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Johns Hopkins University

Ruby on Rails: An Introduction

Johns Hopkins University via Coursera

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Did you ever want to build a web application? Perhaps you even started down that path in a language like Java or C#, when you realized that there was so much “climbing the mountain” that you had to do? Maybe you have heard about web services being all the rage, but thought they were too complicated to integrate into your web application. Or maybe you wondered how deploying web applications to the cloud works, but there was too much to set up just to get going.

In this course, we will explore how to build web applications with the Ruby on Rails web application framework, which is geared towards rapid prototyping. Yes, that means building quickly! At the conclusion of this course, you will be able to build a meaningful web application and deploy it to the “cloud” using a Heroku PaaS (Platform as a Service). Best of all, it will almost feel effortless… Really!

“But wait”, you will say, “there is no way that we can build a useful application if there is no database involved. You need the data for an application to be useful.” Great point! But what if… instead of getting the data from the database, we get it from the internet by tapping into one of the web services out there that readily provides data needed by our application? “Ok, but that’s probably very complicated”, you will say. Take this course and you will be pleasantly surprised at just how easy it is!


  • Welcome and Setting Up the Development Environment
    • In this module, we will install software required to develop Ruby on Rails applications. We will also demonstrate the use of a popular Ruby on Rails editor called “Sublime Text”. We will finish the module by familiarizing ourselves with a version control system called “Git” that will be used later in the course to submit assignments, as well as to deploy Ruby on Rails applications to a PaaS (platform as a service) called “Heroku”.
  • Introduction to Ruby
    • In this module, we will explore the different areas of the Ruby programming language.

      We will start with the basics and continue with more advanced topics, such as arrays and hashes. We will also spend time exploring object oriented programming in Ruby, and finish the module by demonstrating how to perform unit testing.

  • Introduction to Ruby on Rails
    • In this module, we will become familiar with core concepts behind Ruby on Rails, such as CoC (Convention Over Configuration) and MVC (Model-View-Controller).

      We will then learn about consuming JSON API with HTTParty, a Ruby gem. We will then integrate this ability to consume JSON API to serve as the data layer for our Rails application.

      Finally, to conclude this module we will deploy the application to Heroku and write a unit test that will verify the desired functionality.

Taught by

Kalman Hazins, MS


3.1 rating, based on 55 Class Central reviews

Start your review of Ruby on Rails: An Introduction

  • Nobody said that this course and Web Development in general are easy... it's a demanding and challenging course...! And that's just fine!!! I selected this course right after I completed the Coursera course "Web Application Development: Basic conce…
  • Anonymous
    In general I think the instructor is trying to tackle too much in 3 weeks. Given that this is the first run, many issues with the assignments arose. It required students to dive extensive into the discussion area to obtain clarity. Choice of variabl…
  • Anonymous
    The whole course is hastily put together. The lectures are especially terrible with the microphone so poorly placed you can loudly and clearly hear the bodily functions of the lecturer. Graded assignments lack any real direction and instead classm…
  • Anonymous
    The lectures are terrible. They are all the same style with the instructor droning on about topics that are often grouped together without being related. Examples are few and far between and don't do nearly enough to actually demonstrate what is b…
  • Christos Kokolios
    I am going to do my review in modules and i will try to cover both bad things and good things. First Module: In my opinion if someone is not going for the full 6 courses or at least for several courses it is an overkill to spend 1 of the 3 weeks wi…
  • Ryan
    The course was a bit tougher than expected from the description. The 2-3 hour per week estimate was on the low side of realistic. It seems like this was the beta-offering of the 1st course in the series, as there were a few glitches to be worked…
  • Anonymous
    I did complete the course and am fairly satisfied with what I learnt. However, there is a whole slew of improvements that could have been made. I mean, it cost each person $75 and there were over 500 students enrolled. The least they could have don…
  • Profile image for Sarah Stensberg
    Sarah Stensberg
    I had really high hopes for the Ruby on Rails specialization, but after the first course, I don't think I'll be continuing. The lectures weren't well put together, and it was hard to understand the lecturer at times. The assignments were THE WORST. They are difficult to understand, and not at all beginner friendly. They also seemed to require knowledge on topics that were not covered in the lectures! No college class I've ever taken has required you research topics outside of the course in order to complete an assignment that should be covered in the lectures. The entire experience was frustrating overall.
  • Anonymous
    I had high hopes based on the outline and the intro video. While I have some programing experience I am new to Ruby. I found the teaching methods very theoretical with the assignments having a too steep learning curve. I have since opted for another course which is way more hands on and has helped me learn Ruby in an interactive way. I will attempt this course again in the future but would recommend to anyone to not go into this without prior experience - to begin there are better courses out there.
  • Anonymous
    I didnt like that there wasnt a depth of video tutorials showing techniques. The videos seemed out of order. Parsing user input which i believe was the variable q was not well explained. The forums did give answers and there was a TA that was very…
  • Profile image for Derek Humlicek
    Derek Humlicek
    Mostly terrible course. This course gives Johns Hopkins and online courses in general a bad name. The course is in need of an update or new version. Most of the material is older or out of date. Many examples no longer work. You will have to install…
  • Erica Correa
    This course was really difficult from a true beginner perspective. I knew HTML and CSS going into this course and had practiced some Ruby on CodeAcademy and was loving it so I decided to take this course based on the syllabus. It seemed like a good…
  • I noticed a lot of people had a lot of trouble trying to complete the course and for sure the unreal 2-3h/week suggested to accomplish the assignments were the reason for so many people to enroll and then fail. But taking in consideration that the…
  • Anonymous
    This was an amazing course. It's only 3 weeks long but it gives you the opportunity to get a good basis on ruby and rails, as well as other useful tools that are used, such as GIT, RSpec and HTTParty. I found the first coding assignment to be partic…
  • Sukanya S
    I'm glad I took this course. The instructor is very knowledgeable. I like his teaching style, i.e., straight to the point. I learned some valuable information that I could not find on other ruby/ruby on rails courses. Since I'm not a native speaker, it usually took me quite a while to understand the description of the homework assignments. Once I understood them, it didn't take me that long to solve them. I would like to say thank you to Prof. Kalman Hazins for teaching this class and sharing his valuable knowledge. I highly recommend this course. However, if you are an absolute beginner, this course might be a little bit too hard.
  • Anonymous
    As someone who had previously dabbled in Rails, I found this course to be incredibly informative, well organized, and rich with content. The material was delivered at a reasonable rate; I do not believe the pace would leave any student who is interested either unchallenged or overburdened. The grading scheme is perfectly thought-out, allowing ample time even for someone who is prone to procrastination. If you are interested in Rails, trust Kalman. He definitely knows his stuff, and he presents it very well.
  • Anonymous
    I think the course did what was in the description. The lectures covered lots of examples and the assignments were based on those examples. The slides werent as informative as the videos. I used them as a guide to what videos to review when I was stuck on a problem. Lots of sample code in the git repository for the class. I found the TA's incredibly responsive and their replies helped me understand my mistake or addressed any issues with the homework assignments. The course mentions good references...specifically the online "Ruby on Rails Tutorial".
  • Profile image for Yuko Sugiyama
    Yuko Sugiyama
    This course is not for beginner. If someone already understand some programming languages and want to learn different one, this course is good for them. At the first:software set up stage, all beginners feel difficulty, maybe some of us dropped the course at the point. Use RSPEC to do self-grading is a really good idea, but it is hard to understand for beginners. I hope next course is well structured and nice to follow.
  • Profile image for Philip Howarth
    Philip Howarth
    This course was a disaster for me - attempting to download the Roby software resulted in changed software from the lecture which I simply couldn't get to work as each command tried according to the lecture resulted in a different result due no doubt to the software being updated - a dreadful mess but like they say 'ya pays peanuts, ya gets monkeys' bye Coursera
  • AlexGout
    Very much liked the course. Would have liked a bit more in depth Ruby/Rails, however, this was just an introduction and what I liked about this approach is the end-to-end coverage of a simple (but real) application. It was also good to see the attention for other facets of the SDL than just coding: QA and deployment.
    I'm a JAVA developer, but I image that people who don't know JAVA or C++, will have some trouble with the frame of reference needed to interpret some of the language details.

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