Over the last several months I had been learning Python, perfecting the fundamentals of programming. I eventually came to a place where I wanted to start building web apps.
However, I was in a predicament. Should I follow the Python + Django route or the Ruby on Rails (RoR) route? After doing research and speaking with others, I decided to go with the latter for several reasons.
Ruby on Rails is hot right now. And for good reason:
- All the startups are doing it
- It's easy to get up and running (Well, after you have successfully installed Rails … )
- And there are tons of Ruby on Rails tutorials and resources to help guide newbies like me
But Where Should I Start Learning?!?
However, this popularity comes with a drawback: there are so many Ruby on Rails tutorials!
Luckily, one of the co-founders from HackHands recommended I look into One Month Rails (OMR). After giving the site a brief glance, I thought it looked like a good option. And then when I heard my friend Jovan had just signed up for the course, I knew I was in.
Unlike my rough start learning Python, I didn't want to wander around the internet, having a hand at various Rails tutorials. I wanted to stick to one thing and complete it. Then move onward.
Plus, I knew if I paid for an online course I'd have an incentive to finish it. What they say is true: you value things more if you pay for them. (By the way: the One Month Rails class costs $99.)
Wait…Do you Have to Finish OMR in One Month?!
I wondered this at first, too.
OMR is a self-paced course. And you will have access to all the videos for one year. However, you can easily finish the course in four weeks, or less if you really wanted.
For me, I finished OMR in about 6-7 weeks. I spent on average 4-5 days per week working on it, typically for thirty minutes or more. Of course there were times when life happened and I did not look at the course for several days on end. C'est la vie.
The Learning Experience with One Month Rails
The OMR course kicks off like any good RoR course: installing rails.
Installing Rails on Your Computer
First things first, realize that installing rails on your computer can be a pain. Even for people who are experienced. Before starting One Month Rails, I was having tons of problems installing Rails on my own.
To help combat this frustrating installation, the OMR team created an awesome Install Rails step-by-step guide. Which is free for anyone to use and follow.
Even so, I was still having problems! Luckily, OMR's support team helped me solve the issue.
Lesson Structure: Videos, Videos, Videos
If you've read any of my reviews before, you know I love learning via video. Fortunately for me OMR is mostly videos!
OMR is designed in a way where you follow Mattan Griffel (the Ruby on Rails course instructor) and build a project. He builds his, you build yours.
Some of the video lessons are as short as three minutes. Then there are others as long as 25 minutes. The varied video lengths keeps things interesting. Also, as you progress in the course, OMR gives a percentage of how far you have come. (i.e. – 81% complete.)
The RoR Web App Project
Throughout the 51 lesson class you are building a web application that is comparable to Pinterest—endearingly called Pinteresting. While it's not a project I can literally implement into my life, I do think it was a good example project.
Mattan not only shows you how RoR works, he also walks you through creating a Github account, setting up a Heroku account, getting an Amazon web server for image storing, and so forth. Moreover, we were shown how to setup user accounts and how to allow people to upload images. We also used Bootstrap in the project to style the web app. Which I loved because I <3 Bootstrap.
Essentially, everything you needed to know about building a basic web app was explained during the course.
OMR Class Instructor (Mattan Griffel)
What I like about Mattan was that he explained RoR concepts using everyday language.
Sometimes with online courses (especially taught by academics) the language used to describe programming concepts is not contemporary or it's filled with advanced terminology. This can make it confusing to follow.
But not Mattan.
For this reason, the class is very conducive for beginners.
Plus, Mattan's voice has a calming effect. (Which always helps when your web app appears to not be matching his and you don't know why. Which is bound to happen.)
Impeccable Student Support
If all online learning platforms had student support like OMR, life would be a lot better. And I'd know a hell of a lot more.
I've dabbled with a lot of online coding classes and, seriously, nothing compares to OMR's support system.
If you take this class for any reason take it because of the incredible teacher support. It comes in handy when you get stuck. Which, again, you will. And your typical Ruby on Rails tutorial does not offer this kind of one-on-one attention.
I have to give a special shout out to Lee Matos, the person who always responded to my questions. At times Lee answered my questions via email quicker than my boyfriend responds to my text messages. I'm not kidding.
This goes to show how dedicated they are to helping their students (and maybe that my boyfriend needs to check his phone more often).
Class Dismissed: My Final Project
::Drum roll please::
And, ladies and gentlemen, here is my final Ruby on Rails Web Application: http://omr-laurenceb.herokuapp.com/
(Yes, anyone can create an account and add their own pins! It's just like a more basic version of Pinterest.)
Overall, I give One Month Rails an A+—mostly because their fantastic support system. Considering One Month is a small team of people, the response speed to my questions was astounding.
Sure, I don't know everything under the RoR sun. But how could I after one Ruby on Rails tutorial?
In the end, I think OMR was a great way to get the ball rolling. Building a web application like this gives a lot of confidence to move forward.
And I can't wait to start my next web app :)
So…what are you waiting for?!