"Hilary Bailey" <my77elephants / gmail.com> wrote in message 
news:2096254cfec3d3742171b0cb22bd4a96 / ruby-forum.com...
> This is my second attempt to understand Ruby.  I completely read 1)
> "Beginning Ruby- From Novice to Professional (which to me is a
> completely waste of time), 2) The Pragmatic approach to Ruby (which is
> incomplete)3)Ruby in 20 minutes, 4)other 15 to 20 minutes cute intro
> programs 5) Shoes and now 6)The Book of Ruby by Huw Collingourne, which
> seems like a bible without a compiler, which may be totally useless.
>
> Is there anyone out there that could make my experience to Ruby
> practical and meaningful? As noted previously, I am a school teacher
> trying to create an education database software for administrators and
> teachers which will hold educational institutions accountable for the
> performance of their school district. My only programming experience is
> the confusion I had trying to read and comprehend the above sources that
> do not offer a stable compiler or the appropriate programs that will go
> hand in hand with their book or resource for Ruby.
>
> Is there a free compiler and other supporting software that I can use to
> make my so far miserable learning Ruby experience worth a while?  So far
> I am still sold on the idea that Ruby is the programing language to
> know, but at this moment I really need HELP.
>
> Tk in advance,
>
> Hilary

Hello Hilary:

In addition to the suggestions provided by others you may also want to look 
at this http://www.troubleshooters.com/codecorn/ruby/basictutorial.htm to 
learn the Ruby language.  It uses Linux so the way it describes running Ruby 
programs won't work for Windows and some of the examples given are a little 
strange (e.g. the use of three ellipses for loops, which is often more 
confusing than using Ruby's two ellipse format, and the use of the "length" 
method like "for ss in 0...presidents.length" in loops which could just be 
replaced by "for ss in presidents").  These (and tons of other resource 
you'll find by typing "ruby tutorial" into Google) are also useful 
http://www.fincher.org/tips/Languages/Ruby/ , 
http://www.digitalmediaminute.com/article/3398/ruby-programming-tutorial .

I find Ruby a very easy (and enjoyable) language to learn (like Basic was 
many years ago) but it's a big step between knowing a language and knowing 
how to design and build a database applications.   If your goal is to build 
a database application to share with a number of people spread over a large 
geographical areas then you'll eventually need to learn something about 
database design, decide what database you want to use, and decide if you 
want to create a desktop application (using something like wxRuby which is 
wxWidgets for Ruby) or a web application  (using something like Ruby on 
Rails, also called RoR or Rails) .

Desktop applications tend to be easier to write but harder to distribute and 
fix because you'll need to copy them (or any fixes) to each computer that 
needs them.   Web applications tend to be harder to write because you'll 
need more infrastructure (computers and software) and understanding of 
programming specialties (i.e. security, multi-user environment design, web 
architecture) but are easier to distribute and fix because you'll only need 
to provide folks with the location (i.e. a web address), user id  and 
password of your web application and can fix things in one spot, locally on 
your web server.

If your target ends up being a Windows desktop application, I find it easier 
to build desktop applications in tools like Embarcadero Delphi or Microsoft 
Visual Studio .NET and often suggest that clients with little programming 
experience use something like Microsoft Access because these tools have 
integrated development-environments, database builders, GUI builders and 
deployment tools that make things easier out-of-the-box.   I suggest this 
because even though Ruby is a very nice languages (my favourite actually), 
the language is a small part of the overall picture when building a complex 
application.  Unfortunately, Ruby is usually my last choice for desktop 
projects because of  the complexities of pulling together and predictably 
deploying all the pieces (i.e. database drivers, GUI, libraries).  Ruby also 
presents challenges for speed, protection of intellectual property and data 
privacy.   I recommend you dig deeper on these topics and decide for 
yourself.  I just wanted to warn you before you got too deep then frustrated 
and blamed Ruby for your pain when the pain is probably related to many 
other things.  If your target ends up being a web application then Ruby on 
Rails is a good choice (even through, for similar reasons, I've found 
Embarcadero Delphi Intraweb better for the web applications I've needed to 
build).

If you decide to use Ruby to develop your database application you should 
consider purchasing a robust code editor like JetBrains RubyMine 
(http://www.jetbrains.com/ruby/ ) which can help you be more productive 
(especailly for coding error identifcation and debugging) when writing 
either Ruby or Ruby on Rails applications.

I learned Ruby with the book "Programming Ruby" and Ruby-on-Rails with the 
book "Agile Web Development with Rails".  Both are authored by Dave Thomas 
and published by The Programmatic Programmers.

Michael