After two weeks of jumping head first into Ruby on Rails, I am slowly starting to get a hold of it. At the beginning it felt like real chaos, so much information and literally EVERYTHING was new to me. No surprise, as I have absolutely no prior experience in backend programming, and in the front-end I am only sandboxing since half a year. So naturally, the start was a rough one.
The thing with Rails is, that you don’t have the big picture when you start, and that it’s picture really is BIG, but you need to understand it in order to understand what Rails is doing at all. Following only the written lectures of my CareerFoundry course was not enough. Even though I was able to follow along, and get my exercises approved, I noticed that nothing was really getting into my head. It was like the information was creating a new instance, saved in short term memory, but not creating an entry in the database of my brain, so that I could access it later on (some geek talk here, sorry). I needed a different approach. I needed to find a way to store data.
What helps me most when learning are Video Tutorials. I actually need someone to speak out loud to me, nice and slow, and when I do text lecture, in order to really follow along, I often need to read out loud as well. So I decided to start Mashrur Hossain’s popular Ruby on Rails course on Udemy. At the same time, I use Kevin Skoglund’s 10+ hour video course “Ruby on Rails 5 Essential Training” on Lynda.com.
Thanks to both of these resources, I have the feeling that the information does actually get stored somewhere in the database of my brain now. If you hear 4 different resources speaking on how to create CRUD methods and views, or parameters, or models and controllers, or database migrations, and each one explains it to you from a slightly different angle, this just works wonders. What I like about Mashrur’s course, is that it is really step-by-step. Nothing gets generated or scaffolded, everything is written manually wherever possible. This way you really learn what is actually happening behind the scenes. I can highly recommended to any Rails or programming newbie.
Skoglund’s course is fantastic as an additional resource. I wouldn’t be able to use it alone, because it is quite advanced and very thorough, and maybe not providing the baby steps that I need, but if you want to know about Strong Parameters, or Associations, or Routing, and you don’t want to read through an eternal textbook guide, Kevin is your man. Well organized information, clearly explained.
I also use the “Evernote” app to quickly store information that I find somewhere and want to remember later. I realize now how important it is to find your own rhythm, know how it is you learn best and be organized with your material.
I have by now started at least 5 new Apps, and it really is the thing you need to be doing when starting Rails. I certainly don’t have the knowledge stored in a way that I could create a new app from scratch without following a guide, as there is so much to remember and quite a few different ways to do something, but I can feel some fertile ground is being laid in my database-brain-garden.
It takes time, I know, it would be weird if it didn’t. But it starts to be fun. And that’s what’s most important.