This was posed as a question (“How do you..”) by a new Ruby on Rails developer at a recent Toronto RPN (Rails Pub Nite)
I’ve got to say it certainly can be a challenge, especially when
- We get busy with billable activities.
- Keeping on top of your technology stack
- We have less than 24 hours a day to “Always be Coding / Learning”. Sometimes we even have lives outside of code. 🙂
the best answers involve charging more, ‘sharpening your saw’, automate or outsource anything that is not code and repeatable, finding a good support group / team / friends.
As for 2), you need to be keeping updated on Ruby / Rails tools and gem libraries we use day-to-day, and, unless you are very lucky, as a RoR Developer you need at least an awareness of advancements and issues on the front-end (HTML5 / CSS3 / JS ECMAScript ES6+ /JS MVC Frameworks / Browsers), as well as further deeper in the stack (SQL / Non-SQL / Web Servers / Linux Servers / DevOps tool ).
Given that all of the parts of the modern stack are moving at accelerating speeds, it is a bit overwhelming.
So part of the “trick” is finding good curated content on the topics you feel you need to know. In the ruby / rails space, the best sources of the most important and interesting things going I’ve found are :
- the Ruby Weekly email,a free, once–weekly e-mail round-up of Ruby news and articles.
- The Ruby Flow, a great ruby community aggregator,
- and the Official Ruby on Rails Website blog.
If you like podcasts (and they link to much of their content as well, so even if you don’t listen they are worth checking out) then:
- the Ruby 5 podcast is excellent and short (5 items pre),
- and if you like longer podcasts, the weekly Ruby Rogues might work for you.
- The Ruby on Rails Podcast.
Another key activity is finding local User Groups, and Meetups in the technologies you use or interested in – even if you haven’t used them, since they tend to be happy to tell you why their thing is cool.
In Toronto there are 3 ruby / Rails related get togethers :
- Ruby Pub Nights : A social event that happens every third Monday of every month, except December, from 7-11PM at The Rhino. There are no technical demonstrations at Pub Nite.
- Toronto Ruby Brigade : Hack Nights, Socials, Workshops, Presentations
- Rails Girls TO : Calling all female Rails developers! Whether you are a veteran developer or just starting out!
A world wide collection of Awesome Ruby Events is being gathered.
One trick I’ve used to keep up with ruby gem releases is to have a public test repository on github with my prefered gems (heavily commented so I can see want the gem does) and have Gemnasium monitors it for updates and security vulnerabilities. (free for public repositories)
Update April 29, 2015 : Dev Shop NetGuru just published Top 7 Ruby on Rails Podcasts, which included my 3 picks and included one golden oldies podcast (The Ruby Show), and 3 golden oldies screencasts (video podcasts) (RailsCasts, Destroy All Software, and Ruby Tapas). Although no longer updated, all are a source for still relevant learning.
Also via RubyFlow comes word of Ruby Thursday :a free weekly online show that gives you bite sized tutorials, tips and tricks and reviews for the latest tools, gems and sites to help you grow as a Rails developer.