How I’m starting – Heroku and Rails tutorials

By | September 12, 2013

Like I mentioned before, I have very little web programming experience.  I wrote a little bit of HTML back in the 90′s for class projects of “build a personal webpage”.  A couple of years ago I started a project that used a bit of JavaScript and very, very poorly done CSS.  But most of my coding these days is done in System Verilog, a bit of Perl, and the occasional Ruby script.

Oh, and I know nothing about setting up and administering a web server.

Learning Rails

I’ve heard that Rails is still pretty popular for web stuff, and I’m at least familiar with looking at Ruby code, so I decided to go with that.  First step, find some tutorials to help me understand how to use the language and start to put together an architecture for my application.  The tutorials are pretty easy to find, and I’m sure there are a ton out there, but here’s where I’m starting:

- Rails Girls Guides is a program intended to “give tools and a community for women to understand technology and to build their ideas.”  While I’m obviously not their target market, I found their tutorials to be pretty helpful, and their reference app gives a good start into understanding Rails.

- RailsGuides has a lot more detail than Rails Girls Guides, and the reference apps have a lot more detail.  I haven’t worked through all of their stuff yet, but it seems to be a solid introduction into MVC (Model – Controller – View) design.

Publishing on the Web

Most of the initial work I’m doing will be on my laptop.  Eventually, I’ll want to move it to the web where others can see it.  I’ll need a server for that.  Enter Heroku.

Heroku is a Platform as a Service company that provides application hosting across a variety of languages.  They manage everything, and I just get to use it!  The obvious benefit to me is that I don’t have to figure out how to set up and administer a stable hosting platform.  It’s super easy to move my application code from my laptop to their servers.  Basically just a Git command (Git is a system to manage source code changes.  While I don’t know it specifically, I’m familiar with revision control so it won’t be difficult to pick up.) It’s also free for very small applications, like mine is likely to be for a while.  On the negative side, the cost goes up pretty quickly as you scale, and you give up a lot of control.  In the end, it lets me focus on all the other things I need to learn, so I’ll take it.

Anything you want to know?  Leave a comment below.  I’ll reply to all of them!

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