Nearly a year passed since our last Rails Girls workshop in Hamburg and the publication of my commented link list of rails girls learning tools. The market of online learning tools expanded, so for this year’s workshop im Hamburg on 16th/17th of August, it’s time for a little update!
For everybody prefering German as a learning language, it’s good news that the Hanno-Plassner-Institut started a little web-university called openHPI offering Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) specialized in programming-related topics in german and english for free. There is for example an introduction to web technologies Einführung in die Web-Technologien, a course that Rails Girl Nina completed and recommended for you (it’s officially over, but you can do it in the archive mode).
At a more commercial level, there is this new online coding school called Treehouse offering to learn ruby on rails for 25 Dollars a month. I personally didn’t try it out yet, but at least they seem to have a lot of video lessons with relevant topics.
It’s not so new, but if you like to get more practice with your terminal – which is useful for every programming stuff you do -, I’d like to recommend you the The Command Line Crash Course.
For those who want even more ruby learning material, check out iwanttolearnruby.com or the really extensive ruby and rails resources list from Tobi, both have a lot of recources that I didn’t cover now or in my previous rails learning link list article.
[Update: Übersetzung dieses Artikels ins Deutsche bei femgeeks (German Translation available)]
The following is a collection of links to useful online learning resources I presented today at the first Rails Girls Hamburg workshop. Most of them are available for free. I obviously didn’t do all of them, but I tried to share my experience in some short comments so I hope it helps you to find the best learning way for you.
Free Online Universities
If you learn Ruby on Rails as your first programming language, you might get to a point where you want to understand a bit more about Computer Science. Fortunately, you can now take the introduction classes from the best universities simply from your home computer without spending a penny! If you want to master them, you should bring some time, cause there is usually a bunch of homework to do.
- New free online education project from MIT, Harvard and Berkeley
- CS50 (Great education show from Harvard for beginners, starting on Oct. 15th)
- SaaS (Software as a Service, using Ruby on Rails and explaining all the stuff around it, highly recommended for a bit advanced learners, starting on Sept. 24th)
- Offering courses from 16 top colleges
- Computer Science 101 (fun introduction course from Stanford without date, but all videos available)
- „Learn to Program: The Fundamentals“ starting on Sept. 24th (it’s with Python, but has a female teacher)
- Private organization seeks to democratize education
- 12 courses with „open enrollment“
- Programming classes use the Python language
Any application you make will need a layout, so you need at least some basic knowledge on Frontend Design. As HTML and CSS are easier to understand than Ruby, maybe you wanna learn them first. Luckily, there are a lot of interactive lessons you can do in your browser:
- Online courses in a fun way
- Interesting for art and games
Video Courses and Screencasts
Rails doesn’t come alone, it’s whole magic reveals with a bunch of accessories (the so called „gems“) and tools. There are a lot of video tutorials available to explain all the weird sounding things.
- learning in lovely designed game-styles
- explaining videos, downloadable slides and many small excercises
- some free courses like Rails For Zombies and Try Git
- monthly membership for 20 $ (if you use your credits from the courses)
- get to know a bunch of extra tools for developing within the Rails framework like Git, RSpec, CoffeeScript etc.
- different skill levels
- see my profile as an example
- Screencasts about advanced Rails topics
Books and Tutorials
Apart from all the interactive stuff, there is the good old text format that let’s you work with the real development environment. You should read and follow them if you want to dig deep into Ruby and Rails from the ground. There are a lot of books/text tutorrials to learn Ruby and Rails, some of them are good and free.
- General and fun programming introduction using the Ruby language with a lot of exercises (google the solutions if you get stuck)
- Online version with many translations for free, newer book version available to buy
- Good point to start if you never programmed before!
- The „Must-Have“ under the Rails Tutorials
- Building a Twitter Clone on industrial strength
- Text for free, 15 hrs Screencasts for purchase
- Detailed introduction in German
- a lot of information. but maybe not so easy for beginners
- In case you prefer to learn with other people in a real classroom, check out if there are any community courses available in your town. The Hamburger Volkshochschule for example offers a bunch of programming classses which aren’t for free, but a lot cheaper than commercial courses. And a lot of them a teached by women!
- You can also try to sneak into your local university lectures – but they are usually on working hours and if you are not a registered student you probably won’t get your homework revisited …
- If you know other people learning you might find it helpful to form a study group