Rails Programmer Worth His Salt

Melvin R. wrote:


Based on all the ideas you guys have put out there as well as going
through some books, here is my check-list of things to learn in rails.
The order will change as my needs change and I’ll keep things updated
as I go. I figured it might be helpful to other newbies like me.

~ mel

hey, that’s a nice list. how about allowing people to vote for what they
think is important and order the list by votes? instead of making a
shopping cart (boring anyway)

Hey thats a good idea for a simple app. I’ll build it out and let you
know when it’s live.

On Feb 5, 1:06 pm, Thorsten M. [email protected]

On Feb 5, 2008, at 1:01 PM, Michael S. wrote:

The noteworthy thing about all these examples is that they remain at
API-level, nowhere do you manually write SQL with the express purpose
of optimization. That doesn’t dimish the value of these techniques, of
course, however, I’m wondering whether they are what Rick had in mind.

I think that 1) There’s a fair distance you can go without tying
yourself to a given databases by using a particular SQL dialect; and
2) If you’re really getting bogged down in your database queries,
maybe examining your algorithms to see whether so many queries are
necessary is in order. That said, there are occasions when a subselect
is just what the doctor ordered.

I, too, am curious what Rick had in mind.

I think you’re missing my point. I’m suggesting that you don’t try
to get specific on “cool Rails toys”, but get down and dirty with
Ruby. That’s why I mentioned “Ruby for Rails” (David Black, Manning
Press). Understanding that book will put you a long way towards being
a “Rails programmer worth his salt.” From there you should move on to
the recently released “The Ruby Way” by Obie F… I’ve come to
like it more than ADWR.

What I fear you’re going to do is grab a bunch of buzz words, hack
with them for a while, and call the job done. For your own sake,

For example, I learned how to upload an image file, resize it, crop
it, save various versions of it… and then I discovered
attachment_fu. And life was good.

Learning R. first is the right route, but if I had to do it over,
here are some resources I would use:

Pragmatic Programmers, Learning R.
The Rails Way (This book is just awesome)

Also, I didn’t see TzTime mentioned on here, or maybe I missed it. But
I would be comfortable working with timezones… its a small thing,
but it will come up fast in a production Rails project.

As for testing, I would focus most of your time on RSpec.

I just started blogging so you can check out my blog
I am going to put up an RSpec tutorial this weekend as well as start a
group of learning Rails/Ruby posts, mostly for my .NET friends who
haven’t seen the light yet :wink:

Good Luck


I hear ya loud and clear. You’re saying learn Ruby. Get down and dirty
with Ruby. Point taken. I picked up the Ruby for Rails book last
weekend. Just assume I will be doing that.

Beyond that, I would appreciate any specific recommendations…
specific methods/plugins/techniques/etc that you use often when you’re
building real world high-quality apps?

Master the debugger and you will be the king !

Specifically if you can easily debug from your favorite IDE. That can
be very interesting. I am using Aptana, it is not yet doing what I am
dreaming of (easily opening an IRB in the debug stack.). I will check
Netbeans sometime.

Mastering a good old break on exception makes a huge difference
between programmers. This is true for quite a lot of languages.
I am not myself mastering the debugger, I regret it so it is one of my


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