How I finally learned Ruby on Rails

Written by Michael Lee on August 22, 2016

The most suggested resource for learning Ruby on Rails is Michael Hartl’s Rails Tutorial site. Personally I’ve attempted to go through Rails Tutorial several times and always gave up. The reason being, there is just way too much materials covered that it was making Rails not fun to learn.

With the recent release of Rails 5.0 and an entirely API only mode, I decided to give Rails another shot. And this time I’ve actually learned some Rails and quite enjoy it.

Initially when I decided to give Rails another go, I searched high and low to find the latest tutorials on Google for Rails 5.0 development. Unfortunately the tutorials that turned up were made during the pre-5.0 release, so I felt it wasn’t relevant.

Fed up, I decided to look over the official Rails documents and see if they would provide anything better. I facepalmed. The Rails documentation was really, really good. The short tutorial didn’t focus on testing, versioning or deployment. It simply focused on learning how to navigate MVC and getting comfortable with Rails.

I consumed the entire tutorial in about an hour and had something up and running.

Instead of following the tutorial step-by-step, I already had a small application in mind that I wanted to build. So using the documentation as a guide I was able to get my application built. Since then I’ve been hacking away on my little project an hour or so each day and have grown comfortable with developing in Rails.

It was only after that I reached this level of comfort, that I felt I needed to seek out other resources to expand my Rails knowledge. Naturally, I turned to Michael Hartl’s Rails Tutorial which is now a lot easier to digest. Since I use it more as a reference then a step-by-step tutorial.

So if you’re like me and have attempted to learned Rails in the past but resulted in being unsuccessful, here is how I finally learned Rails:

  1. Pick a simple project that would require you to have a model. Like a grocery list or a things tracker.
  2. Go to the official Rails documentation site and go through their tutorial.
  3. Go through the official docs a few more times until you’re comfortable using the Rails CLI and navigating the MVC project structure.
  4. Reference Michael Hartl’s Rails Tutorial to fill in knowledge about TDD, deployment and project versioning.

I should’ve known after learning Ember in a similar fashion to go through the official documentation first. Top-notch documentation really is hard to find but when you’ve got it, it will immediately help you get productive with the technology you’re trying to learn.

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