IDE - v. RoR for new programmer?

Marcus Muller wrote:

Not trolling here, but genuinely trying to figure out what to use for a
project I'd like to create. I'm very new to programming (some intro
classes at university) and am debating between learning versus
ruby on rails to create the project.

Unless you use Mono, ASP.NET locks you into Windows. That's a huge
strike against it right there -- Windows is not a suitable platform for
serious server-side development in the 21st century.

I'd very much prefer to learn ruby,

Then do! Ruby is a fantastically well designed language, and Rails is
an equally well designed application framework.

but it seems like the IDE is
better for someone new to web programming like myself.

Don't choose a language based only on IDE. Rails is not well suited to
conventional IDEs, since it's deliberately designed for ease of use and
minimal configuration (I just use KomodoEdit and a bunch of terminal
windows). I'd almost go so far as to say that if a framework *needs* an
IDE, something is wrong with the design of the framework.

The ability to
use a wysiwyg design view in visual studio is a big plus to me since I
don't know how to seriously code pages, buttons, drop downs, tree menus,
and other stuff.

Hold it. Stop right there. If you don't know HTML, you have no
business coding Web applications yet. Learn HTML well before you even
*think* about doing any server-side programming.

Sure, I could learn this given some time, but I
actually have limited time and would prefer not to attack all of this
from the ground up.

Sorry, it doesn't work that way. The Web is built with HTML. If you're
going to work on the Web, you have to be completely comfortable creating
HTML code. If you rely on a pretty drag-and-drop interface builder
without understanding the HTML it is generating for you, you will wind
up with bad HTML -- computers are just not smart enough to do it for

I tried loading textmate and, while I appreciate how great it would be
if I knew what I was doing, there seems to be less "hand-holding" for
someone like myself. I was pretty daunted by the big blank page in the

Welcome to creative work of any sort. (I'm a composer as well as a
programmer. The big blank page of staff paper is still daunting after
30 years of composition.)

My first impression of Visual studio was that it seems to
provide more support and have more tools I can use like properties
dialogs, the wysiwyg design view, etc.

Don't rely on stuff like that. They should be tools (to help with
things you already understand, but that are tedious), not crutches (to
prevent you from having to think or learn).

There was just more I could
immediately relate to as opposed to textmate.

I assume I'm missing something here and am looking for help. Is there a
good integrated IDE that allows me to code RoR and also do wysiwyg
design to cut corners on the web design aspects of things?

Well, you can use any WYSIWYG HTML editor you like. But only do that
once your HTML is good enough that you are absolutely *sure* that you
understand the HTML being generated. *Do not* rely on automatic tools
to save you from learning -- they won't. If you use them without
understanding what is being automated, you will simply wind up in a heap
of trouble without really understanding how you got there or what to do
to get out.

Please don't choose a language based on the presence of idiot-proof IDEs
and cute WYSIWYG editors. Those aren't the things that will matter
after 3 months of learning. Language design, however, will be with you
every step of the way -- that's what you should be looking at.

Thanks in advance.