Learning Ruby on Rails, CSS & jQuery
This is what my development environment is:
For learning Rails I tried MANY things:
- Rails Tutorial (this was a nice first primer, but given that I was learning Rails from scratch the issue I had with this tutorial is that it forces you to learn Test Driven Development – which for me was too much to learn everything at once. So I skipped over all the Test related stuff, and picked up what I could from everything else).
- Rails for Zombies – this is pretty awesome, because it doesn’t involve Tests and takes you into the core of Rails 3 from day 1. I highly recommend this for anyone just starting Rails development.
- I tried a few ebooks – and they are nice for rounding out your knowledge (once you have a solid understanding of the Rails way) and giving you an alternative perspective, but they never quite got me to fully understanding the way things worked.
- Asking Questions – mainly on Stack Overflow and #RubyOnRails on IRC.Freenode.net, port 6667. Every now and then, I will ask a question and get a WONDERFUL answer. Not only did his response clear up some stuff in my mind, but I have since used his advice about looking at other live examples.
- Bookmark and constantly refer to multiple git repositories. Specifically the Facebook competitor Diaspora, Sassy, and Shapado.
- Railscasts are awesome, once you have the basics under your belt. They really help you do specific stuff in Rails.
- Just diving in. CompVersions was my first Rails app, and it has been a steep learning curve. Very steep. But I feel MUCH more fulfilled having done everything the hard way. That approach might not work for everyone else, but that’s what has worked for me.
- I must confess that I never focused on learning Ruby, but now that I have a certain foundation in Rails and a bit of Ruby under my belt, I do plan on learning more Ruby.
- Ironically, writing about my learnings also helps. There is something about explaining that forces you to understand what you are talking about.
I also had to learn (and am still learning) jQuery which I pretty much took the same approach.
- jQuery Fundamentals is an awesome first place to start to get your feet wet
- As is jQuery Novice to Ninja from Sitepoint.
- Ask LOTS of questions on both #jQuery on Freenode & Stack Overflow.
- Use JSFiddle to demonstrate your proofs of concept for both CSS & jQuery.
- Watch as many JS lectures as you can.
- This blog post by Rey Bango, has a plethora of useful resources on JS.
Here are some additional CSS resources I used in my journey: + HTML5 & CSS3 lecture by Paul Irish (member of the jQuery core team) + A WONDERFUL CSS3 Practical Introduction. It really is difficult to speak too highly of this presentation, except to say that you have to see it for yourself. + A very straight forward tutorial on CSS selectors and the way it works. + It’s also very important for you to understand the Document Object Model (DOM) tree + Here is a nice collection of CSS3 buttons, made in the likeness of Github buttons. + Net Tuts has a nice rundown of 30 CSS selectors that are useful.
I apologize if this is too much of a link dump, but people constantly ask me what resources I used to learn everything and I have not been able to point them to one comprehensive place for me. But now I can :)