ruby on rails – one step at a time


railsdotnext is a how-to site. It’s a guide, a recipe book, an instructional work about Ruby on Rails. There are many such sites on the internet already – too many, in fact – but this site will take a slightly different approach.

I’m a professional web applications developer with a great deal of perl experience, some java experience, and I’m a newcomer to Ruby and to Rails. I’m learning by reading and by doing because that’s how I learn best. I also learn by teaching so this site will be helping me while it’s helping you.

What’s different about this Rails site? For one thing, I’ll be taking things one step at a time. No skipped steps, nothing glossed over (*), nothing left as an exercise for the reader. Readers (and programmers) get enough mental exercise already. You didn’t come here for exercise, you came here to find out how to get something done. So I’m going to do it and show you every step along the way.

I’ll also make an attempt to explain some of the How that goes into the process and not just the process itself. If you’re like me and learning the system by doing some small projects, rote copying and pasting won’t get you anywhere in the long run. I’ve been through dozens of walkthroughs and forum threads learning how to do all these things and the How element is the most glaring omission among most of them. I aim to fix that.

So that’s what I’m about and what this site is about. I hope it’s of some help to someone. If it is, or if it isn’t, drop me a line and let me know. I’d love to hear from you.

(*) Sometimes a procedure will come along that’s outside the scope of the guide. In that case, I’ll gloss over the step and explain why. If there’s enough demand, I might do a a mini-guide explaining that process. Example: Set up a database server, create a database schema, and establish all the connection permissions and parameters for it. This is a critical element of most web applications, but it’s not about Ruby or Rails and the number of different scenarios that need to be covered get scary very fast. So database administration details will generally be glossed over unless the commands are rudimentary enough to be common to virtually any database server.

“Coffee is my drug of choice.”