Week 8 on RoR: Community is Key

by Buddy Lindsey on October 25, 2010

Community is the best place to learn new things, get encourage and revved up to learn, and overall have fun with your technology of choice. In the .NET space there is a big community, and it is a lot of fun to really read others blogs and interact with other passionate developers.The Ruby on Rails, and Ruby, community is no different.

I found that some of the RoR devs here at the office were talking about all kinds of things I had never heard of. I quickly realized I know a lot about the .NET community which they don’t know about, and would be blown away by that exists. It then hit me that they are plugged into the ruby community in the same high octane way I am with the .NET community. So this week I have really stretched out to look into how to break into the community, if for nothing else than to read and learn what they have to say.

Forums / Mailing Lists

Forums and mailing lists are very popular. In recent years I have started to prefer mailing lists over forums, but I still like forums. So here are some mailing lists and forums you might want to check out.
Mailing Lists

Forums

Blogs

Blogs are a great place to get very specific information. Also to some degree some of the best documentation for Ruby and Ruby on Rails is on blogs. So I really like to read and follow blogs. I’ll just give you a few lists that list other Ruby and RoR people since I probably am not the best person to ask about the best ones to follow.

Podcasts

Sometimes you just can’t be at the computer reading so that is a great time to listen to podcasts. I have loved podcasts since its inception way back when Adam Curry really pushed it forward to make podcasting what it is today. I don’t listen to all of these regularly, but I do a couple and at least know of the rest.

Github

This is rather hard to explain for a “community” site. However the documentation is amazing for many of the ruby projects that are on there. I really didn’t realize how nice it was until I started exploring projects. My best suggestion is to hit a couple of projects and read through readme’s and discussions. Then move on to explore other projects and browse their code. You can learn a lot doing this and see some really cool projects. To get you started here are a couple of popular projects

Twitter

Twitter is a lot of fun to follow people on and read their conversations. I could make a list of people to follow, but I don’t want to add to the noise of that. So here are others lists, which are better educated lists. There is a lot of overlap, but still a lot of people to follow.

IRC

From back in the days of yore we have IRC. Actually it is still really popular and used a lot so here are some top channels to checkout.
irc.freenode.net

  • #ruby-lang
  • #rubyonrails
  • #rails-contrib

Conclusion

I still have a lot to take in. I am finding that the ruby community, much like the .NET one, is VAST. Once you get into rails it is an easy leap to everything ruby which has exploded over the last several years with all kinds of cool and interesting shiny objects.

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