Newbie Ask: Some basic quick start questions.

I'm sure all of this is online but I learn so much faster if I can just
talk/chat/swap post with a few kind experts... so thanks in advance for
any help and hand holding as I post a number of newbie questions.

I've created Access data bases and done some ASP server side
scripting... a few years back... now want to move on to MySQL or some
other dB. Was suggested I look at Ruby on Rails.

1 - Is Ruby a server side language and Rails a data base application
development tool...
- that runs under Ruby...
- or is Rails the language & Ruby the application?
- and creates server side scripting and client web pages
- so the clients can access the online data base?

2 - What is the simplest way we can setup to play with Ruby & Rails ?
- Must we setup a linux server with Apache as the web server
- Or can we set it up on an old XP Pro machine with IIS ?

3 - Once we have a web server runing what is the process...\
a - Install Ruby on the web server
b - Install Rails on the server

4 - Once all is installed can we run Ruby on Rails on a remote client
machine to create our online database application and the scripted web
pages so that clients can access the dB?

Thanks again for any help.


1) Ruby is the language, Rails is a web app development framework--so
yeah, kind of like a db app dev tool.
2) InstantRails

Google will help you out w/the rest.

try the easy way: watch some screencasts
then get (instantrails
includes everything you need to play)
and try yourself.


Ruby is a programming language. Rails is a development framework built
in the Ruby language - basically a big library of classes, scripts, and
conventions that can be used to develop web-based, db-backed

As noted above, InstantRails is a quick and easy way to get rolling.
It's not very difficult to a regular install of all the pieces, either.
All of the pieces run on both *nix (including mac) or windows platforms.

Rails comes with a ruby-based web server called Webrick. To get started
and "play around with it" you don't need anything other than Ruby, Ruby
Gems, and Rails installed, plus your DB. Basic instructions can be found
at SQLite3 is the easiest out-of-the-box db
to use, if you are just checking it out. It's easy to switch to MySQL
later (install the MySQL 5 Essentials package).

I would recommend the Agile Web Development with Rails book as a way to
quickly immerse yourself in some of the basic principles. The book is
available in print in just about any major bookstore, but that version
(second edition) was written against Rails 1.2. The third edition
against Rails 2.1 is in progress, but a beta PDF is available with
updates at


Thanks for the info Roy.

During the initial startup phase I learn much better by talking &
swaping post with experts... as opposed to Googling and reading for

I'm hopeful that some kind soul will spend a few minutes answering my
other questions... and maybe some additional post... to help get me



Cayce, Thanks for the additional info. Very helpful.


Many people have found the free podcasts and screencasts at
to be helpful in getting started.

(Disclaimer: I'm the coproducer of these.)

Michael Slater
Resources for Rails Developers

I did, that's for sure! Thanks a lot Michael! =)

I know you said something about chatting instead of googling and all
Mel, but here is the first tutorial I followed (I think) and It was
very helpful to get a grip of things!

Another articles very helpful are the ones at Amy Hoy's website:

Don't worry about reading for hours and hours, usually the "getting
started" guides on RoR are very fast!

Good luck out there!!

Abraão Coelho