I want to know in a nutshell how I can get to install and use Ruby on Rails. I have been to rubyonrails.org but the download procedure is not clear cut. I’m basically a C++ and .NET developer. I am interested to use RubyOnRails for my web apps. Please give a straightforward and clear cut way to install start developing with RubyOnRails. Thanks a lot.
First off, I imagine that it’d be darn useful to have a definition of what “Ruby on Rails” is, in the first place, because every time I hear the phrase, I think that it must be some sort of game for my daughter.
According to Wikipedia “Ruby on Rails is an open source web application framework written in Ruby that closely follows the Model View Controller (MVC) architecture. It strives for simplicity, allowing real-world applications to be developed in less code than other frameworks and with a minimum of configuration. One of Rails’ guiding principles is “Don’t Repeat Yourself”.”
So it’s a new type of programming environment that’s well-suited for Internet applications, though I have heard from software developers that it’s still early in its evolution and unlikely to be suitable for large scale professional software deployments.
In terms of getting started, the official place to start is the Ruby On Rails Wiki, where they have a section entitled Getting Started with Rails. Your first step is to ensure that you have the latest version of Ruby itself (Rails is an add-on to the Ruby programming language), which you can find at ruby-lang.org.
Ruby on Rails is available for a wide variety of operating systems too, ranging from Windows to Mac OS X, and a wide variety of different Linux distributions too.
In fact, my Mac OS X system (running Tiger 10.4.5) already has Ruby pre-installed at /usr/bin/ruby. Type man ruby within a Mac Terminal (Applications –> Utilities –> Terminal to launch a command line terminal as needed).
As the man page says, “If you want a language for easy object-oriented programming, or you don’t like the Perl ugliness, or you do like the concept of LISP, but don’t like too much parentheses, Ruby may be the language of your choice.”
You also need to be running the Apache web server, which is freely available for all of the operating systems listed above too, and pre-installed with most modern Unix-based distributions, including Mac OS X. Then you’ll need to configure Apache to be Rails-friendly, as detailed in How to Set Up the Base URLs of your Rails Apps.
Lots of work getting everything set up “just so”, I agree with you.
Once you’re ready to roll, I strongly encourage you to check out the splendid article the Curt Hibbs wrote for O’Reilly’s ONLamp site, called Rolling with Ruby on Rails.
I hope that gets you going with Ruby on Rails. It’s very interesting and if I were still an active programmer, I know I’d be experimenting with it too.