Learn How to Program
I recently took up an interest in programming – no, not radio programming – but telling computers what to do. Creating technology. Sharing it with the world. For a bunch of 1’s and 0’s, it is harder than it sounds. But not because programming is actually hard. That is the easy part. The hard part is figuring out what is the right way to go about learning the right programming language. There are dozens to choose from, so how do you choose?
Assuming you are totally new to this, which I was a few months ago – here is what I would go with. My goals are to create web applications, databases and cool webpages that I can share with others, without spending 4 years learning a language. A month would be preferred. So I went with Ruby on Rails.
So how to go about learning Ruby on Rails? I tried all the tutorials that are popular on Google, which all have their shortcomings:
Ruby on Rails Tutorial – Learn Rails by Example – Is not that useful because it is written assuming you are on the Mac OS and using the Textmate text editor…so if you are a newbie, it is hard to follow along. And you should probably learn how to build stuff with the command prompt rather than relying on the text editor to do some of the lifting.
Ruby on Rails Guides – Sponsored by the folks at Ruby on Rails, it really isn’t meant for beginners and is hard to navigate if you don’t already know what you are doing.
Rails for Zombies – Is a popular video, but just doesn’t take you far enough to go out on your own.
The winner is hands down Agile Web Development on Rails (4th Edition). It has none of the drawbacks of other popular tutorials and takes you from total novice to expert with about two months of effort. I can lose my patience with my computer quickly and don’t really know anything about programming, but this tutorial just made the whole experience very smooth. Unfortunately, the tutorial costs $24. I am so cheap that I tried all the other ones before going with this one – so at least save yourself the time.