I just had a few weeks off from school and work, so I thought I’d take a look at Ruby on Rails, which has been the “next big thing” in web programming for over a year now. Two books and over a month later, I can say that I’ve been impressed with that test drive and I think I’ll devote some more time to learning more about how to use it. As a test project, I’m working on re-writing Quotational using Ruby on Rails to get some experience beyond just typing in some example code from books.
I enjoy the structure that Rails offers, and that way it has of making web programming fun again. I’ve used PHP for several years now, and I find myself rewriting things continuously just to make things better. While this has certainly made me a better programmer, the steeper learning curve of Rails lets me do more in a shorter period of time although the degree of difficulty is higher. Rails brings a common framework with it, and one that seems to be more accepted in my experience than any PHP framework that I’ve worked with.
So far, the major drawback has been the availability of free resources for the Rails newbie, although this is a problem that is increasingly getting smaller. My initial impetus to take that first step toward learning Ruby on Rails was an offer for a free PDF book from Sitepoint, a deal that has since expired but is still definitely worth paying money for. That book was a great resource for me, and I’ve since gone on to buy a similar book, Agile Web Development with Rails. Those two books provide a lot of the same information, but reading through them both helped me pick up on things that I would have missed otherwise. From here I may not have a lot of time to devote to learning Ruby on Rails, but I definitely plan on continuing that effort.