Rails Development – Tracks

I’ve resolved to learn Ruby on Rails this spring in lieu of the grad school class that I would normally be taking (rather than letting any free time slide by playing Wii Sports). I think the best way to learn is by doing, and since I don’t have any containable project ideas, I’ve been tinkering with an open source project called Tracks, which is a web based organization application in the mold of the getting things done philosophy.

Even though I’m still painfully slow as a ruby developer, I’m really amazed how easy to work with and powerful some of the frameworks in rails are compared to the (clunky and slow to work with by comparison) Java/JSP/Struts stack I’m accustomed to. One of the features I love so far is the ability to reuse page chunks (“partials”, which could roughly be compared to tag-files in JSP land) in rails javascript templates which make it really simple togenerate javascript that will update multiple sections of a web page (as opposed to one container, which is easy to do with prototype alone from the client). I figured out enough in no time at all to submit a patch to enhance the project pages. Pretty cool.