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Want to Learn Rails?

12 Dec 2012

Well I have been hearing a lot from people in facebook, google groups and online forum wanting to learn Rails. There question is simple “I want to learn Rails”, “How do I learn Ruby on Rails?”, “How do i become a Ruby on Rails programmer?”. Well the funny feeling I get while reading these questions is that, its the exact questions I posted in Google Groups, forums, etc when I wanted to start learning Rails and Ruby couple of years ago. So I though of giving back to the community and to my company blog, by posting on how to learn rails, and answer a few questions every newbie always have.

Q) How to learn Ruby on Rails?

Well to get started I would suggest this Rails Tutorial. Excellent tutorial, with details explanation. Build for people with little or no knowledge in Ruby. Further more it also teaches and introduces a newbie to Git and TDD.

If you don’t like reading from the web, and prefer books then I suggest Agile Web Development With Rails by Sam Ruby, Dave Thomas, David Heinemeier Hansson. The advantage of using rails is the ability to become more agile and roll out features faster. To be honest, I am not much of a fan of books ( technical), so if you are going to spend money then I suggest buying this book.

Now the one that really helped me learn Ruby and Rails was the community. Find a local Ruby user group, participate in its discussions, take part in its monthly meetups. These will help you find personal mentors and a lot of cool people like you who knows Ruby is worth learning.. :D

Those from Kerala India, can join the Kerala Ruby User Group Mailing List Also read as much materials you can find about ruby and rails, reddit is a good source of interesting news for Ruby.

Q) Is it required to know Ruby before you learn rails?

Well from experience the answer is

NO

You don’t have to know ruby to learn rails, but those have do can learn it much faster, and understand the reasons behind the various jargons used in rails. But from my personal experience, as a person who learned Rails before properly understanding Ruby. If you have a better understanding of the ruby language, then the picture you have about the possibilities with rails would become limitless.. Its like you won’t feel Rails can limit you, in anyway.

Q) How can I learn Ruby?

Well Ruby has been around for a long time, there are plenty of how to guides and basic tutorials in Ruby. So a quick Google will get you a lot of results. Some good websites that I would suggest is

http://rubymonk.com http://tryruby.org http://rubykoans.com/

For those who wish to have a cheat sheet available to help you, can use this website http://overapi.com/ruby/

strong Q) How long will it take to learn Ruby/Rails? Well I do not have a proper answer to that one, I have been working in ruby for some time now. And even does it for a living, but I still believe that I have a lot to learn. Every new project has been challenging and has introduced me to more and more possibilities with Ruby. Thus I guess as they say, the possibilities are limitless as the Human Imagination.

My advice to beginners would be to be, not concerned about how long it would take, and just concentrate on learning. Try out various ideas that you might have, one good exercise that I did was try to implement all the commands in a linux terminal through ruby. Get to know the community, try to contribute to various opensource projects and always keep on coding… =)

Happy coding..

PS: this is just my list, if you know some good online resources. Please do add them as comments, it would help those who are starting out with Ruby and Rails. Also sorry for any typo or grammatical errors.