Totally lost in learning Ruby

Discussion in 'Ruby' started by Hilary Bailey, Jan 21, 2011.

  1. This is my second attempt to understand Ruby. I completely read 1)
    "Beginning Ruby- From Novice to Professional (which to me is a
    completely waste of time), 2) The Pragmatic approach to Ruby (which is
    incomplete)3)Ruby in 20 minutes, 4)other 15 to 20 minutes cute intro
    programs 5) Shoes and now 6)The Book of Ruby by Huw Collingourne, which
    seems like a bible without a compiler, which may be totally useless.

    Is there anyone out there that could make my experience to Ruby
    practical and meaningful? As noted previously, I am a school teacher
    trying to create an education database software for administrators and
    teachers which will hold educational institutions accountable for the
    performance of their school district. My only programming experience is
    the confusion I had trying to read and comprehend the above sources that
    do not offer a stable compiler or the appropriate programs that will go
    hand in hand with their book or resource for Ruby.

    Is there a free compiler and other supporting software that I can use to
    make my so far miserable learning Ruby experience worth a while? So far
    I am still sold on the idea that Ruby is the programing language to
    know, but at this moment I really need HELP.

    Tk in advance,

    Hilary

    --
    Posted via http://www.ruby-forum.com/.
     
    Hilary Bailey, Jan 21, 2011
    #1
    1. Advertising

  2. On Friday 21 January 2011 19:13:47 Hilary Bailey wrote:
    > This is my second attempt to understand Ruby. I completely read 1)
    > "Beginning Ruby- From Novice to Professional (which to me is a
    > completely waste of time), 2) The Pragmatic approach to Ruby (which is
    > incomplete)3)Ruby in 20 minutes, 4)other 15 to 20 minutes cute intro
    > programs 5) Shoes and now 6)The Book of Ruby by Huw Collingourne, which
    > seems like a bible without a compiler, which may be totally useless.
    >
    > Is there anyone out there that could make my experience to Ruby
    > practical and meaningful? As noted previously, I am a school teacher
    > trying to create an education database software for administrators and
    > teachers which will hold educational institutions accountable for the
    > performance of their school district. My only programming experience is
    > the confusion I had trying to read and comprehend the above sources that
    > do not offer a stable compiler or the appropriate programs that will go
    > hand in hand with their book or resource for Ruby.
    >
    > Is there a free compiler and other supporting software that I can use to
    > make my so far miserable learning Ruby experience worth a while? So far
    > I am still sold on the idea that Ruby is the programing language to
    > know, but at this moment I really need HELP.
    >
    > Tk in advance,
    >
    > Hilary


    First, you don't need a compiler to use ruby. Ruby is an interpreted language,
    which means that to execute a program written in ruby, you pass it to the
    source file (which is a plain text file) to the ruby interpreter which will
    take care of interpreting it and executing it. There's no compilation step
    involved in this, which is the reason you found no reference to a compiler.

    As for books, you can try with the first edition of Programming Ruby, which is
    freely availlable online at http://www.ruby-doc.org/docs/ProgrammingRuby/.
    It's written for an old version of ruby, but it still is useful. There are new
    editions for new versions of ruby (edition 2 for ruby 1.8 and edition 3 for
    ruby 1.9), but you have to buy them.

    Regarding supporting software, that depends which operating system you use.

    If you're on Windows, then there's the RubyInstaller project
    (http://rubyinstaller.org/) which provides the basic tool needed to work with
    ruby (I'm not completely sure about what it provides, as I don't use Windows
    myself).

    If you're on Linux, then ruby is surely included in your distribution.

    If you're on another operating system, then I don't know what your options
    are, but surely there's someone else who knows.

    I hope this helps

    Stefano
     
    Stefano Crocco, Jan 21, 2011
    #2
    1. Advertising

  3. I don't mean to sound condescending, but if you've not programmed before, perhaps you are underestimating the problem of jumping two hurdles at once - learning to program, and learning the Ruby language. Programming requires a paradigm-shift which, of course, is difficult to explain to those who have not made it.

    It sounds as if you have read a lot of books and got not much from them. Why not try a different approach - try coding some simple programs for yourself. If you are unable to access the Ruby interpreter, there are websites that let you try it online (for example,http://tryruby.org/ ).

    Go back to the book that you found least confusing and type out a couple of examples for yourself. Try changing them. Code a simple program from scratch -- say, to ask for a series of numbers at the command prompt and print their sum.

    And of course come back here and ask all the basic questions you like. It's the basic questions that are the really deep ones. Good luck.

    --
    Never go to bed mad. Stay up and fight.
    -- Phyllis Diller, "Phyllis Diller's Housekeeping Hints"
     
    Shadowfirebird, Jan 21, 2011
    #3
  4. On Fri, Jan 21, 2011 at 11:13 AM, Hilary Bailey <> w=
    rote:
    >
    > Is there anyone out there that could make my experience to Ruby
    > practical and meaningful? As noted previously, I am a school teacher
    > trying to create an education database software for administrators and
    > teachers which will hold educational institutions accountable for the
    > performance of their school district. My only programming experience is
    > the confusion I had trying to read and comprehend the above sources that
    > do not offer a stable compiler or the appropriate programs that will go
    > hand in hand with their book or resource for Ruby.


    Well, one hurdle at a time. First you need to learn to program, and
    then you should tackle Ruby.

    Fortunately, we can kill two birds with one stone:
    http://pine.fm/LearnToProgram/

    This will teach you how to program, and does it using Ruby. :)

    The next step would be reading up about databases, and GUI frameworks.
    Either something like the wxWidget toolkit, which allows you to write
    software that runs on a computer, or a web framework, like Rails, or
    Sinatra (from your problem description, I'd go with a web framework,
    if the database isn't intended for just one school).

    However, you won't go fast, unless you can dedicate a good amount of
    time to the task. If you spend an hour or two each day to learn
    programming and then the technologies you might need, let's call it a
    month or two until you can tackle your original problem.

    > Is there a free compiler and other supporting software that I can use to
    > make my so far miserable learning Ruby experience worth a while? =A0So fa=

    r
    > I am still sold on the idea that Ruby is the programing language to
    > know, but at this moment I really need HELP.


    Well, as others have pointed out: Ruby is not a compiled language.
    You'll need a text editor and/or an integrated development environment
    to write Ruby programs (also called "scripts" from time to time).

    Suggestions as to what to use as an editor/IDE depend highly on your
    OS (Notepad is fine, but it lacks a couple of features that make life
    easier). A few suggestions:
    I like Notepad++ for "quick and dirty" jobs, it's free and available
    for Windows.
    My preferred Ruby IDE is Netbeans, which is also free, and runs on
    Java, so is available for all the major OSs.

    And, once you are stuck, or have questions about Ruby/programming,
    feel free to send another message to this forum. :)

    --=20
    Phillip Gawlowski

    Though the folk I have met,
    (Ah, how soon!) they forget
    When I've moved on to some other place,
    There may be one or two,
    When I've played and passed through,
    Who'll remember my song or my face.
     
    Phillip Gawlowski, Jan 21, 2011
    #4
  5. "Hilary Bailey" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > This is my second attempt to understand Ruby. I completely read 1)
    > "Beginning Ruby- From Novice to Professional (which to me is a
    > completely waste of time), 2) The Pragmatic approach to Ruby (which is
    > incomplete)3)Ruby in 20 minutes, 4)other 15 to 20 minutes cute intro
    > programs 5) Shoes and now 6)The Book of Ruby by Huw Collingourne, which
    > seems like a bible without a compiler, which may be totally useless.
    >
    > Is there anyone out there that could make my experience to Ruby
    > practical and meaningful? As noted previously, I am a school teacher
    > trying to create an education database software for administrators and
    > teachers which will hold educational institutions accountable for the
    > performance of their school district. My only programming experience is
    > the confusion I had trying to read and comprehend the above sources that
    > do not offer a stable compiler or the appropriate programs that will go
    > hand in hand with their book or resource for Ruby.
    >
    > Is there a free compiler and other supporting software that I can use to
    > make my so far miserable learning Ruby experience worth a while? So far
    > I am still sold on the idea that Ruby is the programing language to
    > know, but at this moment I really need HELP.
    >
    > Tk in advance,
    >
    > Hilary


    Hello Hilary:

    In addition to the suggestions provided by others you may also want to look
    at this http://www.troubleshooters.com/codecorn/ruby/basictutorial.htm to
    learn the Ruby language. It uses Linux so the way it describes running Ruby
    programs won't work for Windows and some of the examples given are a little
    strange (e.g. the use of three ellipses for loops, which is often more
    confusing than using Ruby's two ellipse format, and the use of the "length"
    method like "for ss in 0...presidents.length" in loops which could just be
    replaced by "for ss in presidents"). These (and tons of other resource
    you'll find by typing "ruby tutorial" into Google) are also useful
    http://www.fincher.org/tips/Languages/Ruby/ ,
    http://www.digitalmediaminute.com/article/3398/ruby-programming-tutorial .

    I find Ruby a very easy (and enjoyable) language to learn (like Basic was
    many years ago) but it's a big step between knowing a language and knowing
    how to design and build a database applications. If your goal is to build
    a database application to share with a number of people spread over a large
    geographical areas then you'll eventually need to learn something about
    database design, decide what database you want to use, and decide if you
    want to create a desktop application (using something like wxRuby which is
    wxWidgets for Ruby) or a web application (using something like Ruby on
    Rails, also called RoR or Rails) .

    Desktop applications tend to be easier to write but harder to distribute and
    fix because you'll need to copy them (or any fixes) to each computer that
    needs them. Web applications tend to be harder to write because you'll
    need more infrastructure (computers and software) and understanding of
    programming specialties (i.e. security, multi-user environment design, web
    architecture) but are easier to distribute and fix because you'll only need
    to provide folks with the location (i.e. a web address), user id and
    password of your web application and can fix things in one spot, locally on
    your web server.

    If your target ends up being a Windows desktop application, I find it easier
    to build desktop applications in tools like Embarcadero Delphi or Microsoft
    Visual Studio .NET and often suggest that clients with little programming
    experience use something like Microsoft Access because these tools have
    integrated development-environments, database builders, GUI builders and
    deployment tools that make things easier out-of-the-box. I suggest this
    because even though Ruby is a very nice languages (my favourite actually),
    the language is a small part of the overall picture when building a complex
    application. Unfortunately, Ruby is usually my last choice for desktop
    projects because of the complexities of pulling together and predictably
    deploying all the pieces (i.e. database drivers, GUI, libraries). Ruby also
    presents challenges for speed, protection of intellectual property and data
    privacy. I recommend you dig deeper on these topics and decide for
    yourself. I just wanted to warn you before you got too deep then frustrated
    and blamed Ruby for your pain when the pain is probably related to many
    other things. If your target ends up being a web application then Ruby on
    Rails is a good choice (even through, for similar reasons, I've found
    Embarcadero Delphi Intraweb better for the web applications I've needed to
    build).

    If you decide to use Ruby to develop your database application you should
    consider purchasing a robust code editor like JetBrains RubyMine
    (http://www.jetbrains.com/ruby/ ) which can help you be more productive
    (especailly for coding error identifcation and debugging) when writing
    either Ruby or Ruby on Rails applications.

    I learned Ruby with the book "Programming Ruby" and Ruby-on-Rails with the
    book "Agile Web Development with Rails". Both are authored by Dave Thomas
    and published by The Programmatic Programmers.

    Michael
     
    Michael Brooks, Jan 22, 2011
    #5
  6. "Michael Brooks" <> wrote in message
    news:7is_o.165$...
    >
    > I learned Ruby with the book "Programming Ruby" and Ruby-on-Rails with the
    > book "Agile Web Development with Rails". Both are authored by Dave Thomas
    > and published by The Programmatic Programmers.
    >
    > Michael


    Oops... I meant to say "The Pragmatic Programmers" at the end of that last
    sentences. Darn spell checking out-smarted me. Their stuff is available
    here http://pragprog.com/ .

    Michael
     
    Michael Brooks, Jan 22, 2011
    #6
  7. Hilary Bailey

    Victor Blaga Guest

    [Note: parts of this message were removed to make it a legal post.]

    If you have a little .NET experience you could try using IronRuby. It could
    combine the familiarity of .NET way of building applications (especially
    Windows Forms) with the Ruby language specifics. You are familiar with Java
    you could try JRuby and build a Swing application using Ruby.
     
    Victor Blaga, Jan 22, 2011
    #7
  8. Hilary Bailey wrote in post #976477:
    > Is there anyone out there that could make my experience to Ruby
    > practical and meaningful? As noted previously, I am a school teacher
    > trying to create an education database software for administrators and
    > teachers which will hold educational institutions accountable for the
    > performance of their school district. My only programming experience is
    > the confusion I had trying to read and comprehend the above sources that
    > do not offer a stable compiler or the appropriate programs that will go
    > hand in hand with their book or resource for Ruby.


    A district-wide database and interface is not a trivial project. Coding
    it from scratch is a challenge for a seasoned developer in any language.

    Why do want to do it in Ruby and why are you doing it from scratch?

    Jose
    .......................................................
    Jose Hales-Garcia
    UCLA Department of Statistics

    --
    Posted via http://www.ruby-forum.com/.
     
    Jose Hales-Garcia, Jan 22, 2011
    #8
  9. Hilary Bailey

    Stu Guest

    On Sat, Jan 22, 2011 at 10:39 AM, Jose Hales-Garcia <> wr=
    ote:
    > Hilary Bailey wrote in post #976477:
    >> Is there anyone out there that could make my experience to Ruby
    >> practical and meaningful? As noted previously, I am a school teacher
    >> trying to create an education database software for administrators and
    >> teachers which will hold educational institutions accountable for the
    >> performance of their school district. My only programming experience is
    >> the confusion I had trying to read and comprehend the above sources that
    >> do not offer a stable compiler or the appropriate programs that will go
    >> hand in hand with their book or resource for Ruby.

    >
    > A district-wide database and interface is not a trivial project. =A0Codin=

    g
    > it from scratch is a challenge for a seasoned developer in any language.
    >
    > Why do want to do it in Ruby and why are you doing it from scratch?
    >
    > Jose
    > .......................................................
    > Jose Hales-Garcia
    > UCLA Department of Statistics
    >
    > --
    > Posted via http://www.ruby-forum.com/.
    >
    >


    Actually why is this being done in-house as opposed to outsourcing it
    from a professional is a better question.
     
    Stu, Jan 22, 2011
    #9
  10. [Note: parts of this message were removed to make it a legal post.]

    I recommnd learn for the beginning and study every sintax before another,
    and pratice. :D good luck!

    2011/1/22 Stu <>

    > On Sat, Jan 22, 2011 at 10:39 AM, Jose Hales-Garcia <>
    > wrote:
    > > Hilary Bailey wrote in post #976477:
    > >> Is there anyone out there that could make my experience to Ruby
    > >> practical and meaningful? As noted previously, I am a school teacher
    > >> trying to create an education database software for administrators and
    > >> teachers which will hold educational institutions accountable for the
    > >> performance of their school district. My only programming experience is
    > >> the confusion I had trying to read and comprehend the above sources that
    > >> do not offer a stable compiler or the appropriate programs that will go
    > >> hand in hand with their book or resource for Ruby.

    > >
    > > A district-wide database and interface is not a trivial project. Coding
    > > it from scratch is a challenge for a seasoned developer in any language.
    > >
    > > Why do want to do it in Ruby and why are you doing it from scratch?
    > >
    > > Jose
    > > .......................................................
    > > Jose Hales-Garcia
    > > UCLA Department of Statistics
    > >
    > > --
    > > Posted via http://www.ruby-forum.com/.
    > >
    > >

    >
    > Actually why is this being done in-house as opposed to outsourcing it
    > from a professional is a better question.
    >
    >
     
    Sergio Fernandes, Jan 23, 2011
    #10
  11. Stefano Crocco wrote in post #976481:
    > On Friday 21 January 2011 19:13:47 Hilary Bailey wrote:
    >> teachers which will hold educational institutions accountable for the
    >> Tk in advance,
    >>
    >> Hilary

    >
    > First, you don't need a compiler to use ruby. Ruby is an interpreted
    > language,
    > which means that to execute a program written in ruby, you pass it to
    > the
    > source file (which is a plain text file) to the ruby interpreter which
    > will
    > take care of interpreting it and executing it. There's no compilation
    > step
    > involved in this, which is the reason you found no reference to a
    > compiler.
    >
    > As for books, you can try with the first edition of Programming Ruby,
    > which is
    > freely availlable online at
    > http://www.ruby-doc.org/docs/ProgrammingRuby/.
    > It's written for an old version of ruby, but it still is useful. There
    > are new
    > editions for new versions of ruby (edition 2 for ruby 1.8 and edition 3
    > for
    > ruby 1.9), but you have to buy them.
    >
    > Regarding supporting software, that depends which operating system you
    > use.
    >
    > If you're on Windows, then there's the RubyInstaller project
    > (http://rubyinstaller.org/) which provides the basic tool needed to work
    > with
    > ruby (I'm not completely sure about what it provides, as I don't use
    > Windows
    > myself).
    >
    > If you're on Linux, then ruby is surely included in your distribution.
    >
    > If you're on another operating system, then I don't know what your
    > options
    > are, but surely there's someone else who knows.
    >
    > I hope this helps
    >
    > Stefano


    Hi Stefano,
    Thanks for such speedy response. The Rubi community is really
    impressive. I was under the impression that after having some programing
    language skilss and with some training I would be able to put together a
    # of applications and build a program computer program. I thought that
    just like how individuals could use some of Apple's apps, put them
    together then build a game, I believed that eventually this could be
    done with Ruby and its supportive/compatible applications.

    Now facing this reality, would it help if I used Linux instead of
    Windows 7?

    --
    Posted via http://www.ruby-forum.com/.
     
    Hilary Bailey, Jan 23, 2011
    #11
  12. Hi Stefano,
    Thanks for such speedy response. The Rubi community is really
    impressive. I was under the impression that after having some programing
    language skilss and with some training I would be able to put together a
    # of applications and build a program computer program. I thought that
    just like how individuals could use some of Apple's apps, put them
    together then build a game, I believed that eventually this could be
    done with Ruby and its supportive/compatible applications.

    Now facing this reality, would it help if I used Linux instead of
    Windows 7?

    --
    Posted via http://www.ruby-forum.com/.
     
    Hilary Bailey, Jan 23, 2011
    #12
  13. Shadowfirebird wrote in post #976488:
    > I don't mean to sound condescending, but if you've not programmed
    > before, perhaps you are underestimating the problem of jumping two
    > hurdles at once - learning to program, and learning the Ruby language.
    > Programming requires a paradigm-shift which, of course, is difficult to
    > explain to those who have not made it.
    >
    > It sounds as if you have read a lot of books and got not much from them.
    > Why not try a different approach - try coding some simple programs for
    > yourself. If you are unable to access the Ruby interpreter, there are
    > websites that let you try it online (for example,http://tryruby.org/ ).
    >
    > Go back to the book that you found least confusing and type out a couple
    > of examples for yourself. Try changing them. Code a simple program
    > from scratch -- say, to ask for a series of numbers at the command
    > prompt and print their sum.
    >
    > And of course come back here and ask all the basic questions you like.
    > It's the basic questions that are the really deep ones. Good luck.


    Shadowfirebird,
    Thank you for the advice.

    --
    Posted via http://www.ruby-forum.com/.
     
    Hilary Bailey, Jan 23, 2011
    #13
  14. Hilary Bailey, Jan 23, 2011
    #14
  15. On Saturday, January 22, 2011 10:44:56 pm Hilary Bailey wrote:
    > I was under the impression that after having some programing
    > language skilss and with some training I would be able to put together a
    > # of applications and build a program computer program. I thought that
    > just like how individuals could use some of Apple's apps, put them
    > together then build a game, I believed that eventually this could be
    > done with Ruby and its supportive/compatible applications.


    I'm not sure quite what you mean here.

    If you mean create a brand-new app from scratch using something like Apple's
    Xcode tools, and then having a standalone app (without forcing people to
    install Ruby), there are options for that. I haven't ever had to do this, but
    the project that looks the coolest for this purpose is Rawr
    (http://rawr.rubyforge.org/).

    If you mean take several existing apps and mash them together into a new app,
    that really depends which apps you're talking about. It could be a five minute
    job of writing the appropriate glue code, essentially snapping stuff together
    like legos, or it could be a truly impossible task, like trying to attach an
    aircraft carrier to a 747 and make a useful vehicle out of it when you don't
    have access to the blueprints of either.

    For what you described:

    "I am a school teacher trying to create an education database software for
    administrators and teachers which will hold educational institutions
    accountable for the performance of their school district."

    I'm guessing you mean the former -- you're wanting to build something from
    scratch, and you were just wanting to know how to actually get an app out of
    it, right?

    I'd also imagine that this sort of thing would make more sense as a web app.
    The advantages of that approach would be that you don't have to create an
    installer and make sure it installs and runs properly on every single person's
    computer, you just need to make sure they have a decent web browser.
    Basically, you'd get to install whatever OS and software you want on whatever
    server(s) it runs on, and to everyone else, it's just a website.

    The main disadvantage is that it would be a _lot_ more of a learning curve --
    you'd want to know at least HTML and CSS, if not also HTTP (easy) and
    JavaScript, in addition to Ruby.

    > Now facing this reality, would it help if I used Linux instead of
    > Windows 7?


    Maybe.

    Ruby definitely seems designed to run on a Unix of some sort, so if you want
    to make the Ruby part easy on yourself, some sort of Linux would help. So
    would BSD, OS X, even Solaris.

    But learning an entirely new OS at the same time as you learn to program
    sounds like a daunting task.
     
    David Masover, Jan 23, 2011
    #15
  16. David Masover wrote in post #976879:
    > On Saturday, January 22, 2011 10:44:56 pm Hilary Bailey wrote:
    >> I was under the impression that after having some programing
    >> language skilss and with some training I would be able to put together a
    >> # of applications and build a program computer program. I thought that
    >> just like how individuals could use some of Apple's apps, put them
    >> together then build a game, I believed that eventually this could be
    >> done with Ruby and its supportive/compatible applications.

    >
    > I'm not sure quite what you mean here.
    >
    > If you mean create a brand-new app from scratch using something like
    > Apple's
    > Xcode tools, and then having a standalone app (without forcing people to
    > install Ruby), there are options for that. I haven't ever had to do
    > this, but
    > the project that looks the coolest for this purpose is Rawr
    > (http://rawr.rubyforge.org/).
    >
    > If you mean take several existing apps and mash them together into a new
    > app,
    > that really depends which apps you're talking about. It could be a five
    > minute
    > job of writing the appropriate glue code, essentially snapping stuff
    > together
    > like legos, or it could be a truly impossible task, like trying to
    > attach an
    > aircraft carrier to a 747 and make a useful vehicle out of it when you
    > don't
    > have access to the blueprints of either.
    >
    > For what you described:
    >
    > "I am a school teacher trying to create an education database software
    > for
    > administrators and teachers which will hold educational institutions
    > accountable for the performance of their school district."
    >
    > I'm guessing you mean the former -- you're wanting to build something
    > from
    > scratch, and you were just wanting to know how to actually get an app
    > out of
    > it, right?
    >
    > I'd also imagine that this sort of thing would make more sense as a web
    > app.
    > The advantages of that approach would be that you don't have to create
    > an
    > installer and make sure it installs and runs properly on every single
    > person's
    > computer, you just need to make sure they have a decent web browser.
    > Basically, you'd get to install whatever OS and software you want on
    > whatever
    > server(s) it runs on, and to everyone else, it's just a website.
    >
    > The main disadvantage is that it would be a _lot_ more of a learning
    > curve --
    > you'd want to know at least HTML and CSS, if not also HTTP (easy) and
    > JavaScript, in addition to Ruby.
    >
    >> Now facing this reality, would it help if I used Linux instead of
    >> Windows 7?

    >
    > Maybe.
    >
    > Ruby definitely seems designed to run on a Unix of some sort, so if you
    > want
    > to make the Ruby part easy on yourself, some sort of Linux would help.
    > So
    > would BSD, OS X, even Solaris.
    >
    > But learning an entirely new OS at the same time as you learn to program
    > sounds like a daunting task.


    Hi David,
    Thanks a $llion for responding. Based on your response, where do I
    start? Is there a specific HTML guide?. What is CSS and which one or
    version should I use? And I guess the same applies to HTTP and
    JavaScript. To a novice like me,I am still trying to piece together an
    approach to learning how to program using and becoming a part of the
    Open Source community. The difficulty is that the kind individuals like
    yourself, who have answered my call for help have been tossing at me so
    many programs that end-up adding to the problem. Therefore I am going to
    take all the suggestions, place them in a learning sequential pattern
    and ask you again for your advice. At this moment the web option seems
    to be the closest answer to what I have been searching for. Getting
    there is the problem. I am willing to spends the grueling time learning
    it.

    --
    Posted via http://www.ruby-forum.com/.
     
    Hilary Bailey, Jan 23, 2011
    #16
  17. Hi David,
    Thanks a $llion for responding. Based on your response, where do I
    start? Is there a specific HTML guide?. What is CSS and which one or
    version should I use? And I guess the same applies to HTTP and
    JavaScript. To a novice like me,I am still trying to piece together an
    approach to learning how to program using and becoming a part of the
    Open Source community. The difficulty is that the kind individuals like
    yourself, who have answered my call for help have been tossing at me so
    many programs that end-up adding to the problem. Therefore I am going to
    take all the suggestions, place them in a learning sequential pattern
    and ask you again for your advice. At this moment the web option seems
    to be the closest answer to what I have been searching for. Getting
    there is the problem. I am willing to spends the grueling time learning
    it.

    --
    Posted via http://www.ruby-forum.com/.
     
    Hilary Bailey, Jan 23, 2011
    #17
  18. Hilary Bailey

    Josh Cheek Guest

    [Note: parts of this message were removed to make it a legal post.]

    On Sat, Jan 22, 2011 at 10:44 PM, Hilary Bailey <>wrote:

    >
    > Now facing this reality, would it help if I used Linux instead of
    > Windows 7?
    >
    >

    I think you should not do this. It is tempting to think "if only I did this,
    or had that, everything would be so much easier". This is why I own so many
    books :p

    Linux is a whole topic of its own. I suppose there might be some rewards to
    using it, but certainly not enough to warrant switching, for someone in your
    situation. IMO, Linux suffers serious usability issues, which is why I use a
    Mac. I expect switching would just be a hindrance.

    Windows will be fine, if your gems are just not working (make sure you have
    the devkit), or you have to really beat your head against the wall to get
    things to install and play nicely, then maybe you will have a reason to
    switch, but I never had any issues like that when I used Windows, and there
    are a number of people really putting a lot of work in to make the Windows
    environment nice to use Ruby with.

    So far, it sounds like your issue is that you are not getting the
    information out of the books that they were hoping you would get out of
    them. That is not an environment problem, so I think you should stick with
    Windows.

    I think the problem is the way you are trying to get information out of the
    books you have / the way the books are guiding you to get information out.
    The Revolutionist's Handbook has a maxim that I have found to be true in my
    own life: "Activity is the only road to knowledge". When you go to learn
    from these books, do you sit down and read them, try to piece the
    information into some sort of cohesive bit of information, and then move on
    to the next thing? Or do you read them, sit down and try to use them in a
    program, see if they work the way they are described, see how you can take
    them and combine them in a new way to do something interesting to you? I
    suspect you have written extremely few programs by your confusion about the
    compiler. That is not a problem in itself, but it will prevent you from
    learning. I believe to "get it", you must ground the theory in some sort of
    application that you comprehend on a more fundamental level. And playing
    with the material out of your own creativity, writing your own code,
    fabricating your own solution out of the building blocks the books give you,
    I think, is the best way to translate the theory of Ruby programming into
    something you internally understand.

    I hope you don't find that to be offensive, I am just trying to express the
    realization I've had to face in my own life, that there are good and bad
    ways of learning. When you are using the good ways, you will amaze yourself
    by how much you can pick up so quickly, and when you are using the bad ways,
    you will make almost no progress, and be very frustrated by how even things
    you know are simple turn out to be complicated.

    Descriptions, written in English, are just abstractions for the actual,
    concrete behaviour of the thing. They have their place, and can be a
    wonderful way to communicate, but you must first understand how the
    abstraction maps to the reality. You first have to have the foundations of a
    mental model to map the new knowledge to. And that, I think, comes from
    doing and playing.
     
    Josh Cheek, Jan 23, 2011
    #18
  19. On Sun, Jan 23, 2011 at 3:07 PM, Hilary Bailey <> wrote:
    >
    > Thanks a $llion for responding. Based on your response, where do I
    > start? Is there a specific HTML guide?. What is CSS and which one or
    > version should I use? And I guess the same applies to HTTP and
    > JavaScript.


    There's dozens of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript guides out there, but a
    good starting point to learn HTML, CSS and JavaScript is
    w3schools.com.

    Keep in mind, that those three are different, but related, technologies:
    - HTML describes a site.
    - CSS makes a site pretty.
    - JavaScript manipulates a site.

    As for versions of those: Take a look at w3schools.com. What you can
    learn there will be supported by pretty much any recent browser (HTML
    5 and CSS 3.0 aren't wildly deployed yet, and still in flux, though
    the current generation of browsers is getting better at them: IE9,
    Firefox 4, Chrome dev-channel).

    You don't really need to learn HTTP (fortunately): If you decide on a
    web-based solution, your webserver will take care of that. At most,
    deal with error codes, of which you need to know 3:
    404: Site not found.
    500: Internal Server Error (a catch all, meaning that something in
    your webserver went wrong).
    200: The client request could be processed.

    Those 3 are important to troubleshoot an application.

    Also: Web servers, database servers, HTTP stuff etc. is more the
    domain of a system administrator.

    > To a novice like me,I am still trying to piece together an
    > approach to learning how to program using and becoming a part of the
    > Open Source community. The difficulty is that the kind individuals like
    > yourself, who have answered my call for help have been tossing at me so
    > many programs that end-up adding to the problem. Therefore I am going to
    > take all the suggestions, place them in a learning sequential pattern
    > and ask you again for your advice.


    Well, you need two tools to develop Ruby applications: A texteditor,
    and Ruby itself. Everything else is gravy. ;)

    For web stuff, it helps to have a number of browsers installed, to see
    if your markup code and JavaScript work as you think they should.
    However, if you can find a web designer, they'll happily do that for
    you, or grab a template for HTML and CSS off of a website, like
    oswd.org or opensourcetemplates.org .


    Of course, you'll want to look out for libraries that do what you want
    to do, without you having to deal with the problem yourself, since
    that means you can focus on your own application, rather than having
    to deal with Yet Another Problem (we usually call that "yak shaving":
    it's something you have to do, but isn't really getting you towards
    solving the problem).

    That can be database wrappers (means to interface with a database, and
    doing so in a Ruby-ish syntax), or Markdown to format text without
    having to deal with the gritty HTML, and so on.

    Searching the web for "<my problem> Ruby library" usually helps, as
    does taking a look at http://ruby-toolbox.com/

    > At this moment the web option seems
    > to be the closest answer to what I have been searching for. Getting
    > there is the problem. I am willing to spends the grueling time learning
    > it.


    A good choice for that is, probably, Rails. You can easily install
    Ruby and Rails with the RailsInstaller (railsinstaller.org), which
    bundles all you need in one package, and you don't really need a web
    server, or anything else to run a Rails app in development mode (which
    is the default).

    Rails has the other benefit that there are a lot of tutorials and
    howtos to be found, and the Rails community one forum over can be
    helpful, too.

    Another very good resource is http://railscasts.com/, and I've heard
    only good things about PeepCode.com's webcasts (which are pay for, but
    everybody is raving about them).

    While all of this seems like a lot, you can divide this with ease into
    several steps:
    - Learn Ruby and Rails (or another web framework, like Sinatra)
    - Pick up the necessities of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript
    - Learn about application security (this is very, very important on
    the internet!)
    - Learn about deployment options for Rails (or the web framework you chose)
    --
    Phillip Gawlowski

    Though the folk I have met,
    (Ah, how soon!) they forget
    When I've moved on to some other place,
    There may be one or two,
    When I've played and passed through,
    Who'll remember my song or my face.
     
    Phillip Gawlowski, Jan 23, 2011
    #19
  20. Hilary Bailey wrote in post #976477:
    > This is my second attempt to understand Ruby.


    What happened the first time - did you give up or try something else?

    > My only programming experience is
    > the confusion I had trying to read and comprehend the above sources


    Have you never used another programming system? Why did you choose Ruby?

    Is this application for you, a closed group of users or do you want to
    market it?

    --
    Posted via http://www.ruby-forum.com/.
     
    Mike Stephens, Jan 23, 2011
    #20
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