Rails adventure and the last week

Aaaand, it’s been a week of my Google Summer of Code! I’ll have to admit though – the last week wasn’t as productive as I would have liked it to. But that’s not to say I didn’t learn anything at all, or I didn’t do much. Quite honestly, I think I set myself a little too ambitious targets, without realizing it. I did complete a good part of them, but it’s disappointing when things don’t go 100% as planned. I’ll try my best to hit less ambitious plans from now on. 🙂

First lesson. Start the week with the thing that’s most important. The enthusiasm fades in towards the weekend and leads to a “let’s hurry up and skip this” situation. I started the week with a revision of Git. I would like to think it went really well, I understood a lot of things I didn’t get last time. I also made a Git cheat-sheet for the summer; I guess I’ll add more to it as I forget commands.

Second lesson. Before getting high about a fancy resource, skim through everything else that’s available, first. Rails for Zombies 2 was great, but I found Rails Tutorials by Michael Hardl friendlier towards newbies such as I. Unfortunately, I ended up spending the two entire nights on RfZ2 without really understanding anything perfectly. I think RfZ2 would be a fantastic experience once I’ve run through the entire tutorial by Michael first. Reading through the tutorial is probably a slower approach (being text), but is certainly easier to follow when starting out. I’m hoping to finish the entire book by Monday, and then catch up with some Zombieness.

Third lesson. See it in action first. I want to build this little app that scans your bookmarks and stores them online – a solution to a problem my friends and I face often. Following everything step by step in Michael’s lessons was not a bad idea – it gave me a good introduction to what testing really looks like (it was such a mystery until yesterday)! But it certainly wasn’t the best thing to do. It killed a lot of the spark of writing actual logical code, and I ended up spending a major amount of time writing tests for simple things. Next time, I’ll make it a point to make a working demo first, and then analyze – of course, this applies only when I’m learning.

Fourth lesson. We all need a short break sometimes. No breaks might sound like you’ll end up learning a lot more, but they end up distracting you. As a result, I’ve decided I have to redo my time adjustments and add more frequent breaks in between 😀

That’s it for this week. My current status with Rails is quite good (about to learn about user sessions and perfect my authentication skills), although I would have enjoyed it if I had completed the Rails tutorial by tonight. The weekend is hopefully going to be spent hacking on the GlitterGallery UI, so I guess it’ll be fun! 😀

And oh, I also came up with this fancy temporary tagline – All that glitters is GlitterGallery 😉


TODO status for Week1:

  • Get up to speed on git. Blog.
  • Get hands dirty with rails. Blog.
  • Read up dgplug’s past class logs.
  • Formulate an extensive deploy instructions list needs confirmation from volunteer testers.

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