Posts tagged ruby on rails
This past Saturday I had the pleasure of watching the culmination of 8 weeks worth of work that went into the final projects of the students who took my class over at General Assembly. I saw everything from an aggregator of fitness clubs in the greater New York City area to a social trip planning web app.
I am always amazed and inspired by the things people dream up, especially people who may not have programmed a day in their life. Often, programming novices see the “web” and have no idea what goes into it, just “magic.” By having introductory courses like the one I teach at General Assembly, we begin to demystify the web so that students can gain a better understanding of the time and energy that goes into making a website or a web app. Not all of the students I have taught or met want to become developers. Some just wanted to have a better fluency in “developer speak” so that they can go on to hire someone to finish up their prototype. One student and his wife want to start a business and he constructed a web application for potential customers to order window blinds. Many found that they were able to solve problems that they were having in their personal lives. A student in the class felt that she and other parents had difficulties keeping track of their children’s school activities. She developed an application to keep track of the school’s functions and be edited by her and other parents in the school to keep these events up to date.
When we as teachers, mentors, and role-models have a better understanding of what a novice’s goals are, we can better target how to answer their questions and frame it in the context in which they want to apply it.
8 weeks is not a lot of time to complete a full-fledged web application—especially when you’re also dealing with a full-time job and 3 hours of class time twice a week. I hope I was able to convey to them that it was really an achievement to go from no knowledge of Ruby and Rails to presenting in front of their peers their idea—even if they didn’t get everything they imagined completed. If nothing, they all learned to better hone what it meant to reach a minimum viable product and concentrate on the most important features.
It was a pleasure teaching you, and good luck in your future programming adventures!
During my teaching, one obvious effective tool for learning Ruby is the Interactive Ruby Shell (IRB). It helps students figure out how to play with Ruby’s syntax before they go on to write their first script. I’d heard about Pry before, but it wasn’t until lately that it came up on my radar again. Here is a small collection of links to blogs, resources, and screencasts that I have found helpful in understanding how powerful it is in development.
I can’t see myself using it just for a plain Ruby program, but it definitely is better than the basic Rails console.
I just use it like this from within the base of my project:
$ bundle exec pry -r ./config/environment
I’m in the midst of teaching an introductory 8-weeks course on Ruby and Ruby on Rails over at General Assembly in Manhattan. Per the course material, we have them install RailsInstaller, an “all-in-one” kit that is meant to get a novice developer up and running in a development environment as quickly as possible.
Acting as teacher, I felt it was good to lead by example and go through an installation of RailsInstaller. After I clicked the install button though, I immediately had flashes before my eyes of this tool over writing many hours of work of painstakingly pruning and preening my dot files, configs and preferences for RVM and git. I pretty much regretted that I did that, thinking it may compromise many of my personal and volunteer projects dependent on having a flawless development environment. (If you’re familiar at all with my Github profile, you’ll know that I have a few projects devoted to my obsessive collection of laptop configuration scripts and dot files.)
Honestly, I have been using my personal MacBook Air for a week now and haven’t noticed any issues in my development environment using the incorrect versions of Ruby, Git or RVM, but I still have this paranoid suspicion that I may have done something by installing RailsInstaller over everything I’ve curated. (Yes, very paranoid.)
Which led me to try to research on where RailsInstaller actually installed these files and how in the world I could remove them!
After a cursory search, I came up pretty empty-handed because on the RailsInstaller main page, it doesn’t give you any information on how to uninstall it! (Maybe a ploy for you to never uninstall it?? *cue evil laugher!*)
It seems Google Groups is the place to be for me in finding necessary information lately, so I came upon this thread asking about a “clean uninstall” for Mac OS X. (Finally!)
If you have an old version of RailsInstaller, you can run this simple command:
If you have a recent version like mine, that App doesn’t actually exist in that path and is actually within the ~/Applications folder. D’oh! (Now you know how often I actually peek into that folder versus using Spotlight.)
And there you go, it runs through a similar process that you ran when installing, except this time removing the files you previously installed and you can happily watch as all that extraneous overhead is removed over a cup of tea!
Not to be confused with Movember which is infinitely cooler (because it involves mustaches) than Move-ember which sucks (because it doesn’t involve mustaches.)
I can report that we have successfully moved me from my apartment in Westchester to Brooklyn. From the second Friday of November until now, I’ve been scrambling to gather my earthly possessions and migrate. I was tired, sick (for the second and third time this season) and overwhelmed by the shear amount of crap I have collected over the past two years. Our new apartment is considerably smaller than my old one in Westchester and will eventually not only house my crap but Adam’s crap as well. I think I will have to get inventive with where I hide store things.
This also meant that NaNoWriMo was also ruined yet again for me this year. I did reach my goal of writing more words than last year but that was not a difficult feat considering how pathetic last year’s entry was. On the advice of a friend, I’ll probably attempt a DecNoWriMo but who knows how that will go considering the amount of birthdays and holidays that sprinkle across the month.
In other news, while not crumbling into a million pieces from the exhaustion from moving, I managed to roll out Redmine 1.0.3 to my users at work with only minimal casualties. While Redmine is an alright task tracking tool, it is a beast and because it is open-source, it’s kind of terrible to upgrade from an old version to a recent version. Our PostgreSQL database had metamorphosed into an harry, horrible monster and I had to do a lot of inventive SQL queries and drop tables to get it to be more manageable.
Now the winter holidays are upon us. Hanukkah is a lot earlier than I anticipated, plus birthdays, and a trip to Pittsburgh for Christmas. I hope I can at least have a relaxing and fun New Year’s!