Old Guy New Trick

An old guys journey to learn how to code.

Week 2 And a Half at Bloc

Author: John on March 29, 2014

The first week of my training at Bloc went by very fast. For the most part it was a review of information/knowledge I had already gained, but was still worth it.  I had wanted to create another blog post earlier, but the completion of the second block took longer than I had anticipated.

So here we are, about about 2.5 weeks in. The second block, titled Rails Foundation, should take one about 40 hours.  At least that is the estimated time for completion.  If I wasn't working full-time, maybe I could have completed this block in one week.

The Rails Foundation block is composed of 20 checkpoints.  We learned a lot of concepts, and habits in those checkpoints.  There was some review for me, for example the lesson introduced the Devise gem.  I've played with this a little bit so had some comfort with that checkpoint.  Though I did learn some new things related to Devise.

A totally new experience for me was when did the Authorization checkpoint, and was introduced to the Pundit gem.  I would say that Pundit is a little bit like CanCan.  I've dabbled with CanCan a little bit, but I find Pundit to be pretty good.  I'll have a tough choice to make when it comes time for my Capstone project.  Should I go with Pundit, or revist CanCan (or CanCanCan.)

Another topic that I found useful, because it helped me with a task at my day job, was the lesson on Seeding.  While our main environment at work is Perl, I'm slowing trying to sneak in some Ruby and Rails.  Leveraging some of the knowledge gained in the Seeding lesson, I was able to expand on that knowledge and compose my first rake task for populating my models with data in CSV files.  Ok, I'm a bit off topic, steer back John!

There were two area where my progress slowed to a crawl in the second block.  The first was related to uploading images.  Recently Bloc added a Rails 4.x track and it looks like some of the lesson code examples are missing.  I wasn't able to see my Choose File option for uploading an image.  A trip to the Chat Room and a small wait for my turn, and my issue was solved by Xander.  Xander is great!  Everytime I've had a question, he seems to be in the chat room and helps me out.

The second area I had trouble with was nesting.  I'll admit that I'm still 100% solid with what I've learned about nesting, but I'm confident things will become clearer as I see and utilize more code.  During one of the lessons related to this nesting of Topics, Posts and Comments, I got stuck real bad.  I went to the chat room for help, but it was just at the time for that shift to end for the day.  Xander stayed for a few minutes and helped a lot.  But I was still stuck.

I was worried that all the changes I had made may have broken something.  So I fired off an email to my mentor to let him know I was stuck and to be prepared for a nice long chat the next day when we were scheduled to meet.  We meet the next day and he helped get me fixed in less than 5 minutes.  My eyes were so focused around the code and didn't "see" the code.  I had several silly mistakes.  For example I used the plural version instead of singular for a particular item/method.  Or I had a misplaced period.  And other issue, I had the order of a ) and a period mixed up.  Simple things for the trained eye.  It was great to have the mentor there to help me through what I thought was a major *fsk* up on my part.

Needless to say, I made some more punctuation type mistakes on the remaing checkpoints in this block.  But since I suffered so much earlier in the block, I was much more aware of what to look for.  The hard part for me now is when I see an error message, and know basically what is wrong, I don't yet have the experience to provide the solution.  But I'm eagerly working at improving my problem solution skills.  :)

As I write this post, again about 2.5, well maybe 2.75 weeks in, I'm now on the third Block - Features / Testing / Javascript.  This block is also estimated to take 40 hours.  There are 10 checkpoints and I've completed the first 4 so far.  But now I'm really entering an area of unfamiliarity.  Upcoming in this block is RSpec and Ajax.  Two areas that have close to zero amount of knowledge and experience.

Stay tuned for my next update.  This coming week I will be going to Ancient City Ruby so I'm not sure if I'll have the time to complete the third block.  But once I have completed it, I will post my thoughts here.

Learn Something New Every Day

Last Edited by: John on December 30, 2015