Giving up on Rails: programmer un-happiness

I've just spend the better part of this 60 hour week (yes, at my job:
risking my otherwise productive neck) just trying to get rails up and
running in a way that is as "fast" and "easy" as all the hype
suggests. So hear me out for a bit on my reasons for why I'm giving
up. Perhaps somebody out there will recognize this as a desperate cry
for help and save me from committing platform suicide.

The reasons:

1) I don't know Ruby
2) A bad experience with ruby 1.8.6 p 230 (STILL!? the most prominent
link on the rails download page)
3) Unstable documentation
    a) old 1.x tutorials that don't work with the recent 2.x downloads
    b) not as much of a community/following in my areas (linux,
postgres, academia)
    c) language barriers to entry (despite the appeal of ruby's and
rails' internationality)
    d) the fact that the current best documentation is a soon-to-
obsolete book (and $54 at that!)
         http://pragprog.com/titles/rails3/agile-web-development-with-rails-third-edition
    e) the api documentation http://api.rubyonrails.org/ is
overwhelming and ugly
    f) contentious, contradicting and out of date wiki-ing
4) Auto renaming: I thought it was cool (and I obliged) until rails
renamed my "people" table to "peoples"
5) Too much abstraction? Call me old fashioned but I'm kind of
missing get and post and html forms
6) Difficult integration with existing technologies.
    b) apache: a million steps (including fastCGI) and it still
doesn't work. (I'd been using WEBRick)
    c) can't use an existing schema or existing database to build
rails classes & forms (am I misunderstanding? I thought this is why
rails was supposed to be so great? Is this not possible?)
    d) foreign keys (and the associated one to many, many to many
relationships) are not created or represented automatically in the
database or web forms when using script/generate scaffold table1
var1:string var2:integer table2_id:integer

This last one is the big one (the rest I'm willing to forgive for such
an otherwise apparently elegant language and environment). If i can't
easily see a compelling demonstration or working code snippet that
proves this very basic relationship functionality is even possible,
I'm not going to invest time mucking around in classes trying to learn
ruby.

Why not use the information present in a variable name like
table2_id? I guess I got the (incorrect?) impression that "if i could
only rename my variables differently rails would understand and create
these relationships for me! Including the corresponding necessary
drop-down/select-box functionality in the views/layouts.

If someone can get me going on this last bit I just might give it
another try. If not, Its back to non-object oriented PHP and web
forms for me.

Thanks for letting me rant,

Dave

I've just spend the better part of this 60 hour week (yes, at my job:
risking my otherwise productive neck) just trying to get rails up and
running in a way that is as "fast" and "easy" as all the hype
suggests. So hear me out for a bit on my reasons for why I'm giving
up. Perhaps somebody out there will recognize this as a desperate cry
for help and save me from committing platform suicide.

The reasons:

1) I don't know Ruby
2) A bad experience with ruby 1.8.6 p 230 (STILL!? the most prominent
link on the rails download page)

That is a bit of a shambles. Rails doesn't control ruby though.

3) Unstable documentation
   a) old 1.x tutorials that don't work with the recent 2.x downloads
   b) not as much of a community/following in my areas (linux,
postgres, academia)
   c) language barriers to entry (despite the appeal of ruby's and
rails' internationality)
   d) the fact that the current best documentation is a soon-to-
obsolete book (and $54 at that!)
        http://pragprog.com/titles/rails3/agile-web-development-with-rails-third-edition
   e) the api documentation http://api.rubyonrails.org/ is
overwhelming and ugly
   f) contentious, contradicting and out of date wiki-ing
4) Auto renaming: I thought it was cool (and I obliged) until rails
renamed my "people" table to "peoples"

rails should never do that, and it should never rename a table for you.

5) Too much abstraction? Call me old fashioned but I'm kind of
missing get and post and html forms
6) Difficult integration with existing technologies.
   b) apache: a million steps (including fastCGI) and it still
doesn't work. (I'd been using WEBRick)

fastcgi = bleurgh
mod_rails is proving increasingly popular, and most other people are
proxying (apache or nginx) to clusters of mongrels.

   c) can't use an existing schema or existing database to build
rails classes & forms (am I misunderstanding? I thought this is why
rails was supposed to be so great? Is this not possible?)

You certainly can do this (although if your schema does not match
rails' assumptions & conventions then you'll need to give rails some
points in the right direction, eg tell it what the table name for a
class it etc...)

   d) foreign keys (and the associated one to many, many to many
relationships) are not created or represented automatically in the
database or web forms when using script/generate scaffold table1
var1:string var2:integer table2_id:integer

This last one is the big one (the rest I'm willing to forgive for such
an otherwise apparently elegant language and environment). If i can't
easily see a compelling demonstration or working code snippet that
proves this very basic relationship functionality is even possible,
I'm not going to invest time mucking around in classes trying to learn
ruby.

Why not use the information present in a variable name like
table2_id? I guess I got the (incorrect?) impression that "if i could
only rename my variables differently rails would understand and create
these relationships for me! Including the corresponding necessary
drop-down/select-box functionality in the views/layouts.

It's not quite free. assuming you have foo_id in your bars table then

class Foo < ActiveRecord::Base
   has_many :bars
end

class Foo < ActiveRecord::Base
   belongs_to :bar
end

I'm not sure where you got the impression that you could skip this.
Fred

Hi --

I've just spend the better part of this 60 hour week (yes, at my job:
risking my otherwise productive neck) just trying to get rails up and
running in a way that is as "fast" and "easy" as all the hype
suggests. So hear me out for a bit on my reasons for why I'm giving
up. Perhaps somebody out there will recognize this as a desperate cry
for help and save me from committing platform suicide.

The reasons:

1) I don't know Ruby

That is a bit of a show-stopper. Of course, I'd encourage you to learn
Ruby, which is a great language.

5) Too much abstraction? Call me old fashioned but I'm kind of
missing get and post and html forms

It can be a bit too magic, for some people's definitions of "too"
(including mine). Usually you can be more verbose or explicit with no
harm done. For example, I like to put empty actions in my controllers,
even though technically I don't have to if the views are present.

   c) can't use an existing schema or existing database to build
rails classes & forms (am I misunderstanding? I thought this is why
rails was supposed to be so great? Is this not possible?)

It's possible, but it's not why Rails was supposed to be so great.
It's always been clear that Rails is at its best (mainly meaning ease
for developers, but also meaning avoidance of some things it doesn't
support, like composite primary keys) when the database is designed
from the beginning to be ActiveRecord-friendly.

   d) foreign keys (and the associated one to many, many to many
relationships) are not created or represented automatically in the
database or web forms when using script/generate scaffold table1
var1:string var2:integer table2_id:integer

You're using the scaffolding? No wonder you're frustrated :slight_smile:

This last one is the big one (the rest I'm willing to forgive for such
an otherwise apparently elegant language and environment). If i can't
easily see a compelling demonstration or working code snippet that
proves this very basic relationship functionality is even possible,
I'm not going to invest time mucking around in classes trying to learn
ruby.

Why not use the information present in a variable name like
table2_id? I guess I got the (incorrect?) impression that "if i could
only rename my variables differently rails would understand and create
these relationships for me! Including the corresponding necessary
drop-down/select-box functionality in the views/layouts.

As Fred said, you have to declare the associations in the model files
and then back up those declarations, so to speak, with the correct
foreign key wiring in the database. It's not possible for ActiveRecord
to infer them, because your table will have table2_id for both a
has_one and a has_many association, and any of the more
powerful/non-default association features definitely can't be
inferred.

I hope we don't lose you, but good luck whichever way you go!

David

I've just spend the better part of this 60 hour week (yes, at my job:
risking my otherwise productive neck) just trying to get rails up and
running in a way that is as "fast" and "easy" as all the hype

Rails is the fastest way to develop a site that I know of.

Since you're a PHP coder, look here:

http://www.phpwact.org/php/mvc_frameworks

Look at the entries in the "Modeled after" column, do you see all the
"Ruby on Rails" entries? There's a reason for that.

suggests. So hear me out for a bit on my reasons for why I'm giving
up. Perhaps somebody out there will recognize this as a desperate cry
for help and save me from committing platform suicide.

The reasons:

1) I don't know Ruby

I'm not aware of anyone who is born knowing Ruby. Like any other
programming language, it must be learned.

2) A bad experience with ruby 1.8.6 p 230 (STILL!? the most prominent
link on the rails download page)

So try another version. Does your Linux distro not provide a stable,
secure version of Ruby? Mine does. And if you're unhappy with your
distro's offerings you can switch distros or compile from source. A
single bad experience with a single version of Ruby seems pretty small
potatoes to me.

3) Unstable documentation
   a) old 1.x tutorials that don't work with the recent 2.x downloads

And? This seems a non-problem to me. If you're using a 2.x Rails,
then look for the 2.x series tutorials.

   b) not as much of a community/following in my areas (linux,
postgres, academia)

Blather. I use Linux and I work in academia and I haven't ran into
any real show-stoppers. PostgreSQL works fine with Rails. Rails even
plays nice with Oracle.

   c) language barriers to entry (despite the appeal of ruby's and
rails' internationality)

Your English seems fine to me.

   d) the fact that the current best documentation is a soon-to-
obsolete book (and $54 at that!)

"The Rails Way" is the current best documentation in my opinion, and
it can be had for much less than $54, online. There's nothing forcing
you to use the latest not-yet-released version of Rails.

        http://pragprog.com/titles/rails3/agile-web-development-with-rails-third-edition
   e) the api documentation http://api.rubyonrails.org/ is
overwhelming and ugly

Overwhelming perhaps to you but it works really well for me and
thousands? of others. There are other versions of the Rails docs and
different ways to navigate it:

http://railsmanual.org/
http://start.gotapi.com/

There is also Ruby's ri to lookup individual methods and classes.

   f) contentious, contradicting and out of date wiki-ing

Wikis are a community effort. If you find a mistake please correct it
for the next person who comes along.

4) Auto renaming: I thought it was cool (and I obliged) until rails
renamed my "people" table to "peoples"

Rails makes assumptions about naming conventions, but all of them can
be overridden. Learning the conventions is well worth the effort as
they will help you, otherwise you will find working against them to
be, well.. work.

5) Too much abstraction? Call me old fashioned but I'm kind of
missing get and post and html forms

Here's a basic form:

<% form_tag do -%>
<%= text_field :foo, :bar %>
<%= submit_tag %>
<% end -%>

What questions do you have about it?

6) Difficult integration with existing technologies.
   b) apache: a million steps (including fastCGI) and it still
doesn't work. (I'd been using WEBRick)

Mongrel is very simple to setup and works really well under Apache.
Before I used that I used Lighttpd and it works equally well. I
recently began using mod_rails and it works ok for how young it is.
Most any setup you choose can be proxied under Apache. It's been an
overall pleasant experience for me with any setup I tried. If you
prefer a simple mod_php-like setup then try mod_rails.

   c) can't use an existing schema or existing database to build
rails classes & forms (am I misunderstanding? I thought this is why
rails was supposed to be so great? Is this not possible?)

We successfully wrapped a Rails app around a 4 year-old genetics
database at work, on Oracle no less. It was work, but there were no
show-stoppers to speak of. What specific problems are you having?

   d) foreign keys (and the associated one to many, many to many
relationships) are not created or represented automatically in the
database or web forms when using script/generate scaffold table1
var1:string var2:integer table2_id:integer

Don't use scaffolds for anything more than dazzling your clients
during meetings.

This last one is the big one (the rest I'm willing to forgive for such
an otherwise apparently elegant language and environment). If i can't
easily see a compelling demonstration or working code snippet that
proves this very basic relationship functionality is even possible,
I'm not going to invest time mucking around in classes trying to learn
ruby.

I learned Ruby reading a number of books about it. Mucking around in
classes prior to having a basic understanding of the language seems a
waste of time to me. Everyone learns their own way I guess, but I
like books.

Why not use the information present in a variable name like
table2_id? I guess I got the (incorrect?) impression that "if i could
only rename my variables differently rails would understand and create
these relationships for me! Including the corresponding necessary
drop-down/select-box functionality in the views/layouts.

Rails does automatically create relationships for you, as you define
them in your models. The data I feed to my drop-down selects works
fine. Again, what specific problems are you having?

If someone can get me going on this last bit I just might give it
another try. If not, Its back to non-object oriented PHP and web
forms for me.

If that's what you want to do. After more than a decade using PHP,
and then several years with Rails, I couldn't imagine the pain of
having to build a new site with PHP again. Rails is really that good.

Thanks for letting me rant,

Letting you? I don't recall being asked :slight_smile:

Hi Dave.

schruthensis wrote:

I've just spend the better part of this 60 hour week (yes, at my job:
risking my otherwise productive neck) just trying to get rails up and
running in a way that is as "fast" and "easy" as all the hype
suggests. So hear me out for a bit on my reasons for why I'm giving
up. Perhaps somebody out there will recognize this as a desperate cry
for help and save me from committing platform suicide.

Hm. The first thing I'd say is trying to learn a completely different
language and framework while under pressure is probably always going to
be a recipe for frustration. I don't mean to belittle you, but trying to
jump into Rails in the middle of everything you're doing and expecting
to instantly be productive was pretty naive. I've been developing in one
language or another for about 14 years, and when I started learning
Rails, I took it pretty slow. I didn't thrust it into my job or make my
life depend on it. I picked up Agile Web Development With Rails and
started reading and writing. It took a little while for things to start
sinking in to the point that I was understanding what was going on. That
was almost a year and half ago. Rails isn't perfect (nothing is), but I
am *so* much happier than in any other language I've ever coded in. I
still do some PHP work, but I'd rather write in Ruby and Rails. But it
took some time.

The reasons:

1) I don't know Ruby

Learn it. It's awesome. I know there probably isn't anything that you
can do in Ruby that you can't do in some other language, but Ruby is
elegant and fun to use. In fact, over the past few days, I wrote some
Ruby/ActiveRecord code to merge data from one database into another.
Including whitespace, about 175 lines. Recursive to the point of me not
knowing what my name is, but it works. [For anyone interested, I'll be
making it available to the community soon. Maybe someone will find it
useful.] I really can't imagine trying to do the same thing in any other
language.

2) A bad experience with ruby 1.8.6 p 230 (STILL!? the most prominent
link on the rails download page)
3) Unstable documentation
    a) old 1.x tutorials that don't work with the recent 2.x downloads

If you can't find 2.x tutorials (they are out there), there is nothing
stopping you from having multiple versions of Rails installed. Install
the gem for Rails 1.2.6 and generate a new app for it with

$> rails _1.2.6_ my_app

That will tell Rails to create the app using version 1.2.6. Then the
AWDWR book or all of those 1.2.x tutorials will work if you need them
to.

    b) not as much of a community/following in my areas (linux,
postgres, academia)

Not sure how this is that big of a deal academia is. People from all
industries interact here and in other forums. Linux, PostgreSQL, etc,
sure, but most deploy to Linux and many use PostgreSQL (I'm one of
them). Lot's of people in this forum are extremely knowledgeable and
helpful. If you have questions/problems, ask here.

    c) language barriers to entry (despite the appeal of ruby's and
rails' internationality)
    d) the fact that the current best documentation is a soon-to-
obsolete book (and $54 at that!)
         http://pragprog.com/titles/rails3/agile-web-development-with-rails-third-edition
    e) the api documentation http://api.rubyonrails.org/ is
overwhelming and ugly

I use http://www.railsbrain.com and am not having any problems. I also
make regular visits to http://www.ruby-doc.org/core-1.8.6/index.html.

    f) contentious, contradicting and out of date wiki-ing
4) Auto renaming: I thought it was cool (and I obliged) until rails
renamed my "people" table to "peoples"
5) Too much abstraction? Call me old fashioned but I'm kind of
missing get and post and html forms

Methinks once the Rails way clicks in your head, you won't miss them so
much. I've been a database developer for many years (in fact, my last
full-time job was as a DBA), so I've always had my hand right in the
middle of the database. But once I got a hold of Rails' migrations, I
don't do very much in the database any more. I still write some
complicated queries every once in a while, but I let migrations hand all
the schema. You might find the same to be true for forms. If not, you
can still hand code them if you want, but boy you'd be missing out on
some ease.

6) Difficult integration with existing technologies.
    b) apache: a million steps (including fastCGI) and it still
doesn't work. (I'd been using WEBRick)

FCGI is "old school". As others have noted, most people are proxying
from Apache/nginx/lighty/whatever to Mongrel. The only "challenge" with
that is the proxy configuration and the balancer if running a Mongrel
cluster, but even that isn't so hard. There are plenty of sites with
instructions. If I can figure it out, most Rails developers should be
able to as well. I have recent began using mod_rails, and it seems
promising. If you don't need anything fancy, you can also look at
LiteSpeed, which I had used for a while. But it isn't open source and
the higher performing version is not free.

    c) can't use an existing schema or existing database to build
rails classes & forms (am I misunderstanding? I thought this is why
rails was supposed to be so great? Is this not possible?)

It is *possible*, but from what I hear, painful. Rails is very
opinionated. The path of least resistance is to do things the Rails way.

    d) foreign keys (and the associated one to many, many to many
relationships) are not created or represented automatically in the
database or web forms when using script/generate scaffold table1
var1:string var2:integer table2_id:integer

This, I believe, is a misconception on your part. Rails will *not*
create associations automatically in the database. All of Rails
associations are enforced in the framework. You can *use* Rails to
create indexes and associations, but it's not going to happen
automatically.

This last one is the big one (the rest I'm willing to forgive for such
an otherwise apparently elegant language and environment). If i can't
easily see a compelling demonstration or working code snippet that
proves this very basic relationship functionality is even possible,
I'm not going to invest time mucking around in classes trying to learn
ruby.

Again, as someone else eluded to, "mucking around in classes" is
probably not the best way to learn Ruby.

Why not use the information present in a variable name like
table2_id? I guess I got the (incorrect?) impression that "if i could
only rename my variables differently rails would understand and create
these relationships for me! Including the corresponding necessary
drop-down/select-box functionality in the views/layouts.

Again, Rails is not going to this stuff automagically. It makes it a lot
easier, but Rails can't read your mind. Just because you have a
relationship between two tables doesn't mean you always want a drop down
list.

If someone can get me going on this last bit I just might give it
another try. If not, Its back to non-object oriented PHP and web
forms for me.

Rails isn't for everyone, but I have not yet heard anyone who gave Rails
a real, honest effort say, "I don't like this. I'm going back to XYZ."
My advice (if you are open to it) is to back up, take a deep breath, and
start over. Don't try to learn Ruby and Rails while under pressure. Work
at it on the side until you get the hang of it. And don't approach it
just like you would PHP (or XYZ). Ruby and Rails are their own beasts,
and they respond to different music than other beasts. Once you learn
the right melodies, you'll be happily soothing the beasts and reaping
the benefits of the Rails framework.

Thanks for letting me rant,

Dave

Peace,
Phillip

Hi,
I am working in a team which has two other guys, one from a PHP
exposure and the other from Java.
When we started working in Rails, it was their first time and both
encountered their own set of problems which were quite
unique to what their prior experience was. The Java guy's biggest
problem was that he often compared the
documentation support between Rails (and the extra-core code) and
Java. The PHP guy often complained that
he found it hard to work with ActiveRecord, when in PHP all he ever
did was simply plug in SQL and not worry much about
the nitty gritties of the Rails conventions. There were other rants of
course but mostly it was not due to Rails but because
of some kind of comparison between the programming experience.
Now I had a different learning curve. I started learning Rails (and of
course Ruby) in my extra time and not in a professional
capacity. I think THAT is one of the many reasons which puts people
off. The situation when you get on the learning curve
and things dont seem the same when they heard a lot about Rails.
For a person coming from PHP background, it takes some time to get
used to the Ruby/Rails way. From what I have observed
mostly people get attracted to Rails by the many screencasts and
presentations which show that an application can be
put up from scratch in a very short time. Now, there are 2 things. 1:
The applications obviously are simple but in real life
we hardly use scaffolding. 2: If it is a complex application then the
person who claims he can set it up in record time
HAS actually spent a lot of time to wrap his brain around the
language. And as far as the documentation support is concerned
it is there, maybe it is not great but it does it's job. Plus, Rails
has not been here for so long that there would be a very mature
set of documentary stuff. For undocumented stuff there are blogs. The
community support may not be sweeping but
it has it's select bunch of people who are doing their bit. And of
course you need to know how and where to look for stuff.
So essentially what I mean to say that it is great to use Rails, but
like any other language it has it's learning curve.
Moreover, the learning curve is also not one which I would advise to
climb in an intense situation where there is no time
to understand the dynamic nature of the language.
And lastly in the end it is just a matter of your taste and opinion.
With Rails I thinks either you love it or you hate it.
It is a language for the highly opinionated and to develop an opinion
(=love) about it you need to spend a lot of time with it.
Eventually the outcome would be great when you can be real fast and
neat but to get there you need to be working hard.
Remember, there are no free lunches :slight_smile:

BTW I agree that The Rails Way is an amazing book. The Pickaxe is a
good book to get you started but The Rails Way is very neat.

Many of Dave's reasons for giving up on Rails are similar to the reasons I
gave up on Rails back when I first tried it. But recently I decided to
come back and take another look. So, the following are a few thoughts
from a returning newbie's perspective.

1) I don't know Ruby

So? If you want to use Rails, learn Ruby. Not knowing Ruby is not a
reason to give up on Rails. I don't know Ruby either but am learning as I
go.

2) A bad experience with ruby 1.8.6 p 230 (STILL!? the most prominent
link on the rails download page)

I guess I'm lucky. Installing Rails on my Debian box was as easy as:

# aptitude install rails

3) Unstable documentation

This is an area where I couldn't agree more.

   a) old 1.x tutorials that don't work with the recent 2.x downloads

Recently when I decided to take another look at Rails I was surprised to
find all the tutorial links on the RubyOnRails.org web site pointed to 1.x
tutorials. Someone else replying to Dave's post suggested that he look
for 2.x tutorials if he's running version 2.x. I have a crazy idea. How
about updating the tutorial links on the Rails web site, pointing them at
tutorials that are written for the current version of Rails? The current
Rails version number, currently 2.1, sticks out like a sore thumb on the
front page of Rails web site. Maybe whoever updates the front page should
drop the person who takes care of the documentation page a note each time
he/she updates the version number.

   d) the fact that the current best documentation is a soon-to-
obsolete book (and $54 at that!)

Back when I first tried Rails I bought the current edition of Agile Web
Development, which at that time was the first edition. I was surprised at
how quickly the book became obsolete. Now that I'm back taking another
look at Rails I, perhaps against my better judgment, ordered the third
edition beta book. Hopefully it will take a little longer for this
edition to become obsolete. I think Rails' rapid development is one of
it's greatest strengths and also one of it's greatest weaknesses.
Documentation has trouble keeping up.

   e) the api documentation http://api.rubyonrails.org/ is
overwhelming and ugly

I'm not sure if it's exactly overwhelming. But, it's definitely ugly.
Could someone mention to the API site's webmaster that frames went out of
style towards the end of the last millennium? I generally try to avoid
browsing the API docs because of the site's layout.

5) Too much abstraction? Call me old fashioned but I'm kind of
missing get and post and html forms

Okay, you're old fashioned. :slight_smile: I'm old fashioned about a lot of things
myself. I shave with a straight razor. Almost every vehicle I've ever
owned has has a standard transmission. Where non-web apps are concerned I
prefer TUI(Text User Interface) based apps. And, I work as an IBM
mainframe operator. But for web apps I'll take Rails' abstraction over
"old fashioned" web development any day.

   b) apache: a million steps (including fastCGI) and it still
doesn't work. (I'd been using WEBRick)

I haven't tried setting up Rails behind Apache yet. I'm still working my
way through the Agile Web Development example app and am still using
WEBrick. But, I don't anticipate any problems with Apache.

   c) can't use an existing schema or existing database to build
rails classes & forms (am I misunderstanding? I thought this is why
rails was supposed to be so great? Is this not possible?)

I had a similar experience recently when I switched one of my web sites
from PHP to Django. At the time I also switched from MySQL to PostgreSQL.
I ended up just setting up a bright shiny new schema in Django then
massaged the data from the old database to get into the new one.

Kevin
http://www.RawFedDogs.net
http://www.WacoAgilityGroup.org
Bruceville, TX

Si hoc legere scis nimium eruditionis habes.
Longum iter est per praecepta, breve et efficax per exempla!!!

My background is Java and PHP.
I started with RoR just one year ago and will never go back.
From your points - it seems you just got off to a wrong start.
I would suggest taking one of the rails book that walks through
building an app from scratch - thats how I got started - and it then
becomes second nature.

An example of how quickly I got started - I build http://www.MyDogSpace.com
in just 6/8 weeks (its advanced further now - but you get the idea)

The reasons:
1) I don't know Ruby

you just started the wrong way. start learning ruby (which
is in fact a very nice language) or you won't be able
to learn rails. rails relies in the concept of "convention
over configuration" which means that most configuration
files are expressed in the code. and more, most configuration
files (like routes.rb) are in fact ruby code. so when you
learn ruby you are in fact learning rails, it's like a
DRY for learning. :slight_smile:

> d) the fact that the current best documentation is a soon-to-
> obsolete book (and $54 at that!)
> http://pragprog.com/titles/rails3/agile-web-development-with-rails-th
> e) the api documentationhttp://api.rubyonrails.org/ is
> overwhelming and ugly

I usehttp://www.railsbrain.com and am not having any problems. I also
make regular visits tohttp://www.ruby-doc.org/core-1.8.6/index.html.

I can at least help with obsolete documentation: the best book right
now is The Rails Way by Obie Fernandez:
http://www.amazon.com/Rails-Way-Addison-Wesley-Professional-Ruby/dp/0321445619

4.5 stars, and covers latest version.

Ron

I was bitten by this too. If you have an object called 'Person' the
table name is 'People'. Technically correct but a bit confusing. I
switched to using Participant. I had this problem back in 1.2.x when I
was starting out with Rails and I agree it was a bit baffling. Perhaps
now I would like it.

script/generate model person name:string
      exists app/models/
      exists test/unit/
      exists test/fixtures/
      create app/models/person.rb
      create test/unit/person_test.rb
      create test/fixtures/people.yml
      exists db/migrate
      create db/migrate/20080804122242_create_people.rb

c\) can&#39;t use an existing schema or existing database to build

rails classes & forms (am I misunderstanding? I thought this is why
rails was supposed to be so great? Is this not possible?)

There's quite a discussion at
http://groups.google.com/group/rubyonrails-talk/browse_thread/thread/2e95e738ad82a602/1436710f75a17e60?hl=en&lnk=gst&q=paron#1436710f75a17e60

That link will take you to response #26 or so; mine. There are links
down the page a little to "introspecting" scaffold plugins, which
actually behave similarly to the original scaffolding in Rails <2.
They walk through your data tables and create pages and forms neatly
labeled with your field names.

I like them. I inherit datatables and structures that I'd never design
myself, and the introspecting scaffolding saves me a ton of typing.

Here's what I said there, and I still think it is true:

c\) can&#39;t use an existing schema or existing database to build

rails classes & forms (am I misunderstanding? I thought this is why
rails was supposed to be so great? Is this not possible?)

There's quite a discussion at
http://groups.google.com/group/rubyonrails-talk/browse_thread/thread/2e95e738ad82a602/1436710f75a17e60?hl=en&lnk=gst&q=paron#1436710f75a17e60

That link will take you to response #26 or so; mine. There are links
down the page a little to "introspecting" scaffold plugins, which
actually behave similarly to the original scaffolding in Rails <2.
They walk through your data tables and create pages and forms neatly
labeled with your field names.

I like them. I inherit datatables and structures that I'd never design
myself, and the introspecting scaffolding saves me a ton of typing.

Here's what I said there, and I still think it is true:

BTW: if you buy the book in PDF format from the pragprog site you will
get the working copy, which is up-to-date with Rails, and they will
email you any time the PDF is updated. I've been using it that way for
a few months, and they'll ship me a paper copy when it's done.

Well Talk,

Several weeks later I'm still here! I think I owe this list an
apology for freaking out and a thanks for helping me through this.

Some of the highlights since my last post here are:

1) I've now got a fully functional Rails instance up and running with
~ 20 tables and 10 pages with superb AJAX-ified and CSS-stylized CRUD
interface (thanks to *active scaffold*! And for Paron above for
pointing me towards it!)

2) I got apache proxying my Mongrel server (thanks Fredrick) so that
now everything is nice and daemonized and I still get to use Apache at
the same time!

3) I bought "The Rails Way" and found it quite useful (thanks again
Paron and Shashank!) for the very little of it that I read while
getting side tracked down the cappastrano path (we are a really small
shop and I'm only making an internal db interface for now)

4) I even got to take part in a beginning Rails book review process
for a major computer book publisher! (a nice side-benefit of being the
squeaky wheel / master complainer).

5) AND! I did it all without really even trying to learn any Ruby..
Someday I will... I still have "Beginning Ruby" sitting on my shelf.

HOWEVER:

I still haven't figured out how to create all the forms from an
existing schema but that's not as much of an issue now.

And I still think that scaffolding could be super useful and that
someone (perhaps me someday) could re-write it so it uses the foreign
key fields to infer the HM, BT, & HABTM relationships... If i did
this, I would probably write it to build pages for active scaffold...
anybody want to work on this with me?

hi,

Hm. The first thing I'd say is trying to learn a completely different
language and framework while under pressure is probably always going to
be a recipe for frustration.

with emphasis on "under pressure"

but that is true for each and every knowledge/experience/learning,
isn't it?

time is the magic word to "fill your brain" - always and ever. If you
want to learn things, you have to pay the price - and invest the most
original thing in universe, which cannot be copied/multiplicated/
hoarded...

look at me - RPG on AS/400 - green screen and texts as GUI...

i tried 4GLs, C++, Java, PHP, Python, whatever - forgot the most - but
you are "corrupted" for the most established environments, when you
know the AS/400 - as programmer, the words "OS" or "database" are not
worth to be mentioned - because it works - and works - and works...

then i worked with a 4GL, which did some nice metaprogramming
things....

so i looked for a combination - an environment with nice
metaprogrammings, but rescuing me from all that boring stuff about OS/
middleware, databases or browsers...

and now i use Rails, because it is the easiest way to do the things
you want to do - without always caring about trivialities (ok, not
perfectly, but mostly :wink: )...

I don't mean to belittle you, but trying to
jump into Rails in the middle of everything you're doing and expecting
to instantly be productive was pretty naive...
But it took some time.

the magic word "time" :wink:

i also paid the price - and i am happy about

my way? Start from the beginning + Do it Yourself

i rewrote a simple (but not too simple!) software in RoR, without
reading more than an introduction in Ruby, you read enough during the
programming :wink: - has two advantages: you learn Rails and you can
compare the code

btw: the "first code" will surely not be your finest, but you will be
amazed by the comparison, i guess...

:wink:

ff

Wow! Another RPGer! I thought I was the only one. :wink:

I still love the iSeries/AS400/i5/System i... and that's how I make my
living but after months of working on the side with RoR for a friend
and finally rolling out our first production app I am very happy I
have made (and still making) the effort of learning it. Lots to learn,
but very rewarding.

Pepe

I have been developing a rails powered website for the past year and 2
months. And while I had a limited experience in PHP and come from a
programming background (in college) of C++ and Java, I can't imagine
doing what I have done in PHP or any of the other languages I have used.
For one, my year project would become a two maybe evene three year
project if done in another language. Like I said my PHP programming is
limited and I found it relatively easy to learn, but I found rails just
as easy but also much more efficient. Since I have started my project I
have dived into everything: Credit Card validation, form validation,
sessions, dynamic pages, password encryption, guarding again cross-site
scripting, user validation and authentication, yada yada yada. And now,
even though I encounter a few minor problems here and there, my project
is now used by sevel hundred people with that number to reach probobly
several thoussand by the end of the year. And I did this fresh out of
college and having never even heard of Ruby On Rails untell I was
interviewed by my current boss and he asked me: "Have you ever
programmed in Ruby On Rails?" Nope. But he still hired me and I am sure
glad he did and I hope he is glag he did.

All I can say is that I am pround of what I have done over the past year
having never used RoR and this being my first job (in the IT field), oh,
and I did this all as a one man project, just me, myself and I. Sure I
got frusterated plenty of times and had peroids of banging my head
against the computer commonitor, but I believe that the same project
done in another language would have taken two maybe even three times as
long.

I'm not going to tell you to give RoR another chance, but I will say
that I don't think you can deny the power behind rails and the fact that
you can create ONE HELL of a website in a short amount of time that is
not only dynamic but secure and just flat out a KICK ASS.

I will agree, however, that the documentation needs help - serious help.
Sure Java had some great documentation and it's easy to critize and say
why can't it be like that for Ruby and Rails? That would be a great
project for someone to do, hmmmmm. And also, it is quite a chore to get
a server running rails, but, the framework itself saves so much time and
effort that I believe it is still worth it to do your projects in Rails
despite those setbacks.

Alright, I'm done preaching. Good luck to you and whatever decision you
make,

-S

Shandy,

Your story is typical of those that use RoR. However, the problem that
schruthensis describes is that he cannot even get it going to find OUT
how good it is. I find that I am in the same boat. I have spent the
last 8 days at work and I cannot even get a "hello world" to work in
rails. I am ready to gnaw off a limb to survive and am looking into PHP
just because I am hoping that I can get something, ANYTHING, to work. I
have made great websites in other languages and REALLY want to do it all
in Ruby but I cannot get over the initial hurdle anymore than
schruthensis can.

It is a lot of time and effort to expend with nothing to show for it,
especially when there is a boss glaring with looks of recrimination for
"lack of productivity." While I am not quite under the same gun as
schruthensis, still 8 days with nothing to show is stressful and I can
empathize with him.

p.s. I have bought books by the stack and ebooks by the disk load. I
have read through them and they all show the magic occurring after ruby
is up and running. Go figure. Anyway, it is not the books that give
the answers either.

Have you tried instant rails? http://instantrails.rubyforge.org/

Should be enough to get you going (assuming that you are using windows at least).