The only thing I can say in favor of the Codecademy edition is the completely browser-based Codecademy learning environment. To run through the Codecademy
tutorial mystery show, one only needs a browser. RailGuide has no patience to set up a virtual machine for you. It wants the reader to set up their own fully functional Ruby environment to follow along. (Don’t worry, instructions are right up front in Section 1.) If people are just surveying the technology, this may be more than they are willing to do. But those who are serious about getting their hands dirty will want it anyway, so I didn’t see that as a barrier.
Getting Started with Rails does a far better job of describing what Rails is, what it does, and the components that the students will be activating in the lesson. It explained the directory structure. It explained the relationship of the view and the model and the controller. It explained how the database relates to the model. On and on, tons of info I failed to get out of Codecademy.
The best part was when the class went into partial forms. (Codecademy didn’t cover the topic at all.) First the student did it the hard way, then the student is instructed on how to clean up after themselves and simplify the structure with partials. See the original – then work the magic yourself – makes for superior comprehension.
Ruby on Rails is a big complex machine and there’s still lots to learn. Like routing… the link_to routes are still magic to me. But I feel like I have a solid foundation now, which I didn’t feel before.
Onward to more Rails adventures…