scripts but I don’t know anything about MVC or Object Oriented development:</h4>
Here it really depends on how you learn things. Are you a “How” or a “Why” person?
A “How” person will learn by being shown how to do something and will then reproduce it and learn from it.
A “Why” person needs to understand why things are done a certain way so they can re apply their knowledge on other challenges.
The good news is that Rails uses many conventions and if you pick them up, you will quickly get things done and feel rewarded by what you have done.
That’s great for “How” people, but “Why” people might have to be a bit more patient and start playing with the framework before that can fully understand everything.
“How” people should definitely watch Ryan Bates’ excellent railscasts and read the Rails guides
“Why” people might want to read Ruby Programming Language and The Well-Grounded Rubyist, aka Ruby for Rails 2nd edition
You should also check the Rails wiki and contribute info that might be potentially missing.
(If you have a problem that is not covered/discussed in the wiki, try to solve it and then post your solution. If you come across the same problem at a later time, you will be able to quickly find how you solved it. By contributing, you will also save other developers’ time.)
Start reading Ruby/Rails related blogs, subscribe to rubyinside RSS feed and visit your local Ruby group.
Tip: Start a blog and keep track of what you learned. That will help you and other people facing the same challenges
I started writing a Rails app but I feel limited by my knowledge of the framework and the language
That’s a normal stage, don’t give up! Here are a couple of great reads: The Ruby Way and The Rails Way.
the Ruby Way should satisfy primarily the “why” people, while the Rails way should primarily please the “how” people. I’d recommend to read both.
Don’t hesitate to ask questions, check google, use twitter, blog comments, mailing lists. Try to find some local rubyists to share knowledge with.
Pick a topic you would like to know better and prepare a talk for your friends/local Ruby group or write a blog post about it.
One thing for sure, don’t be ashamed or discouraged. Persevere, it’s worth it (or get out, relax for a while, and then come back and give it another go).
A good way to improve your Ruby/Rails skills is to look at other people’s code. Check GitHub and see how people have solved the same problems you are facing.
You can also attend a Ruby/Rails training, a lot of companies offer classes around the world.
RailsBridge is trying to reach out to people aspiring to become better developer, check their site.
Tip: I often use apiDock when I’m looking for documentation on a method/class.
I wrote a Rails app, I adopted and understood the Rails conventions and I feel comfortable writing new apps.
Congratulations, you should be proud of what you have accomplished! But don’t stop learning!
Did you write tests for your application?
Do your tests really test your application, or are they just there to make you feel better (i.e: change your code, are your tests still passing? they shouldn’t)?
Do you use plugins? Did you look at their code? Do you understand how they work?
Could you write your own plugin? What about a Ruby gem?
I would strongly suggest contributing code at this point. Contribute a patch to one of the many GitHub projects, or even Rails, you will learn a lot!
Tip: Check out Gregg Pollack’s Scaling Rails series
I wrote a couple of Rails app, I even wrote a plugin/gem.
That’s great, by now you probably are very familiar with Rails and Ruby.
You might want to dive in a bit deeper. Maybe check how to wisely use metaprogramming and/or check on how to write C/FFI extensions.
Why not look at Ruby’s source code to learn how things really work?
It’s also probably a good time for you to start learning new languages to see how other communities do things.
Look at other frameworks and try to understand how and why people chose other conventions/ways.
Play with Python, Java, Scala, Clojure, Objective-C, Ocaml, Scheme or whatever language sounds interesting to you.
You don’t have to master other languages, but you should try to understand the reasoning behind each approach and understand the pros/cons.
It will honestly help your Ruby skills and broaden your horizons.
Tip: Prepare a couple of talks and send proposals to various conferences. (Don’t limit yourself to Ruby conferences)
I know Ruby and Rails like nobody else, I could even quote Rails and MRI’s source code by heart. (just ask a LOC)
Then I hope you are helping with the Ruby 1.9 efforts, contributing code to other implementations (IronRuby, JRuby, MacRuby, Rubinius) and helping with Rails 3 :)
If you are reading this post, you are probably in one of the above categories.
Pairing and tutoring are great ways to learn, it’s all about karma. Helping others will help you becoming a better developer.
Feel free to leave advise, links and info in the comments.