RailsMN -- Rails for Beginners Message Board › How I learned Ruby on Rails
Saint Paul, MN
Groups like this one and Rails.mn are great and essential, but you can't expect to master Ruby on Rails merely by showing up, just as you can't expect to learn engineering merely by showing up to class. Now that I have mastered the basics of Ruby on Rails, I'm sharing how I learned it while the process is still fresh in my mind. Please note that your mileage may vary.
Things that I found essential to mastering Ruby on Rails were:
1. Have a good app in mind that would make use of Ruby on Rails. In my case, this app was my Bargain Stock Funds project. I find that having a good and meaningful idea that I want to implement is essential for becoming truly engaged. Merely learning for the sake of learning just doesn't work for me, because it's too easy to give up when the going gets tough, and it makes it harder to relate to what I'm trying to learn.
2. Do NOT try to learn too many things at once. Every time I tried to learn too much at once, I got stuck. You can't learn the more advanced material until you learn the basics, and this is ESPECIALLY true of Ruby on Rails. (For example, don't worry about deploying with a Postgres database until you successfully deploy with an SQLite database. For that matter, you should also try the official Postgres tutorial before you deploy a Postgres database in Rails.)
3. Learn the basics of Ruby first: http://www.tryruby.or... will get you started. You should also write some Ruby scripts of your own. (In my case, I learned so much from writing the web-scraping script for Bargain Stock Funds, even though I later switched to Python.) If you try to learn Rails without having a basic knowledge of Ruby, things won't make sense, and the code will look very alien to you. While there are people who learned Rails without prior Ruby knowhow, they are in the minority, and you probably won't be part of this group.
4. Learn the basics of object-oriented programming: Again, Rails won't make sense without at least a passing knowledge of object-oriented programming.
5. Go through the RailsForZombies tutorial at http://railsforzombie... . I found this useful for seeing what Rails can do without getting bogged down in too much detail.
6. Go through the Rails Tutorial at http://railstutorial.... . Try not to get too bogged down like I was in trying to get through all 11 chapters. Instead, expect to revisit this tutorial in the future. So far, my Bargain Stock Funds site makes use of the material in chapters 3 through 7, and I frequently consulted these chapters as a reference.