Tag Archive | javascript

Rails Girls Learning Tools: Update

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!

(link to prezi)

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).

You are more like the gamer type? Then there is this cute coding jump and run game Ruby Warrior which was recommended from the Rails Girls Summer of Code.

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.

The schools I recommended last year all widened their offers, Codeacademy meanwhile offers a complete free ruby track and Code School, who is supporting Rails Girls Hamburg with a special discount for our participants, extended their video and browser based courses. In the free beginner section, there is – beside of a revised version of the already classical „Rails for Zombies“ – for example Discover Dev Tools, which explains how you can use your browser (here chrome) for web developing, or try jQuery, about the JavaScript library that is used a lot within Rails applications.

At EdX just started the second part of „Software as a Service“, an advanced course that I recommended last year, and for newbies there will the next CS 50 Class starting January 2014.

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.

Rails Girls Learning Tools – Commented Link List

[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)



  • Private organization seeks to democratize education
  • 12 courses with „open enrollment“
  • Programming classes use the Python language

Frontend Magic: HTML, CSS & JavaScript

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

Khan Academy

  • Interesting for art and games

Rails Girls Hamburg

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.

Code School

  • 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

RailsCasts & PeepCode

  • 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.

Learn to Program, by Chris Pine

  • 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!

Ruby on Rails Tutorial, by Michael Hartl

  • The „Must-Have“ under the Rails Tutorials
  • Building a Twitter Clone on industrial strength
  • Text for free, 15 hrs Screencasts for purchase

Ruby auf Schienen, by Stefan Wintermeyer

  • Detailed introduction in German


  • a lot of information. but maybe not so easy for beginners

Offline Learning

  • 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

Not enough?

For more tutorials and other useful programming learning stuff see the Rails Girls Materials (specially for the „First Try“) and my board „nerdy resources“ on Pinterest which I update continously.