Outdated Tutorial Syndrome With Rails

Ruby on Rails also goes with name Rails or RoR is a full fledged web development framework based on Ruby. It is one of the famous frameworks out there without doubt that provides a new prespective towards web development. But there exists a Virus with it in the name of tutorials. Inspite of its sheer community and widespread adaption, it still struggles with its tutorials.

If you by any chance read my old posts, I have been started learning python with a goal of switching from a SysAdmin to a full time web developer. Things went well, and I got myself many interviews among one which I have been offered an Associate Software Engineer position but with Rails. So, I’d have to start adapting to Ruby and ofcourse to Rails.

As always, I first did some research on the best learning path since I’ve made more new things to get along with me before joining. There was many suggestions ofcourse for different books. I picked up The well grounded Rubyist for starting up with Ruby and I must admit, it was an wonderful book I have read. The pros of these book are of its own topic and I ll try to get to that soon.

But then, on all the posts / SO answers / blogposts I ve read one thing was repeated more than often - that Rails is infamous for its outdated tutorials. At first I was like, What? what is going to happen if a tutorial I read is 1 year old? what big is gonna happen. Then I started with railstutorial as any newbie rails learner is instructed to. It was a good read but since, I am no fan of TDD I started losing track too soon. Then I looked upon some other tutorials / books to start out with Rails and settled on Agile web development with Rails 4. This book is good, it starts with introduction and quickly dives into building things and then it covers the inner mechanics of Rails. I stopped halfway into the building part, and started building of my own.

At this time is when I realised what an outdated tutorials / references is gonna cost you. To start with, you get some crazy errors that wouldn’t happen if you were using a newer version. Heck, one of the issue solved by just changing a version number of a gem to its older release.

Rails community is famous for Railscasts that was yearned by other language developers. It was indeed fantastic, but that too hasn’t been updated for over a year. Two days before, I got stuck while implementing taggings in a Rails built blog, and I looked up and got a Railscasts video for reference, while I exactly cloned those steps, it failed. Turns out, it was outdated and the Gem has changed much. These are all just the beginnings but I am just afraid of what’s gonna be waiting for me. But, for now I am well and happy learning coffeescript for few days as a changeover to Ruby-ROR.

Hope, the community dives in and create a not so easy platform to hop in for newcomers.

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Written by Vinoth kumar on 21 December 2014