How to learn ruby on rails – The Ruby Dojo

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Hey everybody and welcome to the Ruby dojo.

If you are into web development and would like to work more with it, you might’ve already heard about Ruby on Rails, and you probably already know that you want to learn to do it.

That’s exactly why I have this step-by-step guide ready for you, to give you everything you need to know about learning this web application framework.

Here’s what I have in stock for you:

  • Why learning Ruby is a good idea
  • What could you build after mastering Ruby on Rails
  • A step-by-step guide to learning the Rails framework most efficiently

Let’s get into it!

Why Ruby?

After Ruby came to be in 2005, its functionality greatly affected how web development works.

It came with a lot of innovative features, like seamless database table creations, migrations, and scaffolding of views.

All of this made it so the application development could happen way more rapidly.

Also, by knowing Rails, you will know a lot about many other languages, as these crucial features were later integrated into them, so things like Django in Python, CakePHP in PHP, etc.

Some of the most known sites that are made with Ruby programming language are GitHub, Shopify, Airbnb, and several more.

Ruby is also very efficient with its software development.

Programmers and experienced developers like it for that exact reason.

Ruby was literally built for programmer happiness, and happy programmers are productive programmers.

When people need to quickly and easily express their ideas in code, Ruby is the obvious choice.

It’s not the fastest runtime, but it’s the fastest development time.

Ruby is made with two main things in mind.

First is that the fundamentals of Ruby are to emphasize Convention over Configuration and also the Don’t Repeat Yourself principle, and both of these make the experience hands-on one of the most pleasing programming experiences.

The first principle is loved because, in Ruby, you need to specify only the things regarding Rails applications that are unconventional. Everything that is regular just runs smoothly, leaving you with much less coding necessary.

And when it comes to the Don’t Repeat Yourself principle, it tells you that every bit of information you need is actually placed in a single place.

So, you won’t need to specify things like database column names, as that’s something that can be retrieved by itself by Ruby on Rails.

Everything that can be placed within the problem you’re working with will be placed there, so it means that the controller will be left with minimal obligations.

So, overall, Ruby is mainly a very practical language to know, and it is very practical and efficient to work with, which is something that you’ll most definitely want when working with web apps.

Now, let’s see what possibilities lay in front of you after you become a Ruby on Rails developer.

What Will I Be Able to Build?

The list of all the things that can be made with the Ruby on Rails source code is actually very long, which is great news for you, as that means that you will have many, many job opportunities.

So, here’s what you’ll be able to build after going through a successful Ruby on Rails training:

  • Systems for library management
  • Online marketplaces and stores for several vendors
  • Systems for content management
  • Programs for automated analysis of student performance
  • Several kinds of online examination systems
  • Applications for online chatting
  • Both mobile and desktop games
  • Java apps
  • Applications that are embedded
  • Any kind of mobile or desktop applications
  • Command-line tools
  • Web apps, APIs
  • Systems for attendance management

As you can see, the possibilities are endless, and most importantly, learning to code Ruby on Rails means that you will be able to make all of the things above very easily and efficiently.

That’s one of the main reasons why Ruby is as popular as it is.

To be precise, over 850.000 businesses on the Internet are made on Ruby, so that tells you just how many things you could do with this language.

After learning Rails, you will be able to work in various different startups that work with implementing Ruby on their websites.

Just to get a bit more of a concrete idea regarding what kinds of projects you could work on, let’s see what specific businesses were done on Ruby:

  • Twitch
  • Fiverr
  • Airbnb
  • Hulu-Media
  • Slideshare
  • Yellow Pages
  • Bloomberg
  • Basecamp

As you can see, a lot of things that make our everyday online experience what it is were made with Ruby on Rails, and you can also see that these websites are things that serve a variety of different purposes, and all of those are something that you can work towards.

Whether you want to work with things related to finances, new-age applications, SaaS, e-commerce, or something else, you’ll be able to do it after you finish a good Ruby on Rails course.

More than just an MVP (minimal viable product), build web apps in an agile environment, in spec with the process and flow of current Ruby on Rails developers.

Your code will be well-tested and production-ready. You’ll have the confidence to join the ranks of software apprentices and craftsmen.

So, I’m sure that at this point, you see that with learning Ruby Rails, you will have a lot of things to do and build.

Also, you have great reasons why learning Ruby on Rails from scratch will probably be a worthy experience.

You’re probably wondering where I can learn Ruby on Rails, which is exactly what I’ll get into right now.

Down below, you’ll find a Ruby guide that will take you through simple steps for the best way to learn Ruby on Rails.

Let’s go!

How To Learn Ruby On Rails – Step-By-Step

There are many ways to learn to program, especially nowadays when self-taught people and their skills are valued more than ever.

While learning any kind of programming in the context of formal education comes with a lot of benefits, to learn Rails, and any other programming language for that matter, you don’t need it at all.

It is a benefit, but a small one at best.

When it comes to how to learn Ruby programming, you can absolutely learn Ruby on Rails free of any charge or with a minimal amount of it.

Whether you’re one of the beginners in web development, or you already know some of the basics, and this is how you want to increase your knowledge and skills, you will be able to do so by following the steps of this simple guide.

The best thing to do is to go from one step to the next in the order that they are in, but if you happen to know something already, you can absolutely skip some of the steps if you come to the conclusion that it would be an overflow.

As with programming in general, we want everything to be as efficient as possible, which goes for your learning process.

Make sure that you work at your own pace and that you enjoy the process, as that will be the best way to learn, and your motivation will always be at a considerable high.

Remember, when it comes to web development and programming, even after you’re finished with learning and you pass even the intermediate levels of knowledge, you will need to always stay up-to-date in order to be successful at what you’re doing.

In a way, you will never stop learning, so just have that in mind before starting your journey with Ruby on Rails.

Learn CSS, HTML And JavaScript

The main knowledge you need to have before getting into Ruby on Rails is CSS, HTML, and JavaScript.

These ones are the basics of front-end development, and it’s best that you have a good knowledge of them before starting with a full-stack framework, which is what Ruby essentially is.

Ruby on Rails covers both front-end and back-end development, so it might not be the clearest to you if you start directly with that.

CSS, HTML, and JavaScript always come hand in hand, and that’s the best way to learn them.

Firstly, you start with HTML, as that’s what you use to implement the contents of your website, using tags to add paragraphs, tables, images, etc.

After that, you use CSS to precisely say where each element will be presented once your page is opened.

Finally, with JavaScript, you make your website come to life, making it more than just a static page, but rather a page that can be interacted with. After going through that, your page will be able to respond to clicks, as well as create and use different passwords and authentication, and also change values.

So, after you master that, you will be able to work with front-end development, so learning Ruby will be an additional upgrade to that.

The natural question after this will be how you should learn these things.

Well, with the Internet at your disposal, you will have a lot of options to choose from.

However, the overall best way to learn anything nowadays on the Internet is to make the most out of tutorials and open-source courses, as well as paid ones, since the costs outweigh the benefits greatly.

There are two main courses geared towards HTML and CSS that seem to come up over and over again and that people find very helpful.

These are the following:

  • The course on Udacity that’s an Intro to HTML and CSS, and that comes organized in a very original manner, so it’s guaranteed that it will be interesting for you. It isn’t overly focused on the syntax itself but rather on getting you into the mindset and design pattern thinking that you need to get yourself into in order to be a good developer of any kind. This course will thoroughly lead you through easy steps of making a web page, starting from design mockups that you will then convert into legitimate pages. Something that this course has that almost no other HTML and CSS course has is a separate lesson dedicated to responsive design techniques, which is very important but rarely seen.
  • Another great option is a course made by Codecademy, and it is called Make a Website. And, just as the name suggests, you will be able to build your own website while you learn the basics of HTML and CSS. This is very useful and great for learning web development, as you work with practical things from the start, meaning that you will develop practical skills early on, which is an amazing advantage to have. This is a free course and all you need if you want to do the basics, but if you want to learn something more, you can opt for the paid option.

Learn Ruby Before Rails

Sometimes people get confused about what is Ruby and what is Ruby on Rails, and they tend to think that these terms are interchangeable.

However, there is a difference, and it is an important distinction to make.

Ruby by itself is simply a programming language. Ruby on Rails is a web application framework.

This means that Rails is actually a type of collection where a lot of pre-written code is stored, and when you decide to make websites through this framework, it will be way simpler since the pre-written code shortens that process.

Rails is actually an extension of the Ruby language, and it will solve any kind of basic problem by itself, so you won’t have to intervene if some basic problems arise. You can just let it be and focus on more important and complex stuff.

While it is technically possible to work on Rails directly, it is a way better option to learn Ruby first.

When it comes to learning Ruby, you have a lot of options in front of you.

The best option to go for is the online courses and video tutorials, but if that’s not your cup of tea, then you can easily find some books and mentorship or Bootcamp programs, too.

The most important thing with Ruby, just like learning any other programming language, is to make sure that you practice it on practical projects, as only book knowledge and theory won’t get you that far.

So, still focused on learning just the Ruby language, here are some of the best resources that you should check out:

  • Code School – this is an online platform that isn’t centered only around Ruby but is actually a place where you can learn anything else code-related that interests you, including the before mentioned JavaScript, CSS, HTML, Python, and .Net. The lessons they make are very easy to follow and overall organized in a great way, as you will follow a storyline, listen to the lesson in front of you, and then practice what you just learned in the browser.
  • Learn to Program (The Facets of Ruby Series) by Chris Pine – If you are a bit more old-school and video tutorials aren’t the material you vibe with, this book is a great resource. It’s made for beginners, so you know that you will have no problem following it and learning what you came to learn. Again, it has a lot of tasks for you as practicing is genuinely the best way to learn any programming language.

Now that you’re all set with the basics of Ruby, it’s time to step up and get some knowledge on Ruby on Rails, specifically.

Find The Best Online Course For Ruby On Rails

As Ruby on Rails is a very popular framework that a lot of developers like to work with, it’s no surprise that there are a lot of online courses on it.

Here are the best ones that you should consider:

  • Code School’s Rails for Zombies Redux – this is an amazing course where you will learn things like CRUD principles, as well as all of the important parts of MVC architecture. To learn from this course, you already need to have some knowledge of web development and to know Ruby as a language, which is exactly why the previous step was learning Ruby on its own.
  • Codecademy also has a course on Ruby on Rails, so if you liked using it for learning Ruby at first, you can definitely stay and continue your journey there. There are a lot of different things that you can learn through this course. After going through it, you will know to build the Flipboard type of pages and how to manage your code with Git and many other things. You will certainly learn the theory, but more importantly, your lessons will also include practice in an in-browser simulator, so you will get all the practical experience you need.

Consider A Mentorship

If you enjoy learning from someone and you prefer it to having to do everything by yourself, then having a mentor could be a great option for you. It is a great option for learning Rails in general.

Some of the benefits of having a mentor include the fact that it will speed up the process as you will have someone to explain difficult things close to you, which is way better than having to find everything on your own.

A mentor is someone who knows everything you want to know and who has been through the process that you’re now going through, so they will know exactly what you should do and what are the tried and true solutions for the problems that you might run into.

This also comes with the benefit of having someone who will always be a source of motivation and support whenever there’s a problem that you can’t seem to solve whatever you do, and that type of support is as important as someone being there to give you specific step-by-step instructions.

There are a lot of experts on the Internet that are open to being mentors, so it won’t be hard to find someone whose energy matches yours and who has the knowledge and the style that you can work nicely with.

Practice Ruby On Rails

When you start learning, or when you’re somewhere in the middle, you will mostly have tasks that only focus on learning the syntax and following cases that are pre-made.

However, to truly be an expert in the field, you will need to practice as much as you possibly can.

Before landing a real job that will pay for your services, you can always search for ideas to do online, or you can try and find some charity organizations that could use volunteers for tech things like this.

By doing things like that, you will get the practice that you most certainly need, but you will also be able to create a portfolio for yourself, which will then help you further your career and possibly land you a great-paid job.

Join Relevant Communities

Just as with developers and learners in general, there are many online communities centered around exactly that.

There are many benefits of being a part of a community like that. For example, you will have support very close to you, whether you need help with practical things or you just need to vent to someone who understands why your code might not be working.

You can also share your insights, and they will share them with you, meaning that each one of you will have the ability to learn something new that they might’ve never found out otherwise.

You can search around and find your people on websites like StackOverflow, where you can ask all kinds of questions and always be met with enthusiastic people who are always ready to help.

You can also check out Quora if you need to get some insights on various issues, as well as ask simple questions about all kinds of technical things.

Another one worth checking out is Slack, which is a messenger that’s used by different teams, and you can join one of these teams that are dedicated to Ruby on Rails.

GitHub is also a great platform to check out because there, you can join various existing projects that are currently going on, and that way, you will both meet new people and get some real practice.

Finally, you can always find your community by just searching a bit on Reddit and then joining a relevant Discord server where you could talk about anything and everything related to Ruby on Rails and more.

FAQ

How long does it take to learn Ruby on Rails?

Depending on whether you already know Ruby, the answer to this question can vary.

If you already know Ruby, then learning Rails can take only two weeks, but it can take a few months to master everything if you need to start from scratch.

Is it easy to learn Ruby on Rails?

Ruby on Rails is generally straightforward to learn, especially if you already know Ruby and have some previous knowledge about web development.

If you take the right courses and work at your own pace, it can be very simple to master it.

How do I learn Ruby on Rails?

There are many different options that you have when it comes to learning Ruby on Rails, from reading books and learning from them to watching video tutorials and joining relevant and well-thought-out online courses.

The best option is to combine these steps and take them at your own pace.

What is the best way to learn Ruby?

The best way to learn Ruby is to find an online course that suits you, your preferences, needs, and the pace that you work at.

You can also find books that could be useful if you like the old-fashioned way of learning better, but online courses are the way to go.

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