At work, we’re about to get started on a pretty straightforward reservation application. We have a client that offers tours of their facility and they need a web app to take and manage reservations for said tours. I know that I could code this out in php/mysql pretty easily, but it seemed like the perfect opportunity to give Ruby on Rails a shot.

I have to admit here that I’m pretty excited about the possiblity of using rails. I’ve heard so much from so many of my colleagues about it’s ease of use and flexibility that I was chomping at the bit to give this puppy a whirl. I followed Dan Benjamin’s EXCELLENT installation guide for OS X Tiger, and carefully (making a few mistakes along the way) followed the “Using Ruby on Rails for WebDevelopment on OS X” tutorial. Now, as a graphic designer, the majority of my college career was spent learning how to draw, paint, take pretty pictures, and be able to differenciate between the Madonna paintings of Cimabue and Giotto. I took some basic programming classes, but never learned anything about models, controllers, and views. Regardless, I was still able to walk through the installation, and basic app creation described in the tutorials above.

At the end of the day, I’ve got a sweet little expense tracking application (that was explained in the using rails tutorial), and one simple problem: how to deploy it. At work, we use CVS for out repository, but I guess I’m going to have to get friendly with SVN because Capistrano (aka SwitchTower) seems to require it, and I haven’t seen any other options for deployment. I did see this little guide at nubyonrails (fun name) about deploying to Dreamhost, but it too uses Capistrano and Subversion. Is this the way to go? Do I really have to source control my tiny little example app in order to stick it up on a subdomain of my site? I’m not REALLY expecting answers on all this. This is more just a journal on my thoughts and progress on the topic, but SOMEBODY 😉 out there has to be able to tell me if I’m on the right trail.

5 comments on “Derailed

Brian says:

Subversion is a pretty solid source control package. I’d say it’s worthwhile to learn. You might like it, then you can lead a crusade to get your company to use it 🙂

If you need a consultant… I might be available. Nothing offical yet, but my current project is nearing completion.

I would definitely recommend learning about Subversion…it fixes a lot of the problems that can creep up CVS over time. O’Reilly publishes a great free book on it here:

Version control is always a good idea for projects that will eventually be in production use, although I usually neglect using it for smaller prototypes and the like. If you’re just fooling around, trying to learn, there probably isn’t much point in using version control. Same thing goes for deployment…once you get something that’s production-worthy, then it’s a good idea to use an efficient means for deployment (Capistrano). That way you’ll save yourself from a lot of unnecessary headaches. If you just want to fool around with stuff on your own subdomain, then I wouldn’t bother with either.

There are some tricks to getting Rails up and running on Dreamhost, but I’m sure most of that can be found either in their knowlege base or by Googling around.

Anyway, stick with it…Rails is a great tool for web development, and more information/tutorials are being published every day. Good luck!

Justin Perkins says:

SVN and Capistrano seem to be the way to deploy rails apps. For personal stuff, I see no crime in using FTP. It works for me.

Welcome to the world of rails, you’ll never go back 🙂

Jordan says:

Jason: You have used ftp to deploy a RoR app? *curiousity piqued*

Lisa says:

Jason– Pleae keep us updated on this project. I’m also a designer turned designer/developer and am begining to learn RoR — I’m really interested in your experience.

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