I’ve been making good progress through The Book of Ruby this week. I’ve continued to use the simple Ruby install on my ThinkPad, since it’s working fine, and I don’t yet need any of the fancy stuff; I’m still just working my way through language basics.
But I stumbled across an interesting class on Coursera that was just starting up, called Web Application Architectures, which covers Ruby on Rails. Initially, I resisted the urge to sign up for it, since I don’t think I’m really ready to start messing with Rails yet, but my curiosity got the best of me, and I went ahead and registered for it.
So now I’m messing with the somewhat arcane process of setting up Rails. Initially, I looked at trying to get Rails to work with my existing Ruby install on the ThinkPad, but (to make a long story short) that didn’t work out. So I looked at a couple of other options for installing a Rails dev environment on Windows, including RailsInstaller and RailsFTW, but I had some problems with both of them and decided to go a different way, rather than try to resolve the issues. (Finding pages like this and this on Reddit pretty much convinced me that setting up Rails on a Windows machine was a bad idea.)
So I went ahead and installed Ubuntu 14.04 under VirtualBox and followed the instructions found here to set up Rails. That seems to have gone smoothly, but I won’t really know for sure until I’ve done some meaningful work. I’m still not entirely sure if I’m going to stick with it, or punt on the course for now and avoid the messy complications of Rails until I have a better grounding in basic Ruby, but I’m going to spend some more time on it this weekend and see how it goes.
Oh, and as a side note, it’s fun to be messing with Linux again. I haven’t really touched Linux in a while. Ubuntu was fairly easy to set up under VirtualBox, and it seems to be running fine. The desktop UI is attractive and reasonably fast, even in a VM with only 1.5 GB of RAM allocated to it. (I’ll probably have to bump that up to 2 GB if I get serious about the Rails stuff.)