If you’re new to Ruby on Rails, you sometimes don’t know where to start with Ruby on Rails. Here are some resources that have helped me become familiar with Ruby and Ruby on Rails.
The Rails Guides have been extremely useful in explaining the different parts of Ruby on Rails. There are guides for Models, Views, Controllers, Routes, Rails Metal, Testing, etc. Most of the Guides are extremely comprehensive and have been written by experienced members of the Ruby on Rails community.
The Rails Guides are an excellent place to get started.
Ryan Bates has put together an excellent set of screencasts that help explain several concepts to programming in Ruby on Rails. The first episodes cover more basic topics. The later episodes cover gems and plugins that can be used to save you time and trouble building your Ruby on Rails application. Honestly, Ryan gets high marks in my book for the great work he’s done.
The Rails Wiki is a community generated set of documentation. The documentation here is excellent. The link above is to the “Getting Started with Ruby on Rails” page.
Do you ever have trouble remembering exactly how to put together that link_to_remote call to get the AJAX to behave exactly the way you want? Me too. That’s why I use RailsBrain.com. The interface uses AJAX to take you to the correct place in the documentation based on what you type in the search field. In other words, you usually get the answer you’re looking for before you’re done searching.
Git is the version control software of choice among Ruby and Rails developers. Github is the repository manager of choice. Most of the Ruby on Rails plugins, related gems, and even the Rails source code are stored on Github. There are also hundreds of gists that contain useful code snippets for Rubyists. If you’re looking for code samples, you’ll probably find it on Github.
Rails Tutor is in its infancy, but I highly recommend it as a place to get involved. Even if you don’t feel like you have the level of expertise to write tutorials, asking questions to flesh out the tutorials that will eventually be there will help greatly in shaping the content that new Ruby on Rails developers will be using for years to come.
Rails Envy puts out a podcast every few weeks about news and postings about Ruby on Rails. I personally have heard about plugins that I downloaded and used that same day to solve some problem I was working on. I’ve also learned several things both from their discussions and the articles they refer to. For me it was kind of the jump start from the beginner phase to the intermediate phase.
NOTE: Rails Envy has been discontinued. You can find Gregg Pollack’s new Ruby on Rails new podcast at http://ruby5.envylabs.com. You can check out the old episodes and show notes for Rails Envy at the old Rails Envy website.
The Ruby on Rails core team tracks all of their enhancements, patches, and bugs on Lighthouse. They also put their requests for new Guides and other help up on Lighthouse. If you want to know what’s coming up in the next version of Ruby on Rails or would like to get involved or make a suggestion, Lighthouse is a great place to start.
The Rails core team posts news for the community on the Rails Blog, which makes it an excellent place to go to see how they view and approach the Rails community. A lot of useful news has come out on the blog.
Feel free to add to the list in the comments for this post.