Sorta new to Rails, and looking for learning resources

First some background. I'm a decent intermediate (I think) programmer
and have experience with other languages like PHP, ActionScript, and
JavaScript. I just finished watching all the lynda.com videos for
Ruby on Rails and I've learned a lot. Now I'm looking for more.

While I was watching those videos, I was often thinking about how
certain things work. Things like how Rails knows a certain thing such
as tables in a database exist. You know all the awesome stuff that
makes Rails so much easier than other languages for the same purpose.
Maybe because of this, I don't fully feel like I could build a Rails
app on my own yet. In other words I might not know what I have to
create and what Rails can do for me.

So I'm looking for books. I was looking at Ruby for Rails, since it
claims to explain all the underlying stuff of Rails. But I was also
looking at the other two real popular books, Agile Web Development
with Rails, and Rails Recipes. Will these two books (or the first one
mostly) be able to help me out without also having to buy Ruby for
Rails?

I think I also need help with the online documentation for
Rails(Rails: Complete API, Ruby Core, and Ruby Standard Lib). I don't
find it extremely easy to find what I want. Some things such as the
symbols aren't listed in the long lists, and the lack of a search
function doesn't help. What's the difference between the 3
documentations? Any hints on how to use them?

Or any tips about anything else in general?
Thanks.

Quoting nemesis256 <nemesis256@gmail.com>, who spaketh thusly:

So I'm looking for books. I was looking at Ruby for Rails, since it
claims to explain all the underlying stuff of Rails. But I was also
looking at the other two real popular books, Agile Web Development
with Rails, and Rails Recipes. Will these two books (or the first one
mostly) be able to help me out without also having to buy Ruby for
Rails?

I'm quickly growing fond of the Pragmatic Programmer series, those two books are a good start. I didn't get the Ruby for Rails book so I can't comment on it.

Or any tips about anything else in general?

I learn by doing, and very little by watching. So for me the best approach was to jump right on in and start blowing stuff up. :slight_smile:

-- Mitch

if you look on Amazon, there are (or will be this summer) a staggering
volume of books on rails coming out. There's a bunch i consider
outstanding:

Pickax,
AWDR2,
Ajax on Rails (Raymond)
"Rails for java Develoers" and "Pragmatic Ajax" Gehtland et al.
Ruby for Rails (Black)
Rails Cookbook
Textmate (Gray)

The Apress books are quite good as well. That's off the top of my
head, I know i've overlooked some, but that should keep you busy for a
couple days.

While I was watching those videos, I was often thinking about how
certain things work. Things like how Rails knows a certain thing such
as tables in a database exist. You know all the awesome stuff that
makes Rails so much easier than other languages for the same purpose.
Maybe because of this, I don't fully feel like I could build a Rails
app on my own yet. In other words I might not know what I have to
create and what Rails can do for me.

Please consider the Essential Rails class coming up in September - we
gear it for Java/PHP/.NET devs who are switching to Rails and are
asking your exact question: www.essentialrails.com.

So I'm looking for books. I was looking at Ruby for Rails, since it
claims to explain all the underlying stuff of Rails. But I was also
looking at the other two real popular books, Agile Web Development
with Rails, and Rails Recipes. Will these two books (or the first one
mostly) be able to help me out without also having to buy Ruby for
Rails?

Agile Web Development with Rails, 2nd Ed. is great; also Ruby for
Rails is arguably better for learning Ruby as much as the Rails
framework.

I think I also need help with the online documentation for
Rails(Rails: Complete API, Ruby Core, and Ruby Standard Lib). I don't
find it extremely easy to find what I want. Some things such as the
symbols aren't listed in the long lists, and the lack of a search
function doesn't help. What's the difference between the 3
documentations? Any hints on how to use them?

Rails API is a reference to the Rails classes and methods; won't make
too much sense until you get an idea of what the framework is all
about. The Ruby Core and Standard Lib docs are for the Ruby language
itself; some classes are "core" while others are separated into a
library, but every distribution of Ruby comes with the standard
library. I often wish there was a unified doc somewhere (I bet there
is, I've been too lazy to look, I just bookmark both of them).

Or any tips about anything else in general?

I've found that learning Ruby well is really what separates the Rails
"users" from the Rails "developers", if you know what I mean. So try
to spend time writing some Ruby scripts and running them from the
command line. And definitely learn "irb", the interactive Ruby prompt
- it's a great way to learn Ruby.

Feel free to ask more questions here or on our blog,
softiesonrails.com. If you have questions about the class drop a
comment on our blog or email me directly.

Hope this helps!

Jeff
essentialrails.com

Thanks for all the welcoming messages. This seems to be a great place
for info on Rails. I think I'm going to buy the Ruby for Rails book.
The thing about answering questions as to how things work, and a
section about only Ruby to learn irb like Jeff mentioned are
attracting me to this book.

nemesis256 wrote:

Thanks for all the welcoming messages. This seems to be a great place
for info on Rails. I think I'm going to buy the Ruby for Rails book.
The thing about answering questions as to how things work, and a
section about only Ruby to learn irb like Jeff mentioned are
attracting me to this book.

>

Theres always Why's guide if you havn't read it already.

One other resource you should seriously look at is Peepcode
screencasts (www.peepcode.com) they provide some great info, example
and source code and if you get a multi -episode pack its a pretty good
deal. He just released some new ''Rails from scratch' episodes that
might be right up your alley. Another good resource is railscasts.com
which is the same idea as peepcode but deals with smaller concepts and
is free.

I've just started programming in RoR but spend most of my time on a
ship with no internet connection. What's the best source for a full
download RoR docs in pdf or other convenient format?

Thanks in advance.
Gavin