WDI Week Four

We’ve started our first projects, so this will be a shorter summary than usual. Also, we only had a 4-day week due to Bartolomé Day, so I spent a good portion of Monday making my homework better and better and trying to study up on stuff.

Tuesday — Field Trip and Wasted Time

We went over the movie search rails app, and I showed mine off. Everyone liked the jQuery plugin I used for the star radio buttons:

Screenshot of Movie App

We had a substitute teacher working with us all day, who teaches at the LA General Assembly, because 2 of our instructors were going to be out for a couple days. I wasn’t happy with the substitute and felt like Tuesday was a lost day due to us spending 3 hours just watching him get error after error and not actually teaching us how to do anything. It also didn’t help that he made a sexist remark towards me off the bat and I felt uncomfortable the rest of the day.

One highlight of the day, however, was our field trip to Yammer. I found the field trip to be just what I needed to relieve my anxiety. After hearing the engineers there talk to us, I stopped feeling overwhelmed. I’ve been stressing out about not having enough time to learn every minuscule detail about the languages, frameworks, and tools that we’re using. But the engineers stressed to us that you don’t have to know every detail of everything, you just need to know how to solve the problem when you come to it. I’ve heard this before of course, but the reminder was needed. I found everything they told us to be really motivating and inspiring.

Luckily the only homework we had that night was reading about Rspec. I would have been very upset if we had homework on the stuff that we didn’t learn from the substitute.

Wednesday — Associations, Rspec, and Bootstrap

Our regular instructor, Jackie, explained database associations to us very quickly, which was a relief after watching the substitute bumble it the day before. We also got our introduction to TDD (test-driven development) and worked with Rspec to test everything before coding it.

We got an introduction to Bootstrap and got to play with it for a little while. I have prior experience with Bootstrap, but hadn’t used version 3 yet. Previously I was not a fan of it but I’m warming up to it; mainly because of my love of responsive design and how much more time it takes for me to perfect my own media queries.

Homework included trying to do more tests on our own with the practice app we did in class, adding more models and controllers for the associations, and experimenting with bootstrap. I spent most of my time brainstorming for the upcoming project.

Thursday — Form Helpers and Partials

We spent the day learning about the built-in form helpers that Rails provides. At first I was very frightened of the form helpers because when I looked over them in the Rails Docs they looked like gobbledy-gook, and I thought “Why would I want to write forms a different way when I already know how to do it in html?” I have since changed my mind though, after working with them most of that day I now see why they’re super handy and efficient in a Rails environment. Also, you’re still able to use HTML5 form elements in them, which was one of my initial concerns.

We also learned how to make partials to use in our layouts and views. I had already used partials before with my first Rails project, but didn’t remember how. Turns out it’s super easy, so that took about one minute to re-learn.

Homework was to list out ideas for our first projects, what technologies we’d need for each one, and what the MVP (minimum viable product) would be. I had already written most of that down when I was brainstorming and preparing for project time. I really only had the 2 ideas, one of which I was convinced would be too complex for a first project. I’ve been stressed out for a long time about having to do the projects, because I’m not good at coming up with ideas. I’d rather someone give me their idea and then build it. So high anxiety right now.

Friday — Authorization, Cookies and Projects

Traffic was worse than usual because of the BART strike, so I was late to class. When I arrived everyone was in one classroom receiving a presentation. I am still not really sure quite what the presentation was for. They showed a Daily Show video at the end of it, and while I love The Daily Show, I wasn’t sure how the interview we watched was relevant to the course, unless the takeaway is that “knowledge is power.”

After the presentation we started learning about user authorizations and cookies. Coincidentally I had worn my “It’s all about the cookie” shirt that day. There was a lot to go over with sessions and authorization, but it was great to see how to implement all of it by hand, instead of just using the devise gem, which is what was used for my first rails project. We also learned about how to use the helpers for code we want to use in multiple places.

Then we were broken into groups to talk about our project ideas with each other, and the instructors gave a demo of some of the previous students’ first projects. By the end of class I still wasn’t quite sure which project I was going to do. Happy Hour started and I realized that I kind of hated having to talk about my ideas over and over again with different people. I was going to leave early but then ended up getting so involved with discussions that it got late and I accidentally had 3 glasses of wine. I started feeling horribly sick and laid on the floor of one of the classrooms for a little while, but then I almost fell asleep so I left to make the attempt to get home. It was a rough 1 1/2 hour journey home. I was worried I was going to get sick on the bus so I had my head down the whole time, and ended up missing my stop since they don’t announce the stops. Once I finally made it back I just collapsed in bed and my husband took care of me.

Saturday — Project

I decided to play it safe and make the beach finder app, which was the more “simpler” of the two ideas. It’s basically supposed to just aggregate information from other places so that you can go to just one site instead of 5 to help make a decision of which beach to spontaneously visit today. I got the Yelp API implemented right away, but then spent most of the day just being angry with it since it wasn’t going to do what I wanted.

Thoughts and Reflections

Today I hate everything about my project, think it’s an absolute mess, want to give up on it, and can’t stop thinking that I’m a horrible programmer. Also, I only have 4 more days to try to get at least some small part of it functioning and looking nice, and here the last 2 days have produced hardly anything, so I’m kind of a wreck. The whole week has just been really “blah” for me. I don’t know if it’s still a case of being burned out, or my increasing anxiety about the project, etc.

I really feel like there’s so much that I don’t know and that it’s preventing me from getting further in the project, and that I can’t take the time to try to learn what I need to know to implement things, because then I’ll run out of time. It’s very frustrating. I also know that I should cut myself some slack because this is the first time I’ve tried to create a rails project by myself with complete freedom of choice, and so of course it’s not going to be smooth sailing. I just can’t bear the thought of failing at this.