First steps with Ruby on Rails

Ruby on Rails project logoAs any self respecting software developer I jumped on the Rails bandwagon too. It will probably not be something I will be using a lot in the near future, but staying informed never hurts.

So of I went to a local bookstore to do some browsing and this resulted in purchasing a book called Agile Web Development with Rails: A Pragmatic Guide (Pragmatic Programmers) by Thomas and Hansson. The upper left corner says “The Pragmatic Programmers”, which resulted in me feeling good about buying this book, since I loved “The Pragmatic Programmer: From Journeyman to Master“.

Agile Web Development with Rails: A Pragmatic Guide (Pragmatic Programmers)The Rails book is very well written. I have not gone through it yet from cover to cover. Right now it’s the book I’m reading at home when I require some privacy. 😉 I find a toilet a place of serenity and quiet contemplation. Or an excellent place to focus one’s complete attention to the contents of a book.

I am running a PowerBook G4 here with OSX. And as the book stated, OSX comes with Ruby pre-installed but requires some tinkering. I opted for the latest Ruby version. So I went with a OpenDarwin Ruby/RubyGems/Rails install. No problem in that area.

The Pragmatic Programmer: From Journeyman to MasterNext up was a database. The Rails book says MySQL is good. So I go with that, although I think an in process DB like SQLite would do just as well for me. Let’s just say it’s been a while since I did a MySQL install. Although it isn’t really necessary as far as I am aware, but I couldn’t get network connectivity to work with MySQL 5. Turned out to be really stupid. Of-course I need to give a user the right on the MySQL instance to actually connect through the network.

Once I got MySQL sorted the fun could begin. Right now I just about finished building the web-shop cart. See, the book uses a simple e-shop as an example. Through the course of about 8 chapters you can build a basic shopping experience. I like this tutorial approach when taking my first steps with a new framework.

MySQL logoIn the end I guess I will get a pretty decent overview of Rails. And while I do get the feeling Rails can be a huge timesaver, it does still feel awkward to me that you should do it the Rails way or preferably not with Rails at all. The whole programming by sensible default is still a bit jarring. I guess because I am more used to rocket science style over-engineered Java systems. Not the most effective use of Java in my opinion. But hey, I’m no software architect yet, so why should anyone listen to my opinion. 😉 Also I can’t quite get that Ruby syntax in my fingers yet. Perhaps I should look into buying the pickaxe book too.

I am very curious about where Ruby on Rails will be in a few years. Although many people claim that it’s not ready for prime-time yet, that it’s still a technology too new for “enterprise implementations”. (That’s one term for your BS-bingo list.) I think that Ruby on Rails may actually be further along and actually quite capable and ready for prime-time. I guess time will tell. It is an interesting framework and takes some refreshing approaches, so even when you are not going to use it this or next year do take a peak at it. Most likely some of the concepts of Ruby on Rails will actually be useful for your regular dayjob.

Oh and about the book, yes it is an excellent read on Ruby on Rails if you like a tutorial style read.