When I first tried out Michael Hartl’s Ruby on Rails tutorial a few months ago, I absolutely hated it. The main reason was that I didn’t get how mindlessly following Hartl’s confusing instructions with little explanation would get me to learn Ruby on Rails. I gave up and didn’t go back to it until last Thursday, when I decided that I will learn Ruby on Rails no matter what! Quitting was no longer an option for me 🙂
So, as I started the tutorial, I went to the sfruby meetup, where I declared that I was learning Ruby on Rails and starting by going through the tutorial. As I was sitting and working through it, one guy asked me about how I was learning Ruby on Rails. I told him, and then he said something that really stuck out to me.
He said that he always learns a language by having a project and then figuring it out. When I went home that night, I started thinking about this and thought of a project to work on. I jotted down a few ideas, and one that I’ve thought about before really jumped out, TweetMark!
Sometimes I tweet just so that I can save a specific article. The problem is that when I try to go back to that tweet, I also have to go past all the other irrelevant tweets to find it. Wouldn’t it be cool if there was a way to indicate that the tweet is a bookmark and have an easy way to search for it?!
I’m not sure if anyone else has the same problem (well, I actually have one friend who does!), but I don’t really care. I’m now determined to build TweetMark for myself, and in addition to using it, I get to learn Rails in the process. And if anyone else finds it useful, that’s great.
So over the weekend, I continued to go through the Rails Tutorial with TweetMark in mind. Wow, what a difference it has made!
Before, I was going through the tutorial thinking “I don’t really need to memorize this or even understand it, when I need it, I can just go back to the tutorial”. Now, I was going through it thinking “How can I use this part to build TweetMark? What if I need to make it slightly differently?”
After going through the first 5 chapters of the Tutorial, I switched over to TweetMark, and made a Sign In with Twitter and Sign out function which stores the users information in a database as well as an About page. You can check it out here: http://tweetmarkrails.herokuapp.com/.
For the past day, I’ve been going through the rest of the tutorial and really thinking about how everything will function in TweetMark. And, guess what!, stuff is really clicking and starting to make sense!
I will still need to refer to the tutorial a lot as build out TweetMark, but I’m fine with that. The point of me learning Rails is so I can build stuff, and it is the most empowering feeling to know I actually can now.
So if you’ve had the same problems with going through the tutorial as I have (after all, it does get confusing and even boring at times), think of something simple you can build and attempt to build it! It will make all the difference.