Happy New Year! Making new years' resolutions is a long standing tradition. Unfortunately, breaking those resolutions is also a tradition. I don't have scientific proof, but I'd guess that most resolutions that get broken are abandoned because they're difficult to keep, or even hard to start.
For example, let's say you've resolved to become fit. If you don't have a fitness regimen already, it can be pretty tough to adopt one. But things get a lot easier if you have a buddy or a trainer. Once you pass the initial hump and get into a habit of exercising, you're more likely to succeed.
Starting programming projects can be the same, especially if you're using a new language and framework. The quick start has been a key reason Ruby on Rails caught on so quickly. With minimal setup (thanks to "convention over configuration"), programmers could write a simple database-backed Web app in minutes.
That said, taking the time to read through the mountains of documentation online, or to read and work through a book, can still be a barrier of entry to some. Engine Yard University aims to lower this barrier with the Zero to Rails 3 training. It's an online class, which means you don't have to travel anywhere to take it. Plus, taking the course will also get you started on something else that many programmers have a hard time starting and sticking with: Test-Driven Development (TDD).
Some training programs mention TDD, but skip doing it to save time. Unfortunately, this mirrors a common occurrence in software development. Developers start a project thinking they'll write tests later. As more code is written, the bigger the testing mountain becomes, while the barrier to getting started with testing keeps getting higher.
By learning Ruby and Rails in a test-driven way, students will get used to writing tests as they code. By getting into the rhythm of "red, green, refractor" (which refers to starting with a failing test, making it pass, then improving it while continuing to pass), we hope students will find it easier to develop their own projects TDD style.
To learn more about the upcoming virtual training taking place January 24-27, check out the Zero to Rails 3 registration site. If you have questions, shoot us an email at training at engineyard dot com.