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Desktop Developer discovering the web
4 Posts
Desktop Developer discovering the web

I'm very interested in starting with ROR, however I do not know where to start, I've a background as a developer of desktop application, the web is new to me, there seems to be a lot of things to master in order to become an efficient ROR developer, So I'm a bit confuse on what should I learn first : HTTP,DHTML,XML,DOM,Javascript, CSS and then Ruby on Rails ?

I'm aware that ROR does many of the low level dirty work for you, so it hides the complexity from you

So my questions are :

1/ Do you think someone can be a good ROR developer without mastering the following technologies : HTTP,DHTML,XML,DOM,Javascript, CSS

2/ Which books would you advise me to read (ideally in chronological order)

3/ Does the learning curve can be pretty steep for someone who do not come from a web development culture (ie : Java/J2EE)

Best Regards from France, Tarek Demiati

Ooops, I forgot to mentionned that I would also appreciate book recommendations for : HTTP,DHTML,XML,DOM,Javascript, CSS, Ruby, Rails

Hi, I had a same problem as you, two years ago. I thing, try to go step by step. 1) Learn HTML 2) Learn CSS 3) Learn RUBY 4) Learn RAILS 5) Try to use JS and AJAX :)

For my learning I used this book http://www.amazon.com/Beginning-Ruby-Rails-Wrox-Guides/dp/0470069155 . It is for people, who know nothing about rails or ruby. :) I hope, It helps you :)


Glad to see you are getting into rails. It is such a productive environment, especially compared to java/j2ee.

Regarding your questions:

HTML, CSS, JS are definitely a must. I mean, you don't have to be an expert on day 1, but you need to have a basic understand of how things are done and also of what can be done. There are tons of online tutorials out there which could get you up and running in no time. The beauty about HTML/CSS/JS is that the code is out there, for you to look at and learn (ah, don't we all love 'view source')

Once you are done with that, spend some time on learning Ruby. It's an amazing language. Once you start learning it, it's hard to stop. You want to know more and more. Spend some time on the core libraries and standard libraries (you don't need to know all the details here, but at least have a general idea of how basic things are done, like reading/writing a file, parsing xml, etc...)

For learning ruby, I really liked the pickaxe book: http://www.amazon.com/Programming-Ruby-Pragmatic-Programmers-Second/dp/0974514055/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1225811210&sr=8-8 It a little heavy, but really goes through the basics.

And for rails, of course, the DHH book is a no brainer (Agile Web Dev with Rails): http://www.amazon.com/Agile-Web-Development-Rails-2nd/dp/0977616630/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1225864215&sr=8-1 It's written by the original author of rails (DHH), and introduces you to the different components of the framework, one step at a time.

Now, of course, there might be easier books to get started. The book mentioned by Robin (previous post) has some good reviews on amazon, and really seems to target beginners... but even if you start with something else, I strongly encourage you to get a copy of the pickaxe book and the dhh book after that.

I know it might look like a daunting tasks (so many technologies to learn, so many books), but this will open so many new doors to your understanding of the web. Take it slowly. Don't expect to be an expert after a month (although after a month, all these piece should start to nicely fit together). Go through the examples/tutorials, be patient, and you will eventually get there.

And don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.


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