De-RailedJuly 29th, 2008 at 7:24
I’ve never been much of a programmer, but I do decent enough writing and debugging PHP and Java, and I’ve recently fallen in love with Python. PHP has a huge fan base, so Googling for any problem usually has good results. Java has Java Doc, which makes it pretty darn easy to look up anything you need to do. Python was so easy to get started with that I wrote several of my Operating Systems assignments after only 4 chapters of reading, with 40 lines of code, versus my classmates who were averaging 250 lines of code.
And then there’s Ruby on Rails. I’ve been loath to try it. It seems over-hyped and largely used by people who can’t get their paths correct, much less properly use an MVC environment. But I’ve heard from several people how easy it was to use, and after trying out Cake PHP, I have been looking for a decent MVC environment. Initial assessment: Rails bites. Or is bytes? I’ve been messing with several online web tutorials. So far none of them are encouraging. I’ve seen several that help you create your first Hello World app, but don’t explain anything about it. My favorite, billed as the quickest possible way to get from install to Hello World:
alias rails_hello_world='rails hello && cd hello && ./script/generate controller welcome hello && echo "Hello World" > app/views/welcome/hello.html.erb && ./script/server -d && firefox 0.0.0.0:3000/welcome/hello'
And no explanation. Yeah, that’s useful. I’ve managed to get Rails running on my server, nice little Congrats screen and everything. Here’s the sad thing, when I look at Rails and the basic commands to get stuff set up, they make a lot of sense. But I’m really frustrated with the things that don’t make sense. For example, one aspect of the above code,
./script/generate controller welcome hello
When I initially ran a command along the lines of the above, I received a nice output that made a lot of sense considering the MVC framework. But I initally ran it with just one variable. And the tutorial I was going through at the time then provided a few lines of code and said, vioala, Hello World. Only that didn’t work. I’m pretty sure I need some view stuff first. So I went back to another tutorial which invoked multiple variables, like the above command, but with no explanation. I’m having a real hard time getting an idea of what is supposed to work, and why. Admittedly my frustration tolerance is a little low right now. And bad docs and tutorials does not make a bad language or environment. Sadest part is, I’m no good a documentation myself. So even if I do manage to get this all figured out, I don’t know that I’ll be able to do much better.
So anyone know of a good tutorial, preferably set in a Unix environment?