Teach yourself Ruby on Rails

So you want to learn Rails? Well you’re in luck. There are a ton of resources online to help you do just that.

At App Academy we stared by reading the monolithic tome of OMGRAILSLEARNEVERYTHING, otherwise known as Michael Hartl’s Ruby on Rails Tutorial. Hartl’s tutorial is free, completely exhaustive and will definitely have you up and running with a beautiful Rails app. If you’re new to programming, Hartl will take you on a deep dive of Test Driven Development, Rails and putting your application on the web. It’s awesome, but it’s also extremely in depth and probably more than an absolute beginner can grok.

Here’s my advice: start with a  simple app that you can build in an hour. That both gives you the satisfaction of actually doing something and seeing it work AND help you understand the Rails MVC framework.

Try that a couple times and then spend a week or two with Hartl.

Here’s how to get up and running with Rails, from n00b to novice (that’s right, novice. Becoming anything more than that is going to take months of experience).

I’ve structured my advice around increasing order of time and difficulty. You can knock out the first three tutorials in a day. The last two will be more of a time (and brain) commitment:

1. Get down the basics of Ruby. Code School has an awesome and interactive free Ruby tutorial. Go ahead and play with it to learn the basics.

2. Build a URL shortener with Rails. This was a great tutorial and very easy to follow. It goes through the very basics of Rails and will have you up and running with your own URL shortener in about an hour. Warning: It does have a couple typos, so please check out my code on GitHub to see a working version.

3. JumpStartLab has some solid tutorials for learning more about Ruby and/or Rails. I highly recommend checking out the One Day Rails project. You’ll be building a blogger clone.

4. [OPTIONAL] Now that you’ve built that simple URL shortener, head back to Code School and complete their free course called Rails for Zombies. This is still a high level overview of Rails, but it is interactive, so it will test out your skill and help you get a clearer idea of how Rails works. This should take a couple hours to complete.

5. Move onto Rails Guide next. This tutorial may take you the weekend to get through. It’s more in depth and you’ll build a blog. If you’ve already done the JumpStartLabs tutorial, this will extend the features you created in that project.

6. If you’re still in the mood for more, check out Hartl. His guide is exhaustive. You’ll get a lot of information on test driven development (not covered in any of the other tutorials mentioned) and you’ll have built up enough basic knowledge to appreciate the level of detail he provides. Best of all, thousands of people have gone through the Hartl tutorial, so if you get lost or something starts mysteriously breaking, you’ll likely encounter an answer to your exact problem through a Google search.

7. Now go build something of your own! Good luck and happy Railsing!

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