Pushing Through Errors

Firehose Project: Week 2

  • I began work on a yelp clone called Nomster.
  • I had my first mentor Skype session with Ash. We pair programmed through a ruby challenge. I can already tell he will be a great learning catalyst in my coding journey.
  • Upgraded my previous Muir Words to Rails 5 & Bootstrap 4

Upgrading to Rails 5 & Bootstrap 4

After finishing the Muir Words app I tried to update the gemfile to Rails 5. I try to go through a checklist to combat the errors. Check for typos, check for syntax error, check install documentation, restart the server. But I received constant error messages so I ended up rebasing to the last working version of the app. I knew the next app would be a fresh install with Rails 5 so I moved on, hoping to gain knowledge and revisit.

Then it hit me, keep it chunky. I’ve been coding HTML emails for the last 4 years and the table based code and deep nesting can get pretty messy. One thing it taught me was to break chunks of code until I find the problem. Replace it with working chunks of code and finesse my way to a solution. Now I had a working gemfile for a Rails 5/Bootstrap 4 app. I compared the differences to the gemfile in my Rails 4 app using a diff tool. It wasn’t the install files that created the errors as I suspected. It was dependent gems that needed updating too.

Chunk by chunk I updated the gems until I was error free. The site was back up and running on my local server but the layout was off. A quick inspect element and Bootstrap 4 documentation reference later, I realized I had to rewrite most of the layout classes. Bootstrap rewrote their grid class syntax so my legacy classes failed. Luckily this is a simple site with only a few pages. I could see how updating class names across a more complex site would turn into it’s own project. I guess that’s the downside of frameworks. They let you create sites quickly, but if the syntax changes your success or failure it tied to re-learning the new documentation.

Customizing will_paginate gem

Another challenge for the week was to implement pagination functionality into the new yelp clone app Nomster. I’m calling mine Brewster. After getting the will_paginate gem implemented I wanted to change the output to integrate better with Bootstrap. I was chatting with another student and realized that there were other gems that tied into will_paginate to do just that. Since “Good Artists copy; Great Artists steal”, I decided to use the open-sourced work of others as a jumping board. This openness is what I love about the web.

“If you see a great master, you will always find that he used what was good in his predecessors, and that it was this which made him great.” — T.S. Eliot

There was an existing gem that integrated with Bootstrap 4’s syntax online created by Ivan Palamarchuk. This was a great start but I wanted to take advantage of a few other Bootstrap classes not implemented. I saw in the will_paginate HTML renderer docs that the magic happened in the initializers/will_paginate.rb. Reverting back to my chunky iteration, I created a copy in my app that matched the will_paginate-bootstrap4initializer. I commented out everything I didn’t want to change. Drop in the desired extra Bootstrap classes to the element and voilà: Beautiful customized Bootstrap pagination.

Contemplating Complexity

My final thought of the second week is a higher level one brought up by my mentor. He introduced the idea of Complexity in computer science. He encouraged thinking about it as I come up with solutions. Decreasing complexity can improve the performance of my functions and apps. I’ll be reading more on the subject and applying it to come up with a better solution to this reverse array challenge. One goal this week is to manipulates the original array instead of increasing complexity by creating a new array like my current solution:

As I begin to dive into algorithms and more complex apps this will be a constant point of thought and opportunity for improvement. Until next week.

Originally published on my blog: http://justinmunn.co/blog/pushing-through-errors/

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Justin Munn

Justin Munn

Web developer at Microsoft. 2017 @firehoseproject graduate. Make things and go outside.