Ruby on Rails is a framework for Ruby that has became increasingly popular over the last few years. The difference between a framework and a language is a language is used for compiling code whereas a framework is built on top of a language to allow for a more rapid development process.
Ruby on Rails uses the MVC (Model-View-Controller) pattern to keep code clean and organized. CakePHP is a great framework for PHP that replicates how Ruby on Rails works, the only difference being is it uses PHP and not Ruby so the code looks a lot different although some of the functions are named the same.
When learning a new language it is always best to give it your full attention for at least a week or two, because you will probably end up back where you started and not learning much more than you already knew. When using a language, frameworks, API's, etc, it is also recommended to refer to the documentation from time to time so that if you run into a bug it is more stress-free to solve.
If you are running Mac OS X then both Ruby and Rails are pre-installed. Windows and Linux users will have to download them.
Ruby on Rails Examples and Tutorials
Due to the popularity that Rails has gained lately there are a huge amount of new Ruby on Rails examples and tutorials floating around the internet.
The Rails Guides
The Rails guide provides a lot of detailed information about how the framework works and how to get the most out of it. There are discussions from different database types as well as ActiveRecord and how to create forms on the fly with minimal effort.
This guide will teach you all the basics that you need to know about the framework and describe exactly how the MVC pattern works. ActiveRecord is a class that is used within Rails so that you only have to write certain commands and they will work with all the databases that Rails supports, this will save you a lot of time if you ever switch database in the future because you will not need to alter anything. You can find out more about ActiveRecord on RailsGuide here.
Nettuts has to be one of the best blogs available for writing tutorials on just about anything web related. From CodeIgniter to Ruby on Rails: A Conversion is a great article for developers that have experience with CodeIgniter and would love to give Ruby on Rails a try.
The author of the article, Dan Harper creates a shout box using CodeIgniter and then an almost identical version with Ruby on Rails. This is a really good article for understanding how Ruby on Rails functions.
If for any reason you need to build a forum from scratch using Rails and need some help, then you can with Building a Forum From Scratch with Ruby on Rails.
If you just need to build a user authentication system using Rails, nettuts also have a great tutorial for beginners: Getting Started With Restful Authentication in Rails
There is a new podcast posted almost every week with new and interesting techniques. Even the most advanced Rails developers are sure to learn a thing or two from this podcast with the wide range of areas that are covered.
RSS feeds have became an increasingly popular format on the internet over the last few years, and if you are going to create a web 2.0 site of any kind then you will most likely want to be dealing with RSS feeds to allow readers to keep up to date. In this Railscast tutorial, Ryan uses the Feedzirra rails plugin to parse feeds and then output the data retrieved.
Official Rails website
On the official website of Rails there are a lot of links to screencasts that show you how to create a blog in 15 minutes.
The blog isn't anything to the standards of WordPress but it is still functional and impressive for 15 minutes work. You will also find links to other screencasts that record Ruby on Rails examples and tutorials.
Good-tutorials now has a section on their website for Ruby on Rails tutorials. The tutorials vary from beginner to expert. If you have written a tutorial on Ruby on Rails this is a great way to drive traffic to your website.
Most of the Rails tutorials posted on websites will be submitted here so you will find a lot of useful articles and they are ordered into sub categories as well so that you can find exactly what tutorial you are looking for. If you sign up for an account on Good-tutorials you can also save your favourites if you want to remember them for later viewing.
What websites have you found helpful on your way to learning Ruby on Rails? Let us know in the comments below.
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