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Project: Make a ToDo app in Ruby on Rails

Ruby dreams? Make that dream a reality!

So you know your way around HTML & CSS. You’ve made your own website, and even tried implementing a jQuery plugin or two. But what you dream of is digging into the backend.

But where to begin? You tried TryRuby.org (so fun!) and started to read _why’s poignant guide to ruby, but how to translate your experimentation into something actionable, or better yet, practical?

Time to take that conceptual Ruby knowledge and put it to use: make a ToDo list (or variation thereof) in Ruby on Rails!

Will you be solving a hard problem? No. A problem no one has solved before? Nope! That’s not the point! Your goal is to get started, see if you can write some real, live Ruby code and make the language do what you want it to.

The best way to learn a new programming language is to give yourself a difficult, but manageable, and concrete task. And get to work. And don’t worry if your code is horrible and ugly and buggy to begin. Part of learning how to write good code is first writing bad code and then learning why it was bad!

First things first, get Ruby & Rails installed
Before you begin you need to make sure that you have Ruby and Rails installed on your system. Ruby comes installed on newer Macs, but if you need to install Ruby read about it here, or go to the original source.

Getting Rails up and running can be a bit more difficult. Rails Girls has an excellent guide to installing Rails, as does RailsBridge and of course, Ruby on Rails itself.

Once you have these set, it’s time to get to working on your app.

If you are a traditionalist
Check out Vincent Foley’s “How to make a todo list program in Rails” tutorial.


The end product

This tutorial teaches you how to setup a basic todo list app structure and include nice features like a “Done” and “Not Done” section.

If you want something funkier
Then we recommend the Rails Girls’ App Tutorial. Their app isn’t exactly a todo list, but it’s very close. If you follow the Rails Girls App Tutorial, you will end up with a beautiful Idea List app, seen here.


The end product

Plus, their tutorial will teach you some fun extras like how to add image uploaders to your app.

I’ve got my app working, what next?
Get that app online, of course! Check out Rails Girls’ guide to putting your app up on Heroku. And then send us an email so we can celebrate!

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  • http://learntocodewith.me/ Laurence Bradford

    great article! but the link http://mirror.monsson.dk/rails/tutorial.html doesn’t seem to be working … :(

    nevertheless, love the todo list idea for my first app. Definitely going to build one now :) Thx for the inspiration!

    • skillcrush

      Thanks for the heads-up, Laurence! Looks like that tutorial isn’t available anymore.

      So sorry about that! But so glad to hear you got inspired and are planning to build a To Do list app! We’d love for you to share it with us when it’s ready.

      Happy coding and hope to hear from you again! :)

      • http://learntocodewith.me/ Laurence Bradford

        I decided to go with Treehouse’s To Do List App Tutorial after trying out a few free ones that weren’t too helpful.

        We’ll see how this Treehouse course goes, though. First time I am ever using Treehouse, so interested to see if it is as good as some say.

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