There are many different ways to learn how to code, some people take a book and read it line by line. I’m not one of those. I learn by doing, I need to build a “hello world” application and sit there for hours playing around with different variables to see what each one does. The way I decided to learn rails is by following the screen casts of Ruby on Rails Tutorial . The whole book is available online but you have to pay for the video screencasts, fortunatly my company provides an all inclusive access to safari where I’m watching it for free.
Initially I started doing it on my windows machine, I got through 3 lessons and then I got stuck because I was missing some sort of library, I googled it for a few hours and all solutions where either for linux or macs. If I get stuck this early on on such a simple issues there are probably much bigger problems out there for windows. My desire to get a mac increased after I attended the startup weekend, and saw that 80% of the people out there had macs. The next day after that I ordered my first macbook.
Today I spend 3-4 hours installing rails on the mac, not as easy as I thought it would be. Initially Ruby On Rails Tutorial includes his own instructions of installing rails, I suggest to first use this railcasts and if you get stuck refer to tutorial instructions. A lot of packages come with mac like ruby but its an older version 1.8.7 so you need to reinstall it preferably using RVM as mentioned in the instructions. One thing that doesn’t get mentioned is that I had to install XCode from the app store since compilers like gcc and make are not included by default. XCode takes about 2 gigs so it includes a bunch of other gui packages as well. Get XCode first and then follow the instructions above. Railcasts video also includes a lot of useful sites in the end as well.