Learning Log (01)

I get paid to write code?!

Last week was my first week working as a professional jr. software engineer and it was GREAT. I really like the people I work with, really enjoy working in Rails (I’m full-stack btw, Ruby just holds a special place in my heart ❤️), and I just love that I get to spend most of my days now thinking about code. I feel incredibly fortunate.

Now that I am working full-time in this role, though, I’ve been thinking about how I will continue to go about my days of learning and improving my programming skills outside of the 9-5. I’ll dive in next to what I’ve come up with so far.

General Learning Goals

I’d like to improve in the following areas:

Full-stack web development:

  1. Ruby on Rails
  2. General front-end, including CSS and React

General programming:

  1. Object oriented programming (Reading POODR by Sandi Metz)?
  2. General development methodologies / best practices (Reading The Pragmatic Programmer by Andrew Hunt and Davis Thomas)

Currently, my plan is to continue creating side projects to understand how things get made. I don’t want to focus on creating anything original because it would take me a really long time to think of something and start. Instead, I’d like to just focus on building things from scratch, learning new things, and recording the new things I learn in learning logs on this blog. I’m sharing what I’m learning on this blog primarily to have a log to look back on myself, but also because I think writing out what I’m learning on a public platform will encourage me to really understand what I’m learning. On that note…

Learning Log #01

So I started a new rails project that is essentially a photo-sharring app that enables a user to upload a picture with a caption. It uses Cloudinary for storing pictures and Pusher to update the feed in real time. I’m hoping to integrate the Devise gem for authentication, since my first rails app just used sessions and cookies. And I’m also hoping to create the front-end with react-rails.

Things I’ve learned this week

How to store credentials (like API keys/secrets) safely using environment variables.

We can use the gem dotenv, which loads environment variables from the .env file and creates an array ENV in development. You place your .env file in .gitnignore, which is a file that Git uses to determine which files/directories to ignore before you make a commit.

What scaffolding is in Rails and when to use it.

Scaffolding in Ruby on Rails refers to the auto-generation of a Model, Views, and Controller for a table (such as Users). For example, using the command `rails generate scaffold User” would create a full CRUD (create, read, update, delete) web interface for the Users table. Basically, it’s a quick way to autogenerate a lot of things you might need when creating a new data table in a project. It’s not always necessary, though, because you may not need the full CRUD functionality. (PS, I’m not using scaffolding to create my photosharing project!)

Other things I’ve learned from work…

What is HAML?

HAML, which stands for HTML Abstraction Markup Language, is a markup language that’s used to cleanly and simply describe the HTML of any web document without the use of inline code.

What is coffeescript?

Coffeescript is a programming language that compiles to JavaScript. It adds syntactic sugar inspired by Ruby, Python and Haskell in an effort to enhance JavaScript’s brevity and readability. (source: Wikipedia)