I tried to learn Ruby on Rails once before (in Rails 3.0, just as 3.1 was first released) but gave up because I couldn’t gain any traction. A local Meetup group dedicated to Ruby on Rails beginners has just popped up, and I’m considering giving Ruby on Rails one more chance.
One of my biggest questions as I consider a second attempt is this: Besides creating online stores, what can Ruby on Rails do that Python and Drupal cannot do or cannot do as effectively? For example, my Doppler Value Investing project (dopplervalueinvesting.com) uses Drupal for the web site and Python scripts to process data and provide output results in the form of *.csv and *.html files. (While I’m sure that Ruby on Rails could have done the job just as well, I’m not about to tear down something that already works well.)
Part of the problem in my first attempt to learn Ruby on Rails was lacking a good project that would make use of it. I can’t be that engaged or be anything more than a mediocre developer merely by going through tutorials and exercises. I need a major project to motivate me to truly learn. In other words, I will go big or go home. Some projects I’ve thought of are:
My Build-A-Distro web site (www.buildadistro.com): It’s a web site on how to start and run a Linux distro. It’s in Drupal at the moment, but I’m willing to tear down this web site because I haven’t gotten very
far with it. Some things I’d like to add are a blog on the process of putting together my Linux distro Swift Linux, a wiki, and message boards.
A location-based Android game: This would require a central server to store all of the information needed by the Android apps that the participants have. (I am in the process of learning to develop Android apps.)
Other online games