I've still got things to learn about RoR - always will have I guess,
which is part of the enjoyment - and I would recommend having the
Pickaxe book (Programming Ruby) as close to hand as possible. AWDwR
was a good place to start for me, but as Rails is Ruby Code, I find
the Pickaxe more useful now - however, from what I have seen from the
guys at PragProg, the next edition of AWDwR may be more of what you
need. Edition 4 is in BETA now, and this comes from the PragProg site:
"You’ll still find the Depot example at the front, but you’ll also
find testing knitted right in. Gone are the long reference chapters—
that’s what the web does best. Instead you’ll find more targeted
information on all the aspects of Rails that you’ll need to be a
successful Web developer"
for more info.
I would definitely recommend just jumping in and starting a simple
App, as previously suggested - something like an address book - and
work through that. You'll make mistakes, and then you'll learn from
them. Also, try freezing rails:
rake rails:freeze:gems # page 259 of AWDwR Edition 3
This will place a copy of your current version of rails into the
vendors folder, you can then easily dig into the actual Rails code,
play with it, change it, break it, fix it, learn from it, without
If you don't understand Ruby, I think you'll struggle a bit to do
anything other than generate basic scaffolded apps so I think the
Pickaxe is a must. How can you understand what Rails is doing/can do,
if you don't have an understanding of Ruby?
Finally, one to think about for the future is Metaprogramming Ruby,
again from PragProg, but I would leave this until you are up to speed
with Ruby in general - depending on your background of course. It gave
me a lot of good insights into Ruby as well as Rails.
Good luck with it,