This week was a bit all over the map. Part of me really wants to dive into the Vim tutorials series on Nettuts…but I feel like I’ve spent most of my education trying to master tools at the expense of actually learning whatever language or framework I’m supposed to be immersed in. I’ve put in my time with Textmate and I still have only scratched the surface of what it can do–with a dull nail at that–so I’m gonna resist editor-jumping for another little while yet.
Instead I spent some time reviewing the notes from our Ruby class page and trying to wrap my head around the different methods of calling Ruby methods, working with classes etc. It still freaks me out that there are NO SEMICOLONS ANYWHERE. But I also kind of like it.
I’m still not convinced the merits of Haml, despite the glowing reviews of the Haml fans. At this point I think it’s good to know it exists, but again, I already know HTML quite well and piling on an abstraction layer while I’m trying to learn the basics of a new language seems like asking for some ::headdesk:: in the not-to-distant future.
I’m still trying to figure out the best way for me to learn things in a way that I will actually retain them. I spent some time with the Ruby Essentials training on Lynda.com this week. They’re very well done, but it can feel slow at times and I ended up skipping some things because I got bored.
The most interesting find of the week was the Ruby Koans which follows a teaching Ruby through Ruby testing method unlike any tutorials I’ve ever seen. I’ve been around long enough to understand the concept of building an app through testing. You write tests for what you need to build, they fail and then you write code until you pass the tests. But for a n00b programmer, the thought of writing tests when you can barely write a function, much less a Class, is pretty overwhelming. I thought this was a pretty unique approach to getting at the concept in a really manageable way.
I’ve also been looking into Capistrano, although that’s not strictly related to the Ruby/Sinatra focus of class. Even though I use it daily at work, I haven’t yet had time to implement it for any of my personal projects. And now that I know it’s there, I get really bitter about my slow and painful deployment methods!
I’m supposed to come up with a project to work on for the rest of the term. I’ve been thinking about it, but nothing earth shattering has come to mind. Last term I was fortunate to have a project I was really passionate about–mostly because I really needed it and the existing tool was beyond crap. I even dabbled in Rails with that project, but if it is going to be truly usable for my school, I’m going to have to make it into a PHP-based app. And I would really like to leave it as a gift to future confused students trying to make it to the finish line.
I already dabbled in hand coding my own blog too. My current state of overwhelmedness is probably contributing to my lack of inspiration. There’s a sample project on the Lynda.com tut that is a restaurant finder. That might be a good project to try. The tutorial walks through creating a command line based app. Maybe I could go through that and then apply to Sinatra.
The only other thought I’ve had so far is some kind of online recipe book. That’s not really something I need since I already have an app that works well for that–but it’s a least something I might find interesting, since my partner and I are really into cooking right now, mostly from this site.
So that’s all from the idea factory so far. Survived 2 weeks of online classes so far with 3.5 weeks to go. What doesn’t kill me… blah blah blah.