RoR for a front end web designer

I am a designer guy not a programmer. My coding skills are html, css
and some jquery tweaks to suit my needs, but i come to a point where i
think i need to learn a real language. What i'm doing now is working
with Textpattern or Wordpress(but i dont really like it) when i need
some dynamic web site. So my question is: is RoR viable for me or is
to overwhelming. Should I stick to my current situation and be and
average cms "tweaker" or learn a new language to boost my toolbox? I
asked this same question on another forum and 90% of the replies where
to learn PHP and work with wordpress ( but the code ....).
I have the Learn to Program and the Agile Web Development with Rails
books and if i go with RoR maybe should i buy also Ruby on Rails 3
Tutorial Live Lessons book+video to help me out?
Please try to be unbiased as possible in the advices :slight_smile:
Thanks in advance

I am a designer guy not a programmer. My coding skills are html, css
and some jquery tweaks to suit my needs, but i come to a point where i
think i need to learn a real language. What i'm doing now is working
with Textpattern or Wordpress(but i dont really like it) when i need
some dynamic web site. So my question is: is RoR viable for me or is
to overwhelming. Should I stick to my current situation and be and
average cms "tweaker" or learn a new language to boost my toolbox? I
asked this same question on another forum and 90% of the replies where
to learn PHP and work with wordpress ( but the code ....).
I have the Learn to Program and the Agile Web Development with Rails
books and if i go with RoR maybe should i buy also Ruby on Rails 3
Tutorial Live Lessons book+video to help me out?
Please try to be unbiased as possible in the advices :slight_smile:
Thanks in advance

I spent a very long time in PHP-land before committing myself to Rails full-time. It was definitely a learning experience, but it also made for some serious un-learning once I entered the world of Rails.

Books are great, I would add to your list Tobie Fernandez's The Rails 3 Way. I've heard good things about the online course Rails for Zombies, but I haven't tried it myself. Definitely do the Rails Tutorial http://ruby.railstutorial.org/ as that will save you some retraining later. If you want to buy the book + screencast, that's great, but I got a lot out of the online course by reading it for free. Test early, test often!

My sincerest advice to you is to get a little bit comfortable with the framework, and then try to get a client who needs something done within a month. I've found that to be an excellent "teacher" as well.

Oh, and look around for a meetup or RUG in your area. We are lucky in Philadelphia to have two RUGs and at least a few meetups for functional programming. YMMV.

Best of luck, I doubt very much that you will regret it in a year.

Walter

Books are great, I would add to your list Tobie Fernandez's The Rails 3 Way.

Just a small correction here: the author is "Obie Fernandez".

~ jf

biofobico@gmail.com wrote in post #1012427:

I am a designer guy not a programmer. My coding skills are html, css
and some jquery tweaks to suit my needs, but i come to a point where i
think i need to learn a real language. What i'm doing now is working
with Textpattern or Wordpress(but i dont really like it) when i need
some dynamic web site. So my question is: is RoR viable for me or is
to overwhelming. Should I stick to my current situation and be and
average cms "tweaker" or learn a new language to boost my toolbox? I
asked this same question on another forum and 90% of the replies where
to learn PHP and work with wordpress ( but the code ....).
I have the Learn to Program and the Agile Web Development with Rails
books and if i go with RoR maybe should i buy also Ruby on Rails 3
Tutorial Live Lessons book+video to help me out?
Please try to be unbiased as possible in the advices :slight_smile:
Thanks in advance

I know lots of programming languages, including ruby. I am currently
reading Ruby on Rails 3 Tutorial. In my opinion, you should run
away...far away.
Rails tutorials lead you step by step as you create a fairly simple
website with some nice features.
But you won't have any idea what you are doing, and if you make a
mistake copying what is in the tutorial, you will find it very
frustrating to track down the
errors.

After finishing a rails tutorial, if you put the book away and then try
to
make the exact same website without the book, you will find it
impossible. And if you have notions of creating another website with
different features--no way. Rails is too complex and confusing. If you
work as a professional web programmer somewhere where you need to crank
out 100 websites a month, AND you have many years of web programming
behind you, then trying to learn ROR *may* be worth it.

In your case, you will have much more fun if you learn php, which is the
easiest language for web programming. That will still be plenty
challenging for you. There is plenty of room to grow with php too.
You
can learn a php framework (rather than rails)--if you decide to go in
that direction, and then you won't have to learn a new language, i.e.
ruby to learn a framework.

In my opinion, the major shortcoming of learning php is that it is not a
general purpose language, like python and ruby. I think learning python
would be a better choice, because you can use it for both web
programming and writing other programs. However, python isn't quite as
easy to use for web programming as php.

I've spent years in e-commerce, and while I'm not a master of html/css/
jquery I can certainly find my way around. I learn well with books,
so two years ago I started with the agile (pickaxe) book. I built the
demo app, and while it all worked, it was more of an exercise in how
to follow directions and not make silly typos (although I don't find
RoR to be overly picky like some real old-school languages/
frameworks).

Last year I decided to spend my vacation attending the BigNerdRanch 7
day course for Ruby on Rails. It was in Atlanta, I paid a ton plus a
flight, but walked away with the ability to code, debug, and the basic
confidence to learn gems, etc, via a book or online resource. Having
a live instructor in an environment where all you do is RoR seemed to
really unlock the framework for me. I learned in 2.3.8, but quickly
moved to 3+ last fall and now write in 3.0.9.

Maybe a tutorial or video will work for you, but for me I struggled to
grasp the MVC concepts and learn how to DRY my code and make fat
Models only by being in a classroom. After you get those core
building blocks, there's nothing better than having to complete a site
(especially for a paying client).

Good luck, and btw, I chose RoR over PHP several years ago because I'm
looking to the future and believe the web future is RoR. Sure, it's
hard. But if it was easy, everyone would do it and the pay rate would
drop into the html-coder range.

I would certainly say that if you're going to move into programming,
RoR is a good choice. Ruby is very expressive, and there's a strong
community.

And I'd say you don't even need to be a super programmer; I personally
would love to find a designer for collaborations who understands Rails
enough to work directly in views, instead of me having to translate some
god-awful Dreamweaver mockup into workable HTML.

I know there are people like that out there, just not enough of them :slight_smile:

FWIW,

I couldn't agree more. Understanding the RoR framework, partials,
coffeescript, layouts, even helpers would put you at the TOP of the
designers list for working with a RoR programmer/company. Get the
basics down and continue to build great UIs. I'm sure you can find a
RoR programming to work with you (like me, or tons of others on this
list) if the opportunity came around.

biofobico@gmail.com wrote in post #1012427:

I am a designer guy not a programmer. My coding skills are html, css
and some jquery tweaks to suit my needs, but i come to a point where i
think i need to learn a real language. What i'm doing now is working
with Textpattern or Wordpress(but i dont really like it) when i need
some dynamic web site. So my question is: is RoR viable for me or is
to overwhelming. Should I stick to my current situation and be and
average cms "tweaker" or learn a new language to boost my toolbox? I
asked this same question on another forum and 90% of the replies where
to learn PHP and work with wordpress ( but the code ....).
I have the Learn to Program and the Agile Web Development with Rails
books and if i go with RoR maybe should i buy also Ruby on Rails 3
Tutorial Live Lessons book+video to help me out?
Please try to be unbiased as possible in the advices :slight_smile:
Thanks in advance

Live dangerously and outside the box. Ruby is a great first language to
learn and Rails is a an extremely "fun" and dependable framework to
design sites with. I would grab a sub to something like safaribooks
online or similar so you can swap out books as you go. I like being
able to change 5 books a month, and there's a lot of great reading
material out there. When you want something permanently, I tend to go
to sites like pragmaticbookshelf.com or similar.

I would start with a Ruby book first. I started out reading Beginning
Ruby, From Novice to Professional by Peter Cooper. It was a very solid
book that gave me a firm grasp on Ruby and what an object oriented
language (OOL) was about. I think I read the first 6 chapters which
covered all of the basics at the time and one chapter dealing with core
classes, and objects in Ruby and then I stopped, put it down, and
swapped to my first Rails book, Foundation Rails 2. I read that entire
book and went back and finished the Ruby book. Since this time, I've
read approx. 4 to 5 different Ruby books and skimmed or read approx. 7
different Rails books. I keep up on Ruby and Rails forums, browse the
guides from time to time, browse other public apps on github to see
different coding styles, and then I experiment and test.

I would dive in, especially if you have both a strong creative and a
logical brain. You have nothing to lose.

Thank you all for the advices. I will dive into Ruby and RoR and see
if it fits my brain or not :slight_smile: