Sam Soffes

How To Learn Rails

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A lot of people ask me how to learn Ruby on Rails. I usually forward this email I wrote awhile back to a friend. I figured it would probably be better to post it on my blog so more people can benefit from it.

Here's the email:

Hey man,

Rails is awesome. If you're not familiar with Ruby, I'd recommend getting acquainted with it first. I spend 2 hours reading a PDF online and then jumped in. The more you understand Ruby, the less magical Rails seems. The Ruby Programming Language is a great book. Matz (the creator of Ruby) is one of the authors. A lot of it is like "this is they way it is because when I designed it I though this". I liked it a lot.

The Poignant Guide is another really popular way to learn Ruby. There's a bit of history to it, but nevermind that for now.

Once you feel semi comfortable with Ruby (i.e. you can make a class that has methods, inheritance, control structures, etc), watch this 15 minute video. It will blow your mind. My next step was going back through it and trying to build it myself. This was really hard at first cause I had no idea what I was doing and didn't understand the syntax yet. Don't worry.

Try to write something simple in Rails. Maybe a blog or to do manager, etc. I learn by doing. This was the best for me. I've rewritten my blog at least 20 times. (By the way, it's open source on GitHub.)

The best resource I've found is They are really well done. Pretty much anything you could want to do, he has already covered. After I got several under my belt, I sorta "got it" and started really understanding what I was writing. #carlhuda on freenode (IRC channel) was also super helpful. @wycats (he's on the core team of Rails and jQuery) is in there and he's really great about helping new comers and teaching you stuff.

Ruby5 is also really great. It's a biweekly 5 minute podcast about news in the Ruby and Rails community. I've found lots of great stuff there.

Let me know if you need any help or have questions. I'd be happy to help.


More Stuff

I have several open source projects on my GitHub profile. My blog and are two fairly straight forward Rails 3 projects.

I highly recommend learning Git. The Git documentation page will help a lot if you're trying to learn.