3. Tools and resources

The tools

There are three tools we will be using during this course:

1. The text editor

In order to edit files we will need a simple text editor.

You have previously used editors such as Microsoft Office, Libre Office or even Google Docs. These are rich text editors, where the text is complemented by a lot of meta-information, such as style and fonts. It is nearly impossible to write code in a rich text editor.

Most operating systems have a text editor of their own, such as Notepad or TextEdit. While we can use the simple editors for small projects, a typical Rails application involves multiple files and folders. To manage that, we will need a moderately advanced editor.

We like Sublime Text, a popular editor available on most operating systems. You can download it from the official website. We will be using the free version, and you can later buy the license upon completion of your first gig as a freelance web developer.

Your friends may advise you to use instead an IDE, a full environment that integrates a text editor and additional work automation tools. Don't listen to them, let's first get a moderately good grasp of a moderately complex tool.

2. The web browser

A web browser is your window to the Internet and to this guide. We will assume you already know what it is. For development purposes, we recommend either Google Chrome or Firefox. You can choose any other browser, yet we cannot guarantee that your mentors will be familiar with its developer tools.

3. Ruby on Rails and dependent components

To work with Ruby on Rails, you will need to install it.

... Wait, is Ruby on Rails a program?!

Yes and no. Installing Ruby on Rails refers to getting, among others:

  • The Ruby language interpreter
  • The RubyGems packaging system
  • A working installation of a database engine

To install Ruby on Rails

Download RailsInstaller and run it. Click through the installer using the default options.

Open Command Prompt with Ruby on Rails and run the following command:

$ rails -v

If the Rails version is less than 4, update it using the following command:

$ gem update rails --no-ri --no-rdoc

The resources

There are countless resources to help you learn more about Ruby on Rails and web development:

  1. This guide, which is specifically adapted to beginners
  2. Code School
  3. Codecademy
  4. Rails tutorials and books, this being just one of the very numerous examples
  5. The complete, and advanced, Ruby on Rails guides

If you get in trouble, seek help:

  1. From your colleagues
  2. From your mentors
  3. On Stack Overflow
  4. From the people who've faced the same issues, through a Google search

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