WDI Day Fifty-Seven: Project Week 4, Part 5

Using Rails and JavaScript for my project has proved to be a good move. Instead of struggling with the technology and building out an application, I have been able to focus on building out my app.

Today was a pretty successful day – I created icons for all of the different sections of the site. I also found a fix for the weird offset issue I was running into. I also added the ability for users to change the difficulty level of the puzzles they created. Overall, things are slowly falling into place, and I’ve successfully launched all changes to the deployed app on Heroku.

puzzle-me-pictures-screenshot

WDI Day Fifty-Six: Project Week 4, Part 4

My project is gradually coming together, and I’m feeling much better about things now that I’ve changed gears. I’ll definitely need to revisit front-end frameworks next week so I can feel more confident with them.

After spending a few hours working on my app, we had a break in the afternoon where the Outcomes team had a former instructor review the technical interview process that developers often go through. Since I’m not at all familiar with that process, it was pretty insightful to get a taste of what happens.

Later I played around with adding animations to my app, and discovered how fun SVG animations are. I’ll need to look into those more in-depth since they seem to be pretty powerful. Overall, today had several wins. I managed to set up user logins, deploy my app, add image uploading with AWS, spiced up the homepage with an animation, and looked into a few other ways to fine-tune the app. For tomorrow, I hope to work on the following:

  • Adding icons to each landing page
  • Rethink the puzzle index page
  • Rework the styling
  • Try to resolve the offset issue that makes the JavaScript puzzle act weird in Chrome and Firefox
  • Add seed data
  • Fine-tune the user experience for user logins

WDI Day Fifty-Five: Project Week 4, Part 3

I woke up at around 5am today to get started on rebuilding my project since I only have until Friday to finish it. I want to make sure that I can create as complete of an application as possible. I like how when my instructor heard that I was rebuilding my project, he told me that the deadline is really just an arbitrary date since we aren’t getting graded for the final project. But I told him that I still wanted to create something complete and portfolio-worthy. And that I can always revisit these more complex applications next week, when I don’t have the pressure of a deadline – even if the deadline is considered arbitrary.

I redid my application in Rails and managed the get the JavaScript puzzle functionality working, for the most part, as I’d like it to. Tonight I’ll work more on styling the application and fine-tuning the JavaScript functionality. Tomorrow I think I’ll add user login and launch it for the first time to see how it does live. Then I’ll take a look at some smaller “like to haves” that I’ll work on tackling one-by-one.

Ever since our third project, the group one, I’ve found myself feeling a little down about my abilities as a developer. I’ve been doubting myself a lot lately, and I’m realizing the problem is that I’m dealing with too many complex frameworks and concepts. Every now and then, I think it will be a good idea if I revisit concepts and technologies that I’m more comfortable with so that I can reassure myself that I am perfectly capable of building things. Sometimes it’s easy to get lost in the noise of all the languages and techniques that are out there. It’s a good thing to reevaluate where you stand.

WDI Day Fifty-Four: Project Week 4, Part 2

Over the weekend I spent a good chunk of time working on my project. And then again all day today and tonight I alway hacked away at it. Unfortunately, I had to come to the conclusion that I need to start the whole project over tomorrow. Why, you may ask?

Well, I didn’t realize that working with HTML5 canvas and React would prove to be a bit complicated. I also realized that I don’t understand React as thoroughly as I’d like to in order to create a complete and polished product.

When it came down to it, it was more important to me that I build something new to add to my portfolio that I can be proud of. After project week, I can always explore React and the MEAN stack once more. And at that point in time, I can also take my time with my work without the pressure of a project deadline.

WDI Day Fifty-Three: Project 4 Kickoff

Today was our project 4 kickoff. The day started off with the instructors walking through project expectations and the submission process, as well as a general overview of what the project week will look like.

I decided I wanted to make a puzzle application, so the day was spent building out the core functionality in JavaScript. I also worked on planning out the wireframes and the ERD. It was pretty much a day of planning.

I’ve also decided to attempt to build the app in React with Express and Mongo DB. I’m not at all familiar with the deployment process for this particular stack, so we shall see how that goes. If I run into too many issues in the beginning, I might just build everything out with technologies I’m more familiar with so that I can have a polished app. I can always explore these more difficult frameworks later on with a different and simpler application.

WDI Day Forty-Nine: Intro to ES6 & React JS

We have a three day weekend coming up, which will be perfect for me to start working on more Angular tutorials and getting more comfortable with some of the concepts that we haven’t had much time to cover in class.

Today we reviewed some of the differences and problems solved with ES6 when compared to ES5. The class broke up into teams that worked on lesson plans for different ES6 topics. My group focused on getters and setters and template literals. Both seemed pretty interesting.

Later we reviewed React JS. From the brief introduction we received, I can tell already that I really like React’s error messages – they’re not as cryptic as Angular’s errors. Yet again, we only glazed over a few things, so this weekend I hope to delve deeper into it.

WDI Day Forty-Four: Express & Mongo Intro

It’s been an exhausting week, but thankfully projects are over and today we had an introduction to Mongo and Express. We reviewed Mongo DB, which is a no SQL database, and used Mongoose to make queries. When it comes to databases, I’m realizing that I really enjoy working with querying for information. For some reason there’s something fun about that.

Express proved to be a little bit confusing. It made me realize that this weekend I need to review Angular JS and also do a little document diving with Express. I want to make sure things make a lot more sense to me in the upcoming weeks.

Resources

WDI Day Thirty-Eight: Angular Review & Lab Day

Apparently the vast majority of my class is struggling with Angular, so it’s good to know that I’m not alone. It’s been a lot of hours this week spent staring at code, attempting to make things, fiddling around with existing projects, and trying so desperately to get things to click.

This morning started off with a review, and then we had the rest of the day to work on a lab. We had to build an Angular app with a basic CRUD functionality. The app was called “WDI Radio,” and if we were able to get to it, we had to figure out how to play mp3 files in the app. I almost made it that far, but was proud of myself for putting together the app fairly quickly and deploying it with Firebase – something I had never done before.

wdi-radio-screenshot

WDI Day Thirty-Seven: Angular, APIs, & Firebase

I’ve reached the conclusion that Angular is hard. It will take some getting used to with running through several exercises before I feel comfortable enough with it.

Today we worked with Angular alongside Rails. It was cool seeing how we can create our own APIs when we need to be able to work with updating the API data. It was weird seeing how Rails as the back-end fits together with Angular as the front-end. We walked through putting together a couple of single-paged applications with the Rails/Angular combo, and I noticed that the Angular server acts a little wonky at times when working on updates.

In the afternoon we walked through working on a SPA with Firebase. Firebase is a Platform as a Service (PaaS), that offers a number of cloud-based computing services, including a realtime database. Firebase uses Websockets to maintain a constant, open connection between the client and the database. We used AngularFire, which is a way to connect an Angular application to a Firebase DB.

Resources

WDI Day Thirty-Six: Studio Visit & Angular

I had a chance to sit-in on a Scrum meeting at National Geographic, which was a pretty insightful experience. As someone who is coming from a background in working for nonprofits, it was great to get to see the planning phase that other companies go through.

Afterwards, we worked with Angular once more, although this time we combined our knowledge of Angular with API calls, putting together our first Angular CRUD application. It’s going to take a little while to get used to the format for Angular applications, with controllers and views, but I’m determined to ‘get it.’

Resources