I have written quite a lot of applications in the last few years in different languages. And I constantly try and learn new languages in my free time. So from my experience I can say, if there is one thing which is hard in learning a new programming languages, it is finding out the right material for you. This has become interestingly difficult because of the sheer number of materials out there. It seems like everyone is trying to make tutorials for various languages. In one way it may seem very good to have the options. But if you see very closely, this confuses people considering the majority of these tutorials are half-arsed attempts. So here I am trying to list out the rails learning resources which helped me to start with it. And I must say, even though I put real hard work in selecting these materials, you should do your research as well. Who knows, you might find better resources than I ever did.
First comes Ruby
If you’re completely oblivious to Ruby the language on which Rails is based on, its a very good idea to start by learning Ruby itself. Ruby is not a hard language to learn. Its one of those easy to learn but hard to master kind of languages. So learning Ruby shouldn’t be considered a waste of time. In fact you will find it very difficult to get hold of many of the tricks and concepts in rails if you don’t know Ruby.
If you just want to learn Ruby for the sake of learning Rails, the best choices are:
- CodeAcademy – Ruby: Free, yet really engaging and enough to start your programming career. I used this to learn Ruby when I started working on it. It realy is a great place to start, but sadly, thats just it.
- Team Tree House – Ruby: Not free and offers a lot more than the previous choice, they have elaborate tutorials and videos explaaining things which CodeAcademy lacks.
Then comes Rails
For learning Ruby on Rails I solely depended on an ebook. I am pretty sure you will find this one more than enough to start working with Rails and developing your own first web app.
Here is the link to ebook: Learn Web Development With Rails By Michael Hartl
This ebook is a very well respected ebook among the Ruby on Rails developer community and I recommend you to go through all those chapters atleast once and make notes as you go by. This will get you a good head start on developing web apps with Rails.
Once you finish the ebook, you may want to try out the codeacademy’s rails tutorial without the help they give you. Just read the exercises part and try to solve it without looking at their explanations.
Link ofr codeacademy: Learn Rails with Codeacademy
I hope this helps. For all your doubts you can either go to stackoverflow.com or rails unofficial IRC channel: #rubyonrails on irc.freenode.net