October 29

Catching Up…

I missed a weekend check in – oh, no!

Last weekend was my Birthday. 51 years old and the age is getting to me a little. This year it feels like I’m running out of time to accomplish anything with my life. My partner tried to distract me with a weekend at the Timberline Lodge.

And it was working until I got my code review back on Sunday – not passing!?!

JavaScript Week 2 Project
JavaScript Week 2 Project

Okay, so I’m upset with this code review. There WAS a missing user story, so I can’t complain too much about the “not passing” part. The project description asked for two filters, one for low calorie food and one for high calorie food. (500 being the number of calories that split the two categories). I thought that was arbitrary and pointless and so I put lots of options… high calorie (with the specified 500 calories – that returns next to nothing as most foods size their portions to stay below that number – sneaky food industry tricks, you know?), high fat, high carbs, low protein.

I maintain that it is a school exercise to see if we know how to use pipes in Angular to filter information. I did that…

But I also understand that in real life (which is coming at us all too fast) there will be a customer who wants what they want and my job will be to program it whether I agree with the usefulness of the feature or not. Still, shouldn’t a good programmer question requirements that sound off-target? Couldn’t that save some of the trouble in a week or two when the customer finds out their beloved filter returns NOTHING due to portion sizes?

I’ve spent too much time contemplating whether or not I’m being too arrogant, and not nearly enough trying to figure out a tactful way to question a client when I think they may be going in the wrong direction on something… it’s a skill I think I need to develop.

Alright, so that’s frustrating, but I get it.

What I don’t get is why they also said they could not edit my food listings. THAT actually DID work. The only thing that I could see as a problem was maybe they did not see where to click?  So I added a button. A BIG button. It was a childish thing to do. I should have waited until Monday and talked to the instructor and pointed out how that DID work.

The biggest thing that bothered me though was the formal feedback chart. I got NOTHING right according to the chart. Always before (with the other instructor) I’d get only the parts that were not working marked as not working. This one was all failing… I get the one user story, but not how substituting 3 extra pipes for the one missing one would indicate a lack of understanding of the week’s concepts. THAT part bothered me.

This looks pretty bad...
This looks pretty bad…

I mean, sure, it’s obviously an oversight. Someone was in a hurry and probably didn’t even fill this out at all. But I still am upset by the lack of time and attention to detail from my instructor. Of course, after 5 minutes of changes I resubmitted and the new code review looks almost exactly the same but all green. (There is a yellow option for “code meets this standard most of the time”… which is great when it’s used because you feel like someone is paying attention and there is an area to try to improve.)

Ah, so that was the start of this week. I have been suffering from a bad attitude, but I think I’m pulling out of it now. I might actually care again by next Friday. This Friday though I took the course of least resistance and except for some minimal styling (I downloaded an add-on from the Ember site – this it not actually “work” on the styling).

JavaScript Week 3 Project
JavaScript Week 3 Project

This is a basic question and answer site. As always, there are a couple things that aren’t working quite the way I’d like, but overall I think it’s a good attempt. Ember is a HUGE framework, it gets spread out over so many files… it’s been a challenge to learn. The attitude has not helped any, but we do get another week with Ember and I’m hoping it will go better.

I like both Ember and Angular.  I’ve had a week of each and think I’m leaning toward Angular. People are always asking which is better… I can’t answer.

I can do filters with Angular and not Ember (after a week… that is not to say it can’t be done, but apparently it is too complicated to teach in a week). On the other hand, we have a real LIVE database behind the Q&A site and we didn’t have the ability to save data in Angular (not to say you can’t, but apparently it’s too complicated to teach in a week…)

There are a LOT more files in Ember than in Angular. It’s super slow to do the development tasks… compiling and building… but I’m hearing good things about the site AFTER it’s build and that it performs better once it’s deployed. That seems like a good thing… if I were picking a framework for a commercial website I might not care as much about a few extra minutes here and there waiting on the compiler if it meant my site would be faster and stuff once it was online… as a business I would probably prefer Ember (assuming that rumor is true…), but as a developer Angular seems like the easier way to go.

Category: Learning | Comments Off on Catching Up…
October 17

3rd Course, 1st Week

screenshot

The first week of our JavaScript course was all about building a development environment using Gulp and consuming APIs. We made a weather app and mapped stolen bikes on Google map during the week, then for our individual challenge we had to use the GitHub API to show a list of repositories for any given username.

The APIs are fun once you figure out how to get to them. Sometimes the documentation is not that good and it can be hard to “find” the data to begin with, although the ones we used this week were pretty straightforward. Google maps was hard because it didn’t return an object like the others, and that difference left some of us confused about how to use it. Continue reading

Category: Epicodus, JavaScript | Comments Off on 3rd Course, 1st Week
October 8

The Problem (Opportunity) with Group Projects

Group Project from Java Course
Group Project from Java Course

It’s hard to work in a group.

I hate to admit that because I know it sounds bad… like I’m some kind of anti-social freak that can’t get along with people.

I think that “do you prefer to work as part of a team or alone” question has lost me more than one job in the past. I mean, I try to be honest.

I usually prefer to WORK alone.

I think teams can be great for some things: Brainstorming, for instance.

And pairing is very useful for learning/teaching programming. I’ve learned a lot from pairing with my classmates.

But my favorite day of the week is still Friday. Continue reading

Category: Best Practices, Version Control | Comments Off on The Problem (Opportunity) with Group Projects
October 5

Took too Long…

Week 4 Final Project: Wildlife (or Pokemon) tracker
Week 4 Final Project: Wildlife (or Pokemon) tracker

I’m still fighting a tendency to bite off more than I can chew. I added Pokemon to my wildlife tracker.

I think there were other ways that I may have overdone this one as well, although it didn’t seem like I was reaching that much at the time. Continue reading

Category: Epicodus, Java | Comments Off on Took too Long…