Monday, 6 December 2010

Programming for Zombies! Redux

I finished the tutorials on Rails For Zombies and while they were fun i'm not sure how useful they really were.

I picked up a few snippets of code which will be useful and there were some interesting Rails 3 features, but looking beyond the catchy theme, there isn't much there. I said in the original post that i didn't think it would replace Agile Web Development With Rails, but i don't think it even replaces the first example in Head First Rails. The goal of Rails For Zombies is to allow people to get their feet wet with Rails without having to worry about configuration, but the depth of information is more like dipping a single toe in the water.

What blew me away in the first example in Head First Rails was that i could create and run a functional (though not pretty) web application with 4 lines of code. You never quite get that level of "wow" in Rails For Zombies; unless you have programmed extensively in another language you don't really appreciate the brevity and simplicity of the code in the examples. The coding at the end of each tutorial is fine and provides a good way to check comprehension, but you are never dealing with more than a couple of lines of code so it is hard to know where everything fits in. You also never get to actually play with the application you are supposed to be working on, which is a large part of the feedback.

What would have been more useful is a mashup - Head First Rails For Zombies. Combine the lack of configuration worries and fun theme of Rails For Zombies with building an app from the ground up like in the first Head First Rails example.

The one thing that has really stuck with me is the jingle:
Quite funny and disturbingly catchy.


  1. Thanks for the honest feedback Steev. You definitely have some good points, we don't cover a great deal, but we warn people about that at the start. Plus, the first thing the does is have users startup and deploy an application... and that's where I refer people to next.

    For us it was all about showing people how easy it is... not really how to do it all.. so you're right... Getting your feet errr toe wet =)

  2. Gregg,

    Thanks for taking the time to comment and more to the point thanks for taking the time to put together a great resource.

    While i was writing this post i stumbled on your YouTube account, i loved the MVC videos, i definitely look forward to whatever you do next.