Han Loong Liauw because the world needs another programming blog

Back to School

In the past few months I have switched jobs, languages (programming that is), version control system and last but not least my editor. Its been quite an adjustment but I have never been more excited about being a software engineer. However I don’t want this to come off as a problem with my last job because it wasn’t the job, it was me. I had become stuck and I needed a reason to push myself to improve. The people I worked with were great but I had dug myself into a hole that I needed to get out of.

So with this switch I have had to learn a lot of new stuff. I mostly used the internet for learning material and wanted to share what I used and let you know what I found helpful. Personally I’m not great at reading technical books so the majority of these are tools that have some interactive element.

Free Tools

This is a great little tutorial to get started with ruby syntax and is actually included in code schools ruby path.

If you are lucky/unlucky enough to live in a larger city there might just be a meetup group for ruby and/or rails. In Sydney there is the ruby on rails oceania group which holds free tutorial classes and help you get ruby and rails setup on your laptop which can be a challenge for newcomers. ReInteractive is a rails shop that is heavily involved in the Sydney community and take people through building a blog in rails.

This one is a popular choice but has tuns of great information and is constantly the first result in google when I’m searching for something.

So this resource is probably for people a bit further along the ruby road but its a excellent resource for diving deeper into topics.

This one is also for people a bit further along but is a great site created around the idea of code kata and code review. The basic concept is that there are a bunch of challenges that you attempt and each challenge has a completed spec or test file. Then once you complete your program and all the tests pass you submit it to the site and the other members of the site will provide feedback. Also its a great way to get an introduction to TDD as all the tests are written and all you have to do is uncomment them and then Red, Green, Refactor. As someone fairly new to TDD it was a excellent way to see the benefits of the process.

This is where I started my learning and to be honest it was a great place to start. Everything happens in the browser so no need to setup your system and get lost down the rabbit hole of why RVM is complaining in your shell or why postgres won’t start because the default port is currently being used by another program.

It allows you to focus on the task at hand and steps you through the concepts in a great way. Initially I used this for Rails, Ruby and Git but have gone back through some HTML/CSS classes and even tried out the NodeJs and Clojure content they have.

Price US $ 29 Month

This might be a bit of Assuie pride but I have a lot of respect for the Envato lads and they have built a pretty great tutorial site with great tools on rails, node, javascript, php and most other popular web technologies.

** Price $19 month**

If you are learning rails there is no doubt you will come across railscasts. It is a pretty comprehensive library for using rails and rails gems. Its not a tool for learning from ground up but if you need to know how to use a library or “gem” its great. There are some free videos but because I found it so useful I am happy to pay for this one.

** Price $9 month** (however on hiatus at time of writing

So I am part way through one of the courses Applied Ruby Theory but have found it pretty good. My goal was to get better at ruby outside Rails because I think its a common trap for programmers learning rails to get stuck in that framework. This course also teaches some TDD principles which is a big interest of mine. However it is a little expensive but the guy who runs it is great and you can take a much time as you need to complete the course.

Price $19 month

So this one I tried for out for a month but as I was paying out of my own pocket I couldn’t justify the expense. However if you can afford it or are serious in being great in rails I would highly recommend learn prime. I have a lot of respect for the thought bot guys and most of my vim setup I got from @r00k. So I could see this one as something I would do in the future to improve my BDD/TDD skills.

Prices Start at $99 month


And to keep up on the news I usually listen to podcasts on my commute. Here are my go to’s at the moment.

I will attempt to update this post as I remember tools or finish courses..