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Are you interested in learning how to build a dynamic website from scratch? Wondering how to make a snazzy front-end along with a robust back-end for your next web application idea? To get you off the ground running, we have researched and gathered together the best Ruby on Rails tutorial videos for beginners. When learning new technologies, we often hit roadblocks during initial setup, or struggle to understand the key concepts. Watching video tutorials can help us accelerate this initial learning curve. Watching and listening to someone explain the convention, or demo a piece of code, can help you understand languages and frameworks much quicker than trying to read through a multi-page tutorial yourself. Also, the best part about video tutorials is, you can get all this training from the comfort of your own living room.
Ruby on Rails is a popular open source web application framework that many web developers have fallen in love with over the years. To name a few, Twitter, Groupon, Airbnb, Hulu, and Github, are some of the most high-profile websites that started with Ruby on Rails. The framework emphasizes popular software engineering principles and patterns, such as convention over configuration (CoC), don’t repeat yourself (DRY), model-view-controller (MVC), and active record pattern. Using this framework makes it easier for programmers to build a fully functioning web app in a short period of time.
Don’t worry if you haven’t had any experiences with the principles and patterns mentioned above. Many of the Rails tutorials listed below don’t assume prior knowledge of these software principles or even any programming experience. Also, if you are a seasoned programmer, but don’t have much experience in web development, the tutorials below will certainly assist you in understanding the conventions and lead you to the correct, “RoR way” of web development.
Online Video Tutorials
A 12-course Rails development track is offered at Treehouse. Even if you don’t have any prior programming experience, the tutorials at Treehouse will guide you through Ruby on Rails development by starting with the fundamentals of programming and ending with a real world Rails application. If following a track is not for you, that’s okay. You can pick and choose any course you want to take, in any order. The instructors teach at a very good pace, and there is an active forum in case you run into any questions on the lectures or while doing the exercises.
When you master the fundamentals, you now get into the nitty-gritty of Ruby development, starting with Installing a Ruby Development Environment and Ruby Foundations. Once you get really comfortable with Ruby, you can get your hands dirty by building a real web application in Build a Todo List Application with Rails 4. Then, learn all about databases and SQL in Database Foundations and dive straight into Model-View-Controller in ActiveRecord Basics. Finally, get some advanced Rails experience by taking User Authentication with Rails.
After you are done with the courses in the track, there is a huge library of advanced Ruby on Rails classes available. Courses such as Ruby on Rails Forms, Rails Partials and Helpers, and The Rails Asset Pipeline and Styling are only some of the many topic focused classes you can take. In addition, you will have access to over a 100 courses in web/mobile development with new courses being added almost every week for you to stay up to date with the latest technology
Pricing: $25/month Basic plan gives you access to the 1000+ videos, code challenge engine, and member-only forums. $49/month Pro plan gives you everything in the basic plan plus access to talks from industry professionals, interviews, and workshops.
One Month Rails is perfect for the total beginner, who might not have a computer science background, who is frustrated with all the other online tutorials out there that assume you know how to program. If you sign up, you’ll get access to all the videos for one full year. The Ruby on Rails videos are a total of 6+ hours, where each lesson is approximately 15 minutes, so that you can watch one screencast a day and get through the whole series in one month. Mattan Griffel is the instructor, and he himself didn’t have a computer science background and had only learned how to program 2 years ago. Even if you do have a computer science background, but is interested in learning web development, this video tutorial may be right for you.
The one month concept is powerful because one of the biggest hurdles when learning a new language is to continue with the curriculum. Many times we either get overwhelmed or bored, and just give up. Breaking out a 6 hour video tutorial into 30 days, with clearly defined goals for each day is exactly what you need to make learning a habit. Imagine, just 15-30 minutes a day, and you’ll know Ruby on Rails, Bootstrap, and more importantly, how to build a web application.
Pricing: $99 solo plan/ $499 learn with a mentor plan. Both plans will give you unlimited access to the video tutorials for one year, including code samples. In addition, the mentor plan gives weekly phone or screenshare checkins with a mentor, a code review, 2 additional HTML/CSS templates, and priority support.
This YouTube series is taught by Michael Hartl, author of the popular Ruby on Rails Tutorial. The whole series is about 19 hours in length, and includes 75 videos. These video tutorials are tailored towards new web developers with some prior programming experience. Michael teaches at a good pace and does a great job of going over the details. He explains every single code or command that he writes, so you will not have difficulty following his examples. In these tutorials, you will work on building 3 applications. The first app is just a skeleton app which will get you familiar with the development environment and deployment. The second app is a demo app that showcases some of the features of rails. The third app is a full-blown application, similar to Twitter, which will involve many different features.
The first three videos introduce you to Ruby on Rails and goes over the installation process on Windows and Macs. In lesson 1, videos 4-8, you will go from zero to deploy, meaning you will learn how to create your skeleton rails app and then commit your code using Git, share it using Github, and deploy it using Heroku. In lesson 2, videos 9-14, you create a demo app for users and micro-posts using scaffolding. Here you get a first taste of Model-View-Controller (MVC) pattern and start learning about the REST architecture. Finally, in lessons 3-12, videos 15-75, you will build the core sample application, which is a social micro-blogging site that has the basic features of Twitter. By building this sample application, you will learn almost all the major features of Ruby on Rails including MVC, templates, partials, filters, validation, active record callbacks, has many/belongs to relationships, security, testing, and deployment.
At the end of the tutorial series, Hartl gives you some additional resources that you can find on the web and suggests additional improvements to the sample core app that you can work on to practice your new Ruby on Rails skills. These improvements include, adding the ability to do @ replies, direct messaging, follower notifications, password reminder emails, sign up confirmation step, RSS feed generation, and learning more about search.
Pricing: Free. 75 videos, ranging from 5-15 minutes each. This is a great tutorial for a beginner with zero knowledge of Ruby on Rails to get started with. Some basic programming knowledge would be useful, although not necessary.
The course starts with the basics by introducing what Ruby on Rails is and why you should learn it. After giving a brief overview of the MVC architecture, you are guided through the installation process on both the Mac and Windows. While going through the installation, you learn about what RubyGems is, what the bundler is, and also get introduced to a popular text editor, Sublime Text, that many Ruby on Rails developers use.
Once the introductions are over, you learn the nuts and bolts of Rails development by building a content management system web application. You will learn how to render templates and redirect requests; how to generate and run database migrations; the basics of CRUD ( create, read, update, delete ); understand the different associations types; how to use layouts, partials, and view helpers; how to incorporate assets using asset pipeline; how to validate form data; how to authenticate users and manage their access; how to architect a RESTful application; and finally, how to do error handling and debugging.
Once you are done with this course, there are a couple of other Ruby and Ruby on Rails video tutorials that you can take. In addition, Lynda.com offers access to 100s of videos for software training and tutorials, with new courses being added weekly.
Pricing: $25/month or $250/year basic plan offers unlimited access to all videos. $37.50/month or $375/year premium plan offers unlimited access to all videos plus access to downloading the project/exercise files. In addition, the $375/year plan offers downloading for offline viewing on mobile devices.
The Rails for Zombies tutorial attempts to teach you Rails with a Zombie flair. Throughout the tutorial, you will build a Twitter-like social micro-posting site, for Zombies! The instructor, Gregg Pollack, walks you through the basics of Ruby on Rails over 5 videos. To advance to the next video ( level ), you must complete an interactive challenge, where you use the in-browser code editor to code in your answers to the challenge questions from the previous lesson. Every time you get a question right, you rack up points, and at the end of the course, you will get a badge along with Code School “cash” which you can use towards your classes at Code School.
The first video talks about CRUD, and how you work with a database in Rails to Create, Read, Update, and Destroy. In level 2, you learn about ActiveRecord models, validation, and relationships. In the next video, you get some practice linking views and learn where to get help looking up documentation on common view helpers. In level 4, you learn about the controller, which sits in between the model and the view. Finally, in video 5, you learn about the concept of routing.
The interactive nature of this tutorial lets you dive straight into the core of Ruby on Rails without you having to worry about installation or setup issues. This keeps you interested from the very beginning and makes you stick with the content for a bit longer. Plus, who wouldn’t want to build a Twitter-like micro-posting site for Zombies? This video tutorial is definitely for beginners, and if you would like some more advanced Ruby on Rails tutorials after this, you can go to Code School and continue taking more classes. Rails for Zombies 2, Rails 4: Zombie Outlaws, Rails 4 Patterns, and Testing with RSpec are only some of the more advanced classes available at Code School.
Pricing: Free. 5 videos, each around 10 minutes in length. Divided into 5 levels, each with 4-6 questions you need to answer to advance to the next level. Beginner’s course, but some basic programming, web development, and Ruby knowledge would be useful as a prerequisite to the course.
Railscasts have been around for a long time and are quite popular in the Rails community. Whether you are a beginner or an advanced Rails programmer, there will be a screencast that will solve your problems. Each screencast is short and focused on one technique. There isn’t any recommended path you should take, like starting from episode 1 and listening all the way to episode 417. Rather, it may be best to use the ‘search episodes’ button or the category links on the side whenever you are stuck on a specific problem or have a question on a specific feature.
Ryan Bates teaches at a very good pace with a nice clear tone. He cuts straight to the topic and shows you what he’s typing, line-by-line. Have you ever wondered how to populate a database with test data? How to create a public activity feed for your site? How to create an advanced search form? Each of these has its own screencast, so you can just search and learn. There really is a wealth of knowledge hiding in all these screencasts.
All the screencasts are produced by Ryan Bates, who has divided up the episodes into free and pro, where pro is subscription based. He tries to add at least one free episode per week and a few more pro episodes per week. If you are thinking about subscribing, you should note that his last recorded episode was in June, 2013. At that time, Ryan felt he was burnt out from too many recordings and decided to take a break. He intended to return in September, 2013, but decided not to and left the following announcement. He has yet to return, but I’m sure he’s getting his much deserved break from all the hard work he put in creating so much awesome content. Even without any updated content, the existing 400+ screencasts are extremely useful and continues to provide intermediate developers with focused teaching on specific techniques.
Pricing: Free/Paid. 400+ episodes in total, where many of the many of them are free. Each screencast lasts anywhere between 2-15 minutes.
John Davidson, founder of RubyOnRailsTutor.com, teaches the 11 course screencast where you will build Restaurantly, a simple restaurant review app. This Rails tutorial series definitely caters towards beginners, and even those who might not have had any prior programming experience. Prior to RubyOnRailsTutor.com, John Davidson worked with 5 different startups and worked on tons of personal websites, including crowdsound.io. He has a non-technical MBA, was a prior US navy officer and was really interested in SF tech scene. He says he was fortunate to get into the second cohort of Dev Bootcamp, so his goal is to help others who can’t make it to San Francisco to learn to code.
Unlike many of the other video tutorials out there, this particular one doesn’t try to rebuild Twitter. Instead, you’re building a restaurant review app. The initial screencast goes over the development setup so that you can mimic the environment of the instructor as close as possible. Next, you start off by building a simple model for restaurants and connect the data to the front-end using a controller. The videos goes over the test driven development approach and proceeds to build one view at a time for #show, #new, #create, #index, #update, and #destroy actions. User authorization and Twitter-omniauth is covered in the final two sessions.
There are plenty of supplemental resources on this site, and once you are done with the 11 screencast series, if interested, you can head on over to rubyonrailstutor.com and further learn Ruby on Rails by signing up for pair programming, where you get coached by an expert.
Pricing: Free. 11 screencasts, each between 3-10 minutes in length. Suitable for beginners with no programming experience.
Udemy offers many high quality courses, not just for Ruby on Rails, but for other software and non-software topics as well. One of the things you can do to enhance your search is to sort by popularity, on the top right corner. You can take a look at the number of reviews and the ratings, as well as the number of students who have enrolled in the class in the past. Each video tutorial series has a detailed table of contents, along with an introductory preview on a few of the topics that are covered. You can listen to these previews to see if you enjoy the instructor’s teaching style and pace.
Just be sure to distinguish between classes that teach Ruby, the programming language, versus Ruby on Rails, the web application framework. However, it goes without saying that if you want to be a Ruby on Rails expert, you’ll need to be proficient with the Ruby programming language. One course that has been highly recommended by multiple reviewers is Beginners Ruby Programming Training – No Experience Required. The course is 5+ hours long, but goes over all the basics of the Ruby programming language to get you comfortable wherever you use it. The class is a bit on the pricier side, but it has excellent reviews and a community of 12600+ students who have already taken it.
Pricing: Free/Paid. There are 20+ Ruby on Rails courses in Udemy. Most of the video tutorials are paid, but there are a couple of free ones available.
The Intro to Rails Screencast I Wish I Had is a free, 42 minute introductory video on Rails development. Jeffrey Way gives you a sense of what a real Rails web developer would do by going through a simple task list web application. Although it’s possible to follow along without it, the video assumes basic knowledge of web programming and Ruby. The instructor teaches and writes codes at a pretty fast pace, which is probably the result of trying to give a good overview of RoR in just 40 minutes. So if you are trying to follow along, the pause button may come in handy from time to time to slow things down and digest the information.
The tutorial starts off by adding RSpec, Capybara, and Guard to the Gemfile, and relies on test-driven development to complete the task app. It goes over creating models and generators, and working with ActiveRecord. In a short period of time, the instructor covers all the components necessary to get your basic task web application up and running from scratch. One thing to note is that since the tutorial was created in 2011, some of the instructions in the video may not be up to date. The comments section has some comments that will help you get the examples in the tutorial working for you.
Again, if you require a lot of hand holding, this tutorial is not for you. But if you are an advanced programmer who is tired of some of the other tutorials out there that assume no knowledge of programming whatsoever, this may suit you well.
Pricing: Free. 42 minute not-so-introductory video tutorial. The video is suited for someone who already has a fundamental understanding of web programming and is looking for an advanced example based Ruby on Rails introduction.
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