Ruby In the Sky With Diamonds *

* Yes, I am fully aware and sure that I am not the only one to come up with this clever bit.

Hey there, blog! As you can see from the title, I’m now into my Intro to Ruby course. But let’s catch up ….

Finished up the Intro to WordPress course. Was very into it and very excited to take the next in the series – WordPress Professional Best Practices. So excited, in fact, that I was afraid it might be hard for me to get into my other remaining courses after I’d finished that.

So, I’m making myself take Intro to Ruby first, with the WordPress course as a reward for later. 🙂 Other courses still to (probably) take –
Sinatra, ActiveRecord, and Postgres (about which I know NOTHING – although in glancing at the course page, looks like it is about getting our Ruby scripts attached to the web. Cool.) and Ruby on Rails, for sure.

So Ruby has been pretty interesting! Am glad to have gotten familiar already with some of the concepts that are used in JavaScript and also in Ruby. I think with that JavaScript experience, Ruby feels a little less impossible. It’s still a challenge for sure, but having gotten through the JavaScript course, it’s helping me to freak out slightly less than I did in that class, and to feel like –

Even if it doesn’t all make sense right now, it will at some point, and the key thing is to have gotten some basics down.

One of the things I did about working in Ruby thus far has been working in a text editor (currently using Visual Studio Code – hoping at some point I can take a breath and really understand how to use text editors to the fullest – I’m sure it can be even ore helpful to me than it already is, but I don’t even know what to look for/add) and the Terminal and the irb. Working in the terminal (and downloading things there, like Ruby) makes me feel like a SUPER HACKER and so getting to bounce around between the three of them is really fun.

We’ve just started looking at some gems; started with Nokogiri, which was pretty awesome, even though the word “scrape” gives me the complete shudders.

We’re doing a project with Twilio and then it looks like will learn a bit about Bundler and Gemfiles. A couple of projects to complete after than, and then we will work on making our OWN gem. Mind = blown.

Things I’ve Learned: 2 Monitors Are Better Than 1

Kudos to the folks in the general channel of Skillcrush’s Slack channel for having a thread about working with two monitors. At my day job I have two monitors, everyone does, and we’re mostly just doing boring Word/Excel/internet stuff. Switching between Chrome, photoshop, Atom and iTunes and others was really annoying and slowing me down on my (pretty small) MacBook Pro. Found an Acer monitor for less than $100 online, conferred with a friend on getting the right adapter, got them both, and it’s MUCH much better. Yay!

IMG_4790
Note as well sweet neon cactus sale purchase from Target.

Things are going more slowly than I would like, classwork-wise, although I also feel like I keep saying that. I was super excited for this Responsive class – still am – but am just slogging. I partly blame weather (winter, grey skies, less sun) and the holiday crazies. This time of year is really hard for me to stay motivated with so little sun (hence, neon cactuses and other light sources that I try to keep blaring into my face practically at all times.)

But I am 63% done – lesson 9 of 15 – of the Responsive class, and I have got to get back into the groove. Really hoping the dual monitor situation will help out a bit.

Have been thinking as well about what comes after this class. For the next project we are supposed to find a simple project that we get paid for, somewhere around $50 – $75. Not sure at all how I will approach that just yet. I think when this class is done I want to revisit my own website, start from scratch, and make it responsive.

Bummed that I have not yet made it to a meet-up. The next one I was planning to go to early next month was on the changes in ES6 for Javascript. Have realized that I have a conflict with an event with my kiddo, which comes first.  Hoping that they offer it again!

Friends don’t let friends code tired

And I’ve been lots of tired lately. Kind of bummed about my not-so-speedy progress, but progress is at least being made.

Finally wrapped up JavaScript class and all projects in it. Without a doubt I need to do more practice/study in it to feel like I have a handle on it. Heading to two JavaScript related meet-ups next month – I hope – the one I’d hoped to do this month got cancelled – to get more comfortable in it.

Went ahead started the responsive class while still wrapping up JavaScript as just super interested to jump in. First big project is to take a site we all coded in the HTML intro course and make it mobile-first and then also responsive. I think I’ve accomplished the mobile part, but first attempts at media queries for tablet and desktop were no so successful. Need to get back in to give it another whack, but, see above title.

I’ve also signed up for a course through Udemy on using Chrome Dev Tools. We for sure have talked about it in the Skillcrush classes, but I’m not sure I’m using it to it’s full potential (while googling for some info on the topic, I did watch a brief video about using Dev Tools to debug JavaScript which, hey, is good to know if I ever feel like I’ve gotten the hang of coding in that. )

Another reason I wanted to take a Dev Tools course is that it seems like the most often given piece of advice from the teachers of this class when folks ask a question is: Test it out in Dev Tools! Which I can appreciate, sure, but it also seems like just answering a question or two in a straightforward manner would be occasionally really helpful.

It’s like: I can’t turn on my computer, what do I do? Test it out in Dev Tools! …… no.

Working title

So, the journey into Codeacademy’s Intro to Javascript has been definitely fruitful. I think part of what made it so helpful are the small (but challenging!) projects that you complete at the end of each lesson, that ties in all the little bits that you’re learned throughout each section. BUT now realize that the reason I had access to said projects was because I was in a free trial period of their Pro plan. I gnawed through about 35% of the course and then the trial period ended.

I’ve gone back into Skillcrush and looked again at the project at the end of the course; it’s in four parts and now I’ve done three. I still hadn’t wrapped up those other lessons I couldn’t crack the code (it’s still funny!) on. It’s an exercise where we keep doing more and different things to the same code, which we copy and paste into their editor with each new piece. I’m trying to get it all up and running in JS Bin so that I don’t have to do the copy paste. With their layout, after I get the solution code, I have to scroll up and down to compare their code with what I’ve written and it makes me nuts, basically.

But of course this new bin is fighting me and giving me some long-ass weird error message in the console.

I’m chatting in Slack with an instructor about it now, actually. It’s even weirder because she says that she can run the code without any errors, so what the hell.

I had my second “career counseling” session on Zoom with a teacher who is near Montreal. That was helpful, she’s funny and clearly knows her stuff, and we had a nice chat. A goal she wants to me to work on is getting my ass to a meet-up, which is totally legit. I had looked into a bunch over the summer but never went and it was nice to be reminded to actually DO the thing. I’ve signed up for one about making a virtual pet with JavaScript – which sounds amazing – towards the end of November. I’d *like* to go two meet-ups a month, we’ll see. Seems like there’s lots on JavaScript and I figure the more practice, the better.

I think what I want to do next is finish up the unfinished work in Skillcrush on JavaScript, and move on to the next class. Later I think I will pay for a month or two of Codeacademy to fully finish their JavaScript class, take the Sass course, and noodle around a bit.

Codeacademy Intro to JavaScript

So I’ve taken a detour from Skillcrush’s Intro to JavaScript to take the Codeacademy version. It’s interesting to see the different ways the material is approached/presented, and I’m definitely learning things in the Codeacademy class that I didn’t learn in Skillcrush. Curious how I would feel about the Codeacademy course if I hadn’t already done the Skillcrush one. I feel like the Codeacademy class is more difficult, but not sure why I think that really and if actually true.

For sure it’s been helpful to have a second go at the material and I think/hope it will make me feel more confident/like I know what I’m doing. At the very least get me to finish the assignments at the end of the Skillcrush course so I can move onto the next class, which is Responsive Design, which I’m psyched to learn.

Codeacademy also has an Intro to Sass class that I want to come back too, as that’s something I want to learn.

Because I am so SASSY. (Not really, actually).

console.log(‘whut’)

So, technically, I’m 84% done the Intro to JavaScript class. I say technically because I can’t crack the code (OMG I’M HILARIOUS) on the last two exercises, and I’ve skipped ahead to see what the bonus project is, and have set up those HTML and CSS files (provided by Skillcrush) in JS Bin.

Right now it feels like I’m learning these bits and pieces of JavaScript, but am unclear about how to put them together and in what order. It’s like someone is teaching writing, and the student has learned: This is a declarative sentence. A question ends in a question mark – ? Sometimes you need to use semi-colons; sometimes not. Occasionally, something might have an exclamation!

But it’s like – what does that all MEAN? and which one goes where?

So have spent a good bit of time comparing my working code to the solution code, thinking that the LOOK like they match but apparently not because mine’s not working, and playing “where the fuck is the difference?” Like so:

theirs
I’m not going to tell you what I did wrong here, because it was so dumb I couldn’t even believe it.

The course has linked to a bunch of books and online sources to keep learning about JavaScript. One is called Eloquent JavaScript, which has this sentence in the introduction: “Because computers are dumb, pedantic beasts, programming is fundamentally tedious and frustrating.” HA.

Wish me luck on finishing the last couple of exercises, so I can do the bonus project without feeling sneaky. The exercises include working with some jQuery code, and include asking a prompt, swapping images, telling the code to wait, fading in an answer, making an object shake, and other fun stuff.

 

document.GetElementById(“javaScriptFun”)

Chugging along in the Intro to Javascript course. Am just about to start section #15 out of the 22. Everything still feels very clunky and weird to me in JavaScript, but I am trusting the Skillcrush peeps who keep assuring me that soon it will all become clear (or at least, clearer).

Had a lesson about debugging, and Skillcrush shared this article – Teaching Novice Programmers How to Debug Their Code over at code:union by Jesse Farmer. It’s a really interesting article despite the somewhat-uninteresting title.  The article’s point being that debugging is a skill that all programmers need, and so teaching of that skill is something that should be emphasized and intentionally done.

The idea that debugging means you didn’t do a good job in the first place definitely strikes a chord in me. “[Students] often feel that [debugging] time is wasted or that it’s a kind of punishment for them not being smart enough to write the correct code the first time through. “If I knew what I was doing,” they think to themselves, “I wouldn’t have to spend so much time debugging.”  ”

The article also notes: “Teaching [students] how to debug their own code effectively is the single most valuable skill we could teach — it’s the skill that makes acquiring all other programming skills easier.”

Anything that is going to make acquiring other programming skills easier is something that I want to know how to do, so bring it on, buggy code!

Coming up, we start learning about jQuery. I’m stoked.