Came across this site as I found it to be a very positive and constructive community when it came to dealing with those that are starting out in Ruby (or similar).
With the motivation of wanting to learn a language to help me better understand functionality of websites, I am thinking that RoR is the right answer. Correct me if i am wrong.
With no real experience of programming to date (some HTML and CSS), and reading through threads of people asking for advice about where to start, would I be better to go back to basics and work my way through some other languages? What should be some of the questions i ask myself?
Appreciate any constructive feedback.
I don't know what you want to build but, in my opinion, the first and best thing you can do is learn about programming. Because you do not have any prior programming experience you are going to want to get yourself grounded in the fundamentals of programming. You do not need to become an expert. Learning basic programming fundamentals (variables, functions, arrays, etc.) will make learning Ruby and Rails much easier.
There are two books that I feel do this in a very effective way: 1.) Learn to Program by Chris Pine - http://pine.fm/LearnToProgram/ - This book will teach you basic programming that will give you a solid foundation for starting out. Incidentally, the author uses Ruby in the book so this may be an excellent starting point for you. 2.) Learn Code The Hard Way by Zed Shaw - http://learncodethehardway.com - This site and books will teach you programming basics. The original book was written to teach Python but has been copied for Ruby as well. Again, this would be a great place to begin learning programming.
Once you understand some of the basics of programming, I would spend some time learning the syntax of Ruby. (The previously mentioned books will help but there are a lot of others as well.) After you have learned some Ruby syntax you should focus on Rails. Agile Web Development with Rails is probably the best book to learn Rails from. (www.pragprog.com) Unfortunately, Sitepoint's Rails book is very much out of date but it was a great book back in the day.
You could just jump right in and begin with ROR, however, I don't think that is wise. You will get farther if spend some time learning programming first. Thus, my suggested order for learning is programming basics (can be any language), Ruby syntax, and then Rails.
Much appreciated scannon.
I had that fear of jumping in, finding it a little over my head, and ultimately giving up. I was hoping to get some guidance from those that have had experience with programming, and could foresee the pitfalls when starting out.
Thanks for the heads up on the book...will look at starting with that.
I don't think it matters where you start as long as you are enjoying the process and are feeling motivated.
While there will be a steep learning curve I don't think it's a bad place to start, Rails focuses on getting functionality up and running quickly so it's likely you'll find it rewarding and learn a lot quickly.
Thanks for the input mark, it is much appreciated.
I will start with the Learn to Program book, which utilises Ruby in it's teachings so i get the best of both worlds.
What are some practical examples of work someone could start out with to get a better grasp of things? I find i pick things up better when constantly at it.
My plan is to have some sound knowledge of programming, with some inroads into RoR by the end of the year. A little ambitious?
I think that is a very attainable goal and you should have no problem creating stuff with Rails.
As far as projects to get you going, I have two suggestions:
1.) create a blog; you can learn a lot about rails with a project like this. (i would not use rails "scaffolding" to do this...while it is pretty cool for getting something running quickly, IMHO, i don't think it is a good way to start a project)
2.) create something based on an idea you have; could be anything! just take small steps and you will be able to get it off the ground.
Thanks again scannon.
I notice that a lot of the tutorials seem to cover a blog, so will check out what's good on Google.
I have a couple ideas in mind, and it would be a great project to work on as i learn. Just need to get an understanding on putting it all together.
I agree with scannon, a blog or some other project you're passionate about are good examples to learn a web development framework.
Books are great if you're feeling motivated, If you find you're not feeling so motivated try http://guides.rubyonrails.org/getting_started.html
I want to add to this excellent advice you have already received, that [CodeSchool's [URL="http://railsforzombies.org/"]Rails for Zombies](http://www.codeschool.com/) course will lead you through some of the basics of Rails. They utilize a very effective "Learn then try" methodology.
Keep your eye on Learnables for more "beginner" Ruby and Rails courses.
Thanks for taking the time to add some input guys.
Have wanted to give one of those online learning sites a try, but they all seem to promise the world. Might see if there are any samplers to check them out.
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