More on Rails…

28 Jan

I’m a bit disappointed with the tutorial I tried on Udemy for learning Rails. The instructor is doing his best and clearly understands Ruby and Rails a great deal, but lacks the talent for organizing and imparting information that I have found with the Java Selenium course mentioned in earlier posts.

However, it gave me an experience and some exposure, and a LOT of questions, many of which I wasn’t even quite sure how to articulate. Rather than give up (not an option) I did some searching for other online tutorials to augment what I was learning on Udemy. What I found surpasses it so thoroughly that the Udemy tutorial is no longer in the running.

This tutorial is free and very up to date, and can be found here:

http://ruby.railstutorial.org/book/ruby-on-rails-tutorial

It’s very popular and highly regarded with good reason. It kicks BIG ass!

It starts briefly with the usual demo using rails ‘scaffolding’, which basically implements a metric ton of ‘crud’ functionality with a single line of code. Very impressive, and a great way to see, at a gulp, what a basic Rails app looks like and where things are. With the next chapter, however, the training wheels are taken off and the learning really begins. This is where the Udemy class really began to lose me (and probably a lot of other folks). The Udemy course stuck with the scaffolding approach and pretty much assumed you understood it all from that point on. Understanding came, of course, in dribs and drabs with lot’s of outside references and web searches, and that can be a powerful way to learn, but also poorly focused and quite frustrating at times.

The railstutorial.org material is very well structured and thought out, giving you the experience, in short order, of creating a base app, setting up git to store versions in a repository, and setting up a Heroku account and uploading the app there to actually see it there. To it’s credit, the Udemy course started out the same way and was very satisfying.

The rails tutorial.org approach goes into much more detail at every step, however, and being HTML itself I found it very easy to refer to earlier sections to clarify my understanding of something and then jump back to where I was, making for a much smoother flow in terms of learning and doing.

There’s just no comparison. If you want to get a look at Rails just to see what it’s all about, go through chapters 1 and 2 of the rails tutorial. If you want to go deep, just keep on going! There are exercises (which you should do) as well as optional challenges (such as configuring PostgreSQL for testing and development instead of the easier default of SQLite) that are well worth exploring.

It also gets into TDD and BDD early in, in a practical way (using just Rspec at first) and then keeps re-visiting it as the course goes on, which really helps to drive home how it feels to really *do* test and/or behavior driven development. Much better than a discrete tutorial that tells you ‘here’s how it’s done’ and then never mentions it again.

It feels great to be learning so much about so many different things (they’re all ‘interwingled’ as an old tome on computer science used to say), even if I probably won’t be mastering any of them overly soon.

All we can do is…keep going!

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3 Responses to “More on Rails…”

  1. christi parks January 30, 2013 at 4:32 am #

    Hello, sir i would like to ask that what is the scope of java training, what all topics should be covered and it is kinda bothering me … and has anyone studies from this course http://www.wiziq.com/course/1779-core-and-advance-java-concepts of core and advance java online ?? or tell me any other guidance…
    would really appreciate help… and Also i would like to thank for all the information you are providing on java concepts.

  2. wordpresskwood January 30, 2013 at 10:50 am #

    Hello Christi and thanks so much for your kind comments! I’m still just getting my feet wet with Java programming myself, but can say with confidence that you should use whatever materials you already have at hand and try to do a little programming each and every day. I’m not familiar with the course you listed, but it looks good and seems very reasonably priced for a live online class. You also might want to check out this class and others at Udemy: http://www.udemy.com/programming-java/?dtcode=mjs887ii. I have never taken this particular course, but you can see exactly what the instructor is going to cover and it’s quite thorough. It’s also very reasonably priced and has a money-back guarantee which, while I have never used it, I’m quite confident Udemy would honor if you so chose. Classes at Udemy are not ‘live’ but the instructors are generally very good about answering questions and such as they arrive. Stick with it and good luck, and thanks again for the kind words!

  3. wordpresskwood January 30, 2013 at 11:00 am #

    Another thing, one book I found very helpful in the very beginning was “Beginning Programming with Java For Dummies” which you can find in any major bookstore or online at Amazon. It won’t make you a programmer all by itself, but sets the groundwork and gets you started in a very clear and easy to follow manner. It’s also not very long, so you should be able to gain the satisfaction of completing the book, after which you will be much better prepared to get up to speed quickly with any of the online courses.

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