Ruby has always had a great, invaluable tool for learning: the IRB prompt. There's even an online version called Try Ruby you can run right in your web browser, no installation necessary! But for learning Rails, there's been no equivalent. Until now, however. Rails for Zombies is an interactive tool for learning Rails basics.
Rails is famous for screencasts. And screencasts are great, but their interactivity is limited to alt-tabbing and following along on your own computer. It's been years since DHH's initial Rails screencast though, Rails has come quite far, why can't the tools for learning Rails? Rails for Zombies is organized as a lecture, followed by a number of labs where you try out the things learned in the lecture.
So why is this better than following along on a screencast?
- You don't need to install anything. Rails for Zombies runs right in the web browser. It uses the same technique as Try Ruby: gathering input from HTML, submitting to the server, running the Ruby code submitted and printing the result. Since all the Ruby is being run on the server, you don't need anything but a web browser.
- Rails for Zombies is at a walking pace. Most of the Rails screencasts try to show off how quickly you can do things in Rails. As a consequence, the presenter tends to move very quickly. Instead of showing you how to do something, they just do it. It's easy to miss things, and you still need to go back and read about what they just did. Rails for Zombies takes a lecture and lab approach. There's no screencast, there's a video explaining to you how to do things, then a lab to let you practice doing those things.
- Rails for Zombies is instant satisfaction. There's no need to set up projects, create databases, models, insert test data, etc. It's all there for you, you've given clear tasks, and you're notified immediately if you did it right. When you're just starting out, and you really don't know what you're doing in Rails, this is huge.
Rails for Zombies is a great tool if you're just starting in Rails, so what are you waiting for? Get started!