How do I know if RoR is for me?

I’m trying to assemble a web app w/database. My first. This is a
personal project; not at the office.

I’m an engineer, and I’ve done desktop programming for years (C/C++/
Delphi) with some local database experience.

The web app is simple (from my perspective), but I’m overwhelmed by
choices of development languages, databases, frameworks, script
languages, tiers, technologies, etc… Overwhelmed to a state of

I need to pick a “package of technologies” that will allow me to
convert my concept into a working app. I’ve done some Ruby scripting
with Google Sketchup, and have a nice Ruby reference in the bookcase.
So maybe RoR would work for me. Or maybe there’s a better way. Or
maybe it’s simpler than I think.

So what questions do I need to ask/answer to come up with the
“best” (and I know there’s more than one) way to do my development?
And who do I ask these questions to?

Any advice is more than welcome!

On Wed, 2008-08-06 at 17:10 -0700, Randy wrote:

Any advice is more than welcome!

obviously your skill set is strong enough where you could probably do
what you wanted in any framework.

Rails has a lot of suppositions/opinions on how things should be done
and it’s easier to go with the flow than to fight them.

The best way to get started on Rails is to use the publication ‘Agile
Web D. With Rails’ of which only the PDF download is current
and the dead tree versions track older versions of Rails.

The book takes about 5-8 hours to get the idea and you should be able to
rocket into your application after that.


Randy wrote:

Any advice is more than welcome!

The short answer is you’re not going to know which one is for you
without trying at least one. It would be great if you have a
friend/acquaintance that has purchased a RoR book that you could borrow.
Agile Web D. With Rails is a good one because it starts at the
beginning and works through developing a web app. There are other books
that do similar things. Since you are just learning, it really doesn’t
matter (in my opinion) if it’s with the latest version or not, so even
if you only have access to a 1.2.x book, just install the appropriate
version of Rails and start learning. [In fact, your local library just
might have a RoR book. You never know.] Once you get some experience
under your belt, you can always switch to a later version. If you go
this route, I would further advise to not work on your application as
you’re learning, but instead follow along whichever book/tutorial you’re
using. My rationale for saying this is simple: if you write your own
application as you learn with an older version of Rails, then you will
potentially be looking at considerable refactoring as you move to a
newer version. If you start with a bogus app, get some miles on your
virgin tires, then start on your app, you might save yourself some
work. Of course, that could be avoided by just using the newer version
to begin with. Either way, it’s Rails.

The bottom line is to use it and make a reasonable assessment based on
real, personal experience.

Delphi, eh? I coded in Delphi for about 6 years. Loved it. If I had to
write Windows software (which I did at the time), I much preferred


I think the thing to understand is not so much “which is best for me”
but think of it as “I am going to use Rails to build X application”.
Don’t worry about which is right, because they ALL can be right with
enough learning and tweaking and coding.

You can build most all web apps in most all technologies and make it
work. What I found easier when deciding on Rails was that I was going
to build X app in Rails, regardless of what it took.

As others have said, Rails is pretty opinionated, but once you learn
the basic flow of it, I think you will really like it. I have only
been using Rails for the last few months, but I can already tell that
I made a good choice because I decided to use Rails to build
something, instead of trying to figure out if Rails was right for what
I wanted to build.

Good luck with it, there is an awesome community here that are more
than willing to help you out when you get stuck.


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