Pull Request!

The milestone project for the end of Phase 2 of the Break Into Tech Skillcrush blueprint is to contribute to an open source project. This entails finding a project with issues on Github, claiming the issue, fixing it, and submitting a pull request to the owners/maintainers of the code.

As mentioned in the directions from Skillcrush, finding an issue for a first-timer can be a little challenging. I did a good amount of poking around on GitHub, and got fairly overwhelmed. The issues seemed waaaay beyond anything I would even know where to start to fix. But, plenty of folks want to encourage first timers to submit their first pull request and demystify the process, so I knew that somewhere out there an issue was waiting for me.

I came across the GitHub home of Public Lab – “A community where you can learn how to investigate environmental concerns. Using inexpensive DIY techniques, we seek to change how people see the world in environmental, social, and political terms.”

Public Lab seems to look specifically for first time and beginner contributors, which is great. But, the other problem seemed that issues got claimed very quickly. I really wasn’t sure how I was going to be “first” to an issue to snag it.

Then one sleepy morning as I was sipping my coffee before work, an email came in for an FTO (first-timers only) issue. I perked right up and went over and took a look, and was like – well, I *think* I can do this. The Public Lab folks are also very much – let us know if you need help, we’ll help you! So I asked to claim it and got the thumb’s up to proceed. The issue was for a project called Plots2, a collaborative knowledge-exchange platform in Rails.

The solution to the issue was to remove three lines of code from an erb file. This would remove a duplicate link to the project’s wiki. YAAAY to the Ruby course in Skillcrush for teaching what an erb file is, and to not be totally freaked out about working in one.

So that same evening, I forked and cloned the project, followed the instructions to remove the lines, created and submitted a pull request, and held my breath! The pull was accepted, and merged a week or so later. Yaaaay! Here’s a link – https://github.com/publiclab/plots2/pull/5653.

Happy to have this milestone wrapped up, and can’t wait to do more contributing to open source!

Refactor

Doing a little re-configuring with my thoughts on how to complete my Skillcrush course. There are required courses in the first and second phases (and then the third is about preparing to freelance, working with clients, interviews and what-not), but a lot of it is what you choose to take on. For sure, my hope had been to do ALL THE THINGS, basically.

I’m 99% done with the Intro to Ruby course but am stuck. I’m taking a (great) online Udemy course to help get unstuck, but have not revisited the stuck issues in the Intro class yet. Was able to get clear on the issue I mentioned in the last post – creating a gem and then actually getting it to RUN more than once – so at least there’s that.

The next class in the Ruby series is a class on Active Record, Sinatra, Postgres, and Deploying with Heroku. I’ve really struggled with the content in the course, and have also struggled to get help. For the Ruby classes in Skillcrush, there’s one Slack channel. I think a fair amount of people take the Intro class, but from what I can tell from the number of people participating in the channel, there’s only a handful of folks for the 2nd class and the Intro to Rails class. So, the odds of getting assistance from another user – as happens in some of the other channels/courses – are slim to none. There is one teacher who responds to Ruby issues, and he and I just don’t seem to work well together – I generally wind up feeling more confused after he answers a question than before I asked.

So I decided not to beat my head in about it. I was able to officially complete a little more than 50% of the Sinatra & Active Records class, and tried to take from it what I could. I wanted to continue with Rails, but given the lack of support and the desire to get this course DONE (I’ve been working on it now for 11 months), I’ve decided to skip it for now. Sorry, ALL THE THINGS. šŸ˜¦

So, I am back in WordPress, the WordPress Professional Best Practices course. Technically, this is my last course before moving onto Phase 3. The milestone project for Phase 2 is contributing to an open source project by claiming an issue and submitting a pull request, which I am thrilled to say is DONE (and will be getting its own blog post!)

The WordPress Professional Best Practices course is good so far – I’m maybe 1/4 of the way in – and it’s good to be back in a channel that others are participating in, and with a really responsive and helpful instructor. We’re working with a mock client (who sends us emails!) and we’ve forked and cloned “their” site, which are now mucking around in – have started working with child themes, and I’m in the midst of linking GitHub to WP Engine, the host that they recommend (and that I went with).

Whew! It’s been a busy month.

More soon on the awesomeness that was the pull request!

The Knights Who Say Nil

I need a shrubbery – one that looks nice and not too expensive.

If I’m going to finish the Intro to Ruby Skillcrush course and keep moving forward, apparently.

I am stuck. Stuck stuck stuck on two projects in the Intro class, and am at 93% completed – so close! – and so all the more frustrating. I’ve signed up and am taking the Udemy Intro to Ruby course to help get un-stuck. The course is great – review of some stuff from Skillcrush, but new stuff as well, and at a little bit less of a breakneck speed than Skillcrush prefers. I’ve taken to listening to it on my commute to and from work, which is helpful. It’s LONG though – 278 (!!!) lessons and I’ve completed 81 of them, or 29%. Am determined to finish, though, especially if it gets me through this stuck point.

Am in touch with some Skillcrush instructors on one issue – basically, we’ve built a gem using bundler, but I cannot figure out how to get the gem to actually RUN. It’s a handy gem, one that will spit out a random recipe from a certain website when you’re not sure what to cook. I want it to work! And there’s been a ton of back and forth via email and Slack on this one step (have just gotten another response while typing this post, actually.) It seems like to move forward with the task we need to share some code doing certain things, but at no point do we actually walk through getting it to run. What the heck.

I’m still really enjoying Ruby, though, in a way I for sure wasn’t at this point with JavaScript. All the more reason I want to be able to complete these challenges! But the knights who say nil are determined to thwart me …

The Loop

Am solidly now in Part 2 of Phase 2. Finished up the bootstrap site for my friend’s biz, and have gotten it up on a hosted git page. Did my counseling session; nice to have ticked both things off the list. Took an evening class on Git and Github and got introduced to GitPod, which was pretty cool.

Now cruising right along at 71% in my Intro to WordPress course. For sure, the prior experience I’ve had with it helps. It’s nice to be working on something that I already kind of get. All the PHP is new to me, though. Have done some good troubleshooting in our Slack channel with another student, which was great as we helped each other and didn’t just depend on a teacher.

We’ve been talking about and working on The Loop in WordPress. It’s a great lens through which to see my life these days.

While the job is my current job, not a web dev job :

  • study as my ass off at Skillcrush and other online and in-person training
  • learn tons of new things and make small but steady gains
  • try not to get discouraged
  • try not to pitch a fit at current job

Endwhile job equals web dev job ;

And then:

I mean, duh, I know it’s not that simple and just switching jobs/careers will make everything so 100% awesome that I will be spilling champagne everywhere. I also know that there will be a loop of looking for and getting a job. But it WILL be super nice to get out of this loop and feel like I am moving forward career-wise.

If anyone is down with recreating the above gif with me once I do get a new job, just let me know. šŸ™‚

C’mon part two of phase two

So, so close to being done with the first part of Skillcrush’s phase two. Phase two is where you choose a developer or design track. There’s required courses for both tracks, and after you’ve done them, you have a counseling session, and then can continue on with some specialization courses. Since I want to learn ALL THE THINGS, I have signed up for some specialization courses (WordPress, Ruby, Ruby on Rails, etc.)

To get to my career counseling session, I needed to get done a “client project,” which for me turned into re-vamping a friend’s website, using stuff I’ve learned in Bootstrap. Took longer than I thought (why am I surprised by this?!) but I am thisclose to getting it up on a hosted Github page.

I also made a mock-up of the site using a template from one of the many mock-ups found online. Have wanted to fiddle with one of these for some time, so nice to actually get a chance to do it:

FANCY

Once it’s up, I can have my counseling session – talk one on one with a Skillcrush instructor – and move on the 2nd part of phase two, the specialization courses.

(And shout-out to Ann, one of the Skillcrush teachers who answers questions on the Git/Github Slack channel, for helping to me to figure out git weirdness – apparently I’d managed to put git on my main users file. How I managed to do that, not quite sure ….)

Also shared a bit in the Fears Slack channel about how I am sometimes overwhelmed by thought of – will I ever feel ready/confident to job hunt? Assuming I actually look, will anyone actually hire me? How can I learn ALL THE THINGS first?

This is by no means a new fear never expressed before; imposter syndrome comes up not infrequently in the channels in Skillcrush. Still pretty paralyzing while you’re in it, though. And really, all I can do is keep on keeping on. Here I go!

Progress

Have made some progress and am feeling good about it. Felt quite stuck with where I was in the Responsive Web Design class on Skillcrush, but went back into and moved forward quite a bit. This is the re-do of the class with flexbox incorporated, and not just as an add-on at the end. It’s been great (and of course frustrating as I am still learning) to build another site. The last version of the class had a website called Unplugged, about music. After messing with it for such a long time, I was SO sick of looking at it, and truly not looking forward to seeing the images/code again. But, huzzah, they have now changed it to a website for a corporate retreat place called Unplugged. Did a little happy dance when I realized it was going to be different.

Want to finish the three remaining projects in the Bootstrap class I’m taking online at Udemy (I finished the second but didn’t blog about it), hoping I can bang the next one out tomorrow.

I built a website for a friend ages ago on Wix. She has some exciting stuff coming up – a new online course in writing memoir! – and she’d gotten a promo video from the company to share. I went into her account to upload it, and while I was there basically did quite a bit of change, all in a couple of hours. This time around I knew to think about making the font size actually legible, and to take a keen look at the mobile version to make sure it looked good.

She’s pleased; I’m pleased.

I want to code the site from scratch at some point, but that hasn’t happened yet! https://www.emilyrappblack.com/

Watched a super cool video today about variable fonts, about which I know very very little, but this makes me want to learn more! It also for sure makes me want to learn about animation.

Hey there, 2019

Goodness, can’t believe it’s been almost a month since I’ve posted! Yay for 2019!!

I am unbelievable lucky in having a day job that gives two weeks off (for everyone) over xmas and new year’s. This is awesome in many ways, not the least of which is that you’re not the only one NOT working, so there’s less of that feeling of – omg, when I get back, I am going to have SO much to catch up.

Usually during this break, there’s holiday craziness and associated holiday travel. This year was no exception, and all the learning-to-code work that I thought I was going to get in over the break – well, HAHAHAHAHA.

BUT I have two days left and I am digging in.

Took a stab at doing the bootstrap version of my friend’s business site, and realized while I get it all in theory, I was not sure how to actually begin. I’ve signed up for a Udemy course on Bootstrap, “Bootstrap 4 From Scratch with 5 Projects,” by Brad Traversy of Traversy Media. (In addition to authoring a bunch of courses on Udemy, Traversy Media has a YouTube channel, which looks like it has a ton of helpful videos).

The course basically drills you through all the things that Bootstap can do, broken up in 4 different categories – Utilities, CSS Components, Grid & Flexbox, and JavaScript Widgets, broken down into various items – basic typography, sizing, navbar, alerts & progress, cards, etc. When I’m done I’ll have great reference code of all the classes etc. I’m about halfway through the CSS Components category.

The course has felt a little tedious with all the drilling, but I know it will be very helpful to me to learn and to get it into my brain. I can see how this course might not work for someone who doesn’t already have an html/css background and doesn’t really understand where all the classes etc. are leading to. But I’m really glad to have found it, and on sale, too!

We’re using Visual Studio Code for the text editor, which is great as I haven’t used it before. In working with the re-do of the “Coding Responsive Websites” course over on Skillcrush, I’ve been working with Brackets, just to try and test all the text editors out. More on the Responsive class in a future post …

I’m also psyched that there are 5 projects of different kinds and complexity. I may start the first one just to give myself a break from all the drilling ….

Another piece that will be in one of the projects in working a bit with SASS, which I want to know/learn more about it. Apparently one of the things we will do with SASS is to change the default color scheme of primary, danger, warning, info, etc. This is great in that I am getting SO sick of looking these colors:

can’tĀ waitĀ toĀ changeĀ theseĀ dudesĀ ….