As all developers know, the knowledge required to build an application almost never resides entirely within a developer's head. If you are anything like me, when the information store in your head fails you, you immediately reach out to that holy grail of knowledge, Stack Overflow. Don’t get me wrong, Stack Overflow is great. I use it numerous times a day, literally every day. Invariably, there will have been a developer somewhere that has beaten you to your own problem, and a code snippet from the helpful (and often quite frank) community can be an efficient way to remove an error, or get a feature working.
However, if Stack Overflow is the extent of your online learning, your lessons are piecemeal and haphazard, as the responses are designed to help somebody solve a problem, rather than fully explain the nuances of the Rails feature in question.
Therefore, with the recent release of Thoughtbot’s Upcase as free, I’d thought I’d shout a bit about a few of the traditional Rails learning resources that we may have been neglecting. If you are hoping to implement a Rails feature for the first time, or have been using a feature without really knowing how it works, perhaps now's the time to check them out!
Upcase by Thoughtbot https://thoughtbot.com/upcase
Upcase is an online learning platform for Rails and much more which has been running since 2012. For most of that time it required a paid subscription, but Thoughtbot has recently announced that Upcase is now available for free! It brands itself as a finishing school rather than a bootcamp, to help junior developers to lose their ‘junior’. I have yet to have a proper sit-down with Upcase, but with load of videos, articles, exercise and peer review functionality, I’ll certainly be doing that soon.
Railscasts by Ryan Bates http://railscasts.com
Ryan Bates was producing Railscasts episodes long before I began learning Ruby and these were a staple during my time as junior dev. He is super concise and efficient with his videos, but covers all the important points. In mid 2017 Ryan decided to release all previously paid content for free! Although he produced his last episode back in 2013, his videos are still very relevant, and a great way lean specific pieces of Rails.
GoRails by Chris Oliver https://gorails.com
GoRail is the current ‘go-to’ learning resource in our office. Like Railscasts it seems heavily video based. Although it covers the basics like installing Rails and deploying a Rails app, in my opinion it seems to cater a little better than Railscasts for the more experienced developer. GoRails does offer a bunch of free content, but a subscription is required to access this resource in its full glory.
So there you have it! Three great resources which I try to use to progress my Ruby on Rails skills whenever I can. Next time you find yourself consulting Stack Overflow for a quick answer, make a note to visit one of these resources to brush up on that feature thoroughly.