I just shared my comment on the NetTuts Rails Screencast article about my opinion on Ruby on Rails tutorials. My intention was to trigger a conversation and maybe get some feedback if my assumptions are wrong or some confirmation if they are correct.
Good to have tutorials where you don’t feel like in a point and click game rather in the process of learning. Rails is quite a challenge to learn (at least for me) as it’s not like PHP that you just open a text editor anywhere and throw the file to a shared host and that’s it. So it’s not something what I can practice in my short breaks or something. Also the tutorials get outdated very fast due to the many new releases.
I also found some tutorials with this ‘hold my hand and let’s build a blog in 5 minutes’ attitude, using scaffolding and stuff, where you more likely develop your typing skills than programming. Scaffolding is something, I think, a beginner programmer should avoid. I immediately become very suspicious if a tutorial starts with that. I understand it can be time saving but I do tutorials to learn not to proudly see an end product and do not understand how did I get there.
It also gave me some new ideas what to find out about Rails and the learning process, like:
How could we make possible to practice Rails coding from any computer?
This is a question I try to get an answer to.