Day 33 – 35 + Weekend

Ah, I have been remiss in my blogging duties. Sad day.

Things have gotten a bit more busy around here. Namely, I finished about as much of the Rails course as I’m going to and I’m starting on my final project. Ben, a former student from two classes ago, is going to work with me on this venture.

We decided to do it all in Node.js and Express. We are going to work on creating a game that can be played by multiple people while they use their phone as a controller. To do this we need a lot of real time action and Node.js and Express are really good at that. Rails is really great for creating deep websites with lots of pages, content, and big databases.

So Friday and all day yesterday we worked at my house. One of my roommates is an Express and Node.js wizard so he helped us get off the ground. A lot of our time is simple researching and learning how to do things. Which makes progress slow but we figure (and hope) that once we overcome the learning curve things should pick up.

I’ve found out that I really prefer to work at home lately for a few reasons: there are less distractions (except in the evening), we have access to someone who is familiar with Express (nobody really at the Dojo does), and I have full access to use the house’s 46″ tv as a second monitor. Woo!

Ok, I’ll try and keep up with my posting duties now that things are getting busy.


Day 31 and 32, Monday and Tuesday

I didnt accomplish much this weekend. I spent about 10ish hours at the dojo on Saturday and probably only did about two hours worth of work. The rest of the time was spent watching half of Hell on Wheels season 2 (AMAZING!), taking a nap, going out to lunch, and hanging out. Sunday wasnt much better but it was good to go relax at church.

The long and short of it is that we didnt finish our project with node.js. We really only had about three or four days of actual work because the rest of the time was spent learning the language. Something that proved to be particularly hard for us. I especially poured myself into learning the language in as fast a time frame as possible. I put in 16ish hour days every day for a week and a half. And I think I blew a fuse in a bad way. I was on a high from being good with PHP and CodeIgniter and I was knocked on my tuff by some serious Javascript. One of my roommates is really good with Node.js but lo and behold it was the first web technology he really ever learned. I guess when you dont know any better its easier to handle!

On Monday I started Ruby and I started on the Models section of the Rails course. First impressions: Ruby is pretty neat. You can do some wild things with it and the documentation is actually really great and intuitive. Rails is a beast. Extremely powerful and is NOT for beginners (I wonder if I technically classify?). Dealing with their method of Active Reccord for generating models from the command line is both awesome and freakishly frustrating. You can create a lot of stuff really fast… and you can screw it up just as quickly. Thats the power of the command line. It may be antiquated and basic, but it is powerful.

Its currently a bit frustrating but I’ll get the hang of it.

I need to get the hang of it quickly though because on Thursday I start project numero two. More details to come.


Day 22, Tuesday

Progress, at last.

I’ve finally achieved functionality on my CodeIgniter assignment. The message board part is now up and working. I’ve put together all the UI/UX for the rest of the assignment, I just now need to connect it to the database. That might take awhile and there are a few different ways I could pull it off.

Therefore, I left it for tomorrow. Time to take a good break.

As I theorized, because of my bush-whacking / forge a new path through the forest mentality, I’ve started to have a good grasp of how CodeIgniter works. There are a lot of really awesome tools and tricks that make it very useful. I’m interested to begin playing with Ruby and Rails. They say that its a big difference.

Apparently, in Rails, you just have to trust that a particular function or tool works. You dont necessarily need to know how it works. This has its benefits and disadvantages. You can develop a lot of applications very quickly. But it doesnt lend itself to customization and you can have a lot of people who are really good at rails, but in truth, terrible programers. I believe that is a distinct advantage of attending Coding Dojo. They knowingly force you to learn the basics and “the hard way” of doing things so that you not only understand but also appreciate the more advanced tools.

I also admit that I am 100% absolutely comfortable with having to learn a new language for my job. I have a solid grasp of the foundations and after that its just a matter of syntax.


Slight Hiatus.

So tomorrow I will leave the country for three weeks. I have some training exercises with the National Guard that will draw my attention and I wont be able to study while I am away. This aspect sucks because there is still a considerable amount of work that I’d like to do before I leave on my Coding Dojo Adventure, but then again, I really like being prepared.

As far as studying goes, I havent accomplished much over the past few days seeing as its been Memorial Day Weekend. I chose to spend my time with my wife, kids, and packing. Once I return from my military obligations I’ll turn around and dissappear for the whole summer. I wanted to enjoy their faces, laughter, and crazy antics as much as I could.

I’m almost done with the exercises on Code Academy for Javascript. I just got into their Object Oeriented Programming section and the way they describe methods is a bit muddling. I’ve come to realize that in programing, you really only have a few different things you can do: loops, if statements, and functions. Things like objects, methods, and classes are just chunks of code used in different ways, and often times, each language has different deffenitions and rules. For example, in Ruby, everything is an object. C only has functions. Javascript has methods and, on the surface, are exactly the same as functions. Its all a bit dizzying but I know I’ll get the hang of it. My biggest thing is that I just need to DO it. Enter Coding Dojo and the expected 80 – 100 hours a week I’ll spend coding.

I figure that even if I suck, by sheer brute force I’ll achieve some level of proficiency by the end of things 🙂

I’ve also had to start dabbling in wireframing. I think the idea is neat and 100% necessary, but I haven’t been given much guidance on what to wireframe. They just said, “Go therefore and create-ith two wireframes for your first two projects. Each shall hath 3 – 5 pages”. Needles to say, I haven met that goal. I’ll take my lashings when I show up and catch up as fast as I can.

The program we’re to use is called Balsamiq Mockups. Its pretty neat. Thats all I’ll say about that.

So yeah, this’ll be my last post before I start my drive out west. I just hope I’ve managed to find a place to stay before I go!