The confluence of my horrible default theme, needing to troubleshoot upgrading/downloading anything WordPress related, as well as, you know, all the classwork I’ve had conspired to make it easy not to keep up here. I’m sorry for that! Luckily, thanks to a friend at Hacker School, I got the poke I needed to get back over here:
@shawnacscott Hey, write more blog posts! I am eager to hear about your progress and your experience of PCS.
— Ashton McCrate (@akmccrate) November 27, 2013
You may have noticed that my theme is not horrible anymore, that my links are prettified, and that I’ve disabled all comments, in addition to actually writing. If I keep going at this rate, I’ll be blogging from my homemade space station in no time! In all seriousness, though, what I hope to do now is write something every day. What I will probably achieve is something every week, but I’m shooting for every day. As you can see from above, poking at me will get me to do things, so feel free!
Last time, I gave you a quick and dirty rundown of where we were in the Portland Code School: Ruby on Rails class, so let’s keep a good thing going. In week five we finished up our Sinatra app and our intro to routes. We also cleaned up some of our last vanilla Ruby learning tools, finishing up the Codecademy Ruby track, the Treehouse Ruby deep dive, and Ruby Koans.
Week six had us diving into Michael Hartl’s Ruby on Rails tutorial, and getting a brief overview of database structures and design. We’re on track to finish up Hartl by next Monday, and I have to say, thank goodness. Personally, I haven’t liked it overly much. It’s a great bird’s-eye view of a lot of different built-in Rails functions, but because it tries to really hit everything, it lacks a certain depth, in my opinion. It’s been a slog for me. Once I finish, I’ll write up a more in-depth overview of my thoughts on it.
In our seventh week we kept working through Hartl and started our fourth code challenge, learning more about scripts, regular expressions, and Ruby’s OptionParser class. That continued through week eight. A lot of us PCS students were a bit confused, I think, about where we were heading with this one, but once we got into the groove of it, I think we learned a lot. I love that we now have an understanding of regular expressions (which are awesome, and totally not scary!), a taste of what’s necessary to clean and parse incoming data, and a framework for writing scripts to automate processes.
As an aside, the OptionParser class has some terrifically bad documentation, but it’s worth it to slog through. It’s quite a powerful and easy to use (once you eventually figure out how) little tool. It allows you to create your own command line flags and do all sorts of fun manipulations of files quickly.
Week nine is where we are now, and this week was all about getting us ready for our capstone projects! Can’t lie, I am excited for this. We actually pitched our project ideas last week, but this week we wrote our briefs, user stories, wireframes, and page flows. The tl;dr is that I’m making an ally email moderation app. It will allow people who receive a lot of hate mail to filter out harassing messages and let their trusted allies catalog them. The allies can then immediately alert the intended recipient if there are any actionable threats in a message, and log all the rest.
I’m a little nervous, since I’ll be writing this app on my own, and it will require a lot of different and somewhat complex Rails functionality. I’ll need to be able to use encryption, authorization, authentication, and any and all general security chops I can muster to make this a thing that could be used some day. I’m confident, though, that I will learn a huge amount of practical Ruby on Rails knowledge by implementing all of these things, though, and that is really thrilling!