was waiting for RoR for Dummies to arrive, I did several tutorials in Python to teach myself how to program. I've now done several Ruby tutorials and want to go on to the next step.  This is where I am stuck.   I looked at a couple rails tutorials and I could not quite get my head around it.  I then started looking for an IDE thinking that this might help me to learn rails -- starting with RadRails on Elipse (Aptana).  Big Mistake (a "this is more complicated than we thought" moment if there ever was one.) I gave it another try with textmate, but that too is way above me.  After a couple weeks of head scratching and getting nowhere, I went back and learned basic HTML and some CSS which got me looking at  editors again.  There's not much support for database integration in these low end editors/frameworks and I'm hesitant to get started with and IDE that in itself has a steeper learning curve than Ruby or Rails.  Any suggestions?

Re: IDE for Beginners....or not?

It's a mixed bag. Early my Rails career, I used RadRails, and then NetBeans. But I've ended up with TextMate and the terminal. You need to remember a few commands this way, but I recommend it. If you're using an IDE, then you have to learn about the IDE in addition to learning about Rails, and the amount of help it provides, especially for a beginner, is small. As you become a more advanced user, you *might* want to move to an IDE for some of the advanced features it offers, but most Rails developers don't.

For tutorials, I think the free Learning Rails online course my colleague Christopher Haupt and I developed is a great starting point, if I do say so myself. Check it out at .

Michael Slater
Resources for Rails Developers

Re: IDE for Beginners....or not?

I think the majority of people will be using Textmate / Terminal however if you would like to use a full blown IDE I would highly recommend Netbeans.  It seems to be much better than Aptana RadRails and now has MySQL support out the box since Sun acquired it.  There is also a new Javascript editor.

Like any IDE it may look daunting at first, however there is a Ruby only version which will probably make things a little bit simpler.


Re: IDE for Beginners....or not?

I really really like Netbeans.

Re: IDE for Beginners....or not?

Is it that you don't get the "IDE" or that you don't get RoR? When I was starting I was given a tutorial that made it seem very magic box, and that didn't sit well with me as I am a fairly tech person and naturally I needed to understand what I was doing.

If it's Rails that has you stumped, and it sounds like it is, then go to and buy     Agile web development with Rails, … d-edition. It's not perfect and it's not RESTful with it's example app, but it's great for getting you into Rails and for getting your head around what goes where and what does what. I downloaded the PDF of this book 12 months ago (previous edition) and I haven't looked back. I highly recommend it.

Re: IDE for Beginners....or not?

I feel the majority of you are going to be selecting Textmate / Fatal needless to say should you would including for you to use a total setbacked IDE I would highly recommend Netbeans. It seems to stay greater than Aptana RadRails and even at the present has MySQL service apart the box just because Sunshine acquired it then. There may be also that fresh Javascript editor.

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