If I am a tight-arse that refuses to pay lots of money for development training, then it is my own fault if I can’t find a great resource that will teach me….right? Still, I am teaching myself with a patchwork of free and affordable resources online.
Let me go through and talk about a few of the ‘beginners’ resources for Ruby on Rails that I have been trying to learn from.
Net Tuts Recommendation
I have discovered a lot of people new to Rails are actually already programmers, and so the resources they provide/use to learn Rails go way over my head. Case in point, Net Tuts recommended video which I mentioned in my last post. The presenter, Jeffrey, is obviously very experienced at Ruby and Ruby on Rails, but unfortunately for me, he also seemed to have a lot of other programming experience, so that within the first 4 minutes of the 40 minute video – I was lost. It also didn’t help that I was frantically pausing and unpausing, due to the speed at which he spoke.
This video made me feel like a bit of a moron. I’m not even sure I will go back to it when I know more, because the frenetic pace was kind of stressful, and it was made in 2011, so I think there are more recent things I could watch.
Lynda Intro to Ruby On Rails
I mentioned this Lynda course in my last post – and I have indeed had time to go and watch the introductory videos. I was encouraged by the pace and the fact that in only the first few free videos they had explained a Ruby on Rails concept to me that all the other resources had not yet had a chance to do. In fact, this would have really helped me when stumbling through my Treehouse project. When building my Treehouse app I was using controllers, views and models in my Ruby on Rails framework – but I had no real idea of what they were and how they were related. Thank you for this explanation Lynda:
On the plus sides: The pace, it is for beginners (with some coding knowledge), it is 12 hours long so it is quite thorough, it is free for 7 days!
On the minus side: I have concerns about the fact that it was uploaded in October 2010. How will I know if things have changed?
Online Tutorials from Richard Schneeman
On StackOverflow I stumbled across a link to these Rails videos from University of Texas lecturer Richard Schneeman. It is a series of tutorials offered as a free introduction to Ruby on Rails. The guy who wrote them is a Ruby developer who started out as a mechanical engineer (career change, always makes me love a person).
Each week has a set of videos, plus a tutorial with working files you can download from GitHub.
I like his friendly approach, slow pace, and easy slides. A big difference between this and other resources I am trying is that he starts out first with an introduction to databases. This is a different approach and probably brings forward to me some concepts which I need to know and which haven’t been explained in the other resources I have used. This shows why it is good to use lots of different resources (even though I am dreaming of the one perfect resource).
It is also relatively up to date compared to those above two resources – these videos were uploaded in July 2012. Since this is free, I would recommend this as one of a number of resources you could use to start to understand Rails (keep in mind, I’ve only watched the first 2 videos, so I should update this after I watch all 10).
Rails for Zombies
Rails for Zombies is built by code school, and it is a combination of video and code challenges.
This one starts in yet another place – Ruby plus databases. It is assuming a bit of both Ruby and Database knowledge, so it is a bit hard for me, but the code challenges are easy to pass even if you are only rote-repeating. Which is bad I know.
It isn’t my favourite, and I feel quite lost already – but I am going to push through and try and complete it.
This isn’t a Ruby on Rails resource, but it can teach you Ruby – which of course you will need! It is a series of free tutorials that teach you and require you to complete code challenges. I have completed all the Ruby tutorials and found them very useful. I am concerned that I found them easy though – does that mean I didn’t learn much?
The easiness makes me think, also, that perhaps it doesn’t go very far into Ruby. Still they are always adding modules so there might be more at some point.
The big plus is that it is free. I would also like to note that I have done all the Codecademy current courses now except for some Python, and I found the Ruby lessons to be some of the best.
I know I already gave my opinion on Treehouse’s Ruby on Rails, but I just want to reiterate that while the video tutorials show you exactly how to make a small application – and while building an application is probably the best way to learn – there isn’t enough ‘theory’ here to enable me to expand on that knowledge or explore the Ruby on Rails framework. In combination with many other resources though, I’m sure Treehouse adds value.
I might say though, that if you wanted a free resource (Treehouse is paid subscription), you might try this project on Rails Girls, which helps you create your first app very quickly – much quicker than Treehouse. And while it doesn’t give any theory – well, neither does Treehouse, and this is free!
Real World Classes
Last post I talked about the $10k 10 week intensive course I had found in Sydney that teaches Ruby on Rails end to end in 10 weeks – this is by Sydney Dev Camp. I would love to do this course, because it really sounds excellent (though I have not met anyone that has done it), but the price is prohibitive. Even keeping in mind the $500 discount I would get for being a minority (woman), I can’t currently justify that kind of spend, and I actually would be interested to see the demographics of their student body to see who can.
There is also the General Assembly school of coding, which has opened a Sydney campus. I was turned off these people earlier in the year when I didn’t win their competition to go to Silicon Valley (yes, as soon as I enter a competition I assume I have won, and feel robbed when you give the prize to someone else. Must stop entering competitions). This school also does a 10 week development course – and has lots of other resources – but I am being scabby and not wanting to pay a lot of money at the moment. (Update: I enrolled, and love it).
It’s All TOO MUCH
I also am considering going to this Rails Girls event in Brisbane - it is a free event, which is excellent, but I am not sure about coughing up for the air fares, or waiting for a Sydney event, or helping to create a Sydney event.
I came across another resource today, which is distracting me from Lynda and Schneems… It is this website and git repository for Rails tutorials. I am so grateful there are so many resources online, but it can feel a bit overwhelming!
No, I don’t know any developers, and don’t have anyone to help guide me. This makes me sad. So if you are a Ruby coder in Sydney that wants a sidekick, or wants to do some kind of trade…hit me up on Twitter.