Hi Dan, I have been working with PHP for around 9 years now. I switched
to rails approx. 8 months ago.
When I first switched to Rails I felt quite a bit like you do now. I
thought to myself, PHP is easier (but only because I understood the
language and frameworks I used). I found numerous issues setting up my
starting application and once I got around that, I found more issues
trying to get my application working on my host provider.
However, in the end, I'm now able to setup any application and move that
application to a production environment in very little time. In
addition, because ruby is a completely object-oriented language and
rails is a great framework to build web apps with, I find myself
completing tasks that would have taken me weeks to do in PHP in a matter
of hours and sometimes even minutes in rails.
There's too much to go into detail in just one post, but it appears to
me you need to do a couple of things first and foremost before you move
First, you need to become familiar with Ruby (the language) at a bare
minimum. There are quite a few books out there and I'm going to give
you a link that houses a lot of starter content in a moment.
Second, you need to focus on creating a simple application and then
deploying that simple application to the web. Once you understand the
simple things, you can focus on more complex applications.
Start right here in this topic:
I've outlined all of the starting woes and links I could muster when
first exploring rails. You'll find a lot of valuable information.
The best advice I can give you right now is for exploring some free
hands on training through the first link I provided on that page:
Make sure you visit that and make this your very first project. You can
download all of the movies and the entire process is free. This one
project will teach you how to do everything from minimal tasks to
advanced tasks and give you a great understanding of ruby on rails.
Take good notes. Document steps you take that work so you can review
your own steps later on.
I created this website here in approx. 2 months time with no prior
knowledge of rails.
I designed everything from start to finish and it includes a lot of
under-the-hood mechanics that you can't see when first visiting the
page. It houses a full custom built administration system that allows
me to control all site admin tasks, send various email articles by
specific dates to subscribers, and is a fully functioning store.
I created this site in 2 months working 11 hours a day using the link
above along with some screencasts from Ryan Bates.
You'll still find me around here asking newbish questions. I do that
because rails is deep and there's a lot to learn. You can't expect to
learn all of it in a year. It might take you a good 2 - 5 years to
become 100% familiar with the environment. However, you can do great
things in a short amount of time - something I could never do with PHP.
I hope that helps.