Confusion on stable development environments

Sorry if I am being a true noob, but I am very confused about what
environment I should be using to learn RoR. I would like to eventually
build something to deploy on google appengine. But am really just
wanting at this point to learn Rails. But it seems that as I fumble
about and try various tutorials that are available, I seem to be running
to situations where I get some random error, when I google that error,
the solutions is a mixed bag of either use a newer version of ruby or
rails or some gem, and older version. Other then the (very nice)
tutorials on http://guides.rubyonrails.org/, I have had very little luck
with the available examples on the web. So my perception is that you
really have to know where you will be deploying your application, and
then figure out the sweet spot for versions and environments.

So my question is simply, if I want to learn RoR and perhaps eventually
deploy something out to some hosting service then:
1) What OS to work in (Windows or Linux)?
2) Ruby or JRuby?
3) Version of Rails?
4) Do I have to worry about where I will be hosting and that services
capability BEFORE I start development?

Sorry if I am being a true noob, but I am very confused about what
environment I should be using to learn RoR. I would like to eventually
build something to deploy on google appengine. But am really just
wanting at this point to learn Rails. But it seems that as I fumble

It can be a little confusing just getting into it as there is a lot written about Rails on the web and it's not all current. My advice is that unless the article mentions 3.x, keep looking.

about and try various tutorials that are available, I seem to be running
to situations where I get some random error, when I google that error,
the solutions is a mixed bag of either use a newer version of ruby or
rails or some gem, and older version.

Some of this is accurate... if you're using old versions of rails/ruby/rubygems you can run into some weird errors. If you're running the latest you shouldn't encounter this nearly as much.

Other then the (very nice)
tutorials on http://guides.rubyonrails.org/, I have had very little luck
with the available examples on the web. So my perception is that you

I would give this a try:

http://ruby.railstutorial.org/ruby-on-rails-tutorial-book?version=3.2#top

And http://railscasts.com/ is excellent for learning about other things in the Rails world.

So my question is simply, if I want to learn RoR and perhaps eventually
deploy something out to some hosting service then:
1) What OS to work in (Windows or Linux)?

I've never done it on Windows, but what I'm told is that it's easier on Linux, but that people have made great strides on the Windows site as well so maybe it's a wash. I personally use Mac and it's just fine. I believe the issues you'll run into with Windows is the occasional gem needing a C library that simply isn't available on Windows. However, for learning... I doubt you'll hit that.

2) Ruby or JRuby?

Ruby.

3) Version of Rails?

3.2.2

4) Do I have to worry about where I will be hosting and that services
capability BEFORE I start development?

No, but doesn't hurt to have some idea. Not all hosts support Rails and they don't all support it equally well. Give Heroku a look (they have a free developer plan). People *love* Heroku. Or, if you want to also play around with sysadmin'ing, give linode.com a look.

Good luck!

-philip

philip -- thanks for the suggestions. I purchased the most recent
version of Agile Web Development with Rails. (I had been trying to make
sense of things with an old version of the book) That version is written
to 3.2.2 and seems to be a very complete treatment of the subject. I
also walked through the video tutorial from railsinstaller, which sets
up git, as well as deployment to engineyard. EY looks very nice, but a
bit pricey for hosting of casual development. I will look into Heroku -
especially if they have a free developer plan.

-- Mark

I think most developers use Mac or Linux (I use Ubuntu). As there are
not so many using Windows it can be more difficult to get help here.

Colin