Today, my furrowed brows relaxed into “ah ha” smiles. After two days of challenging Ruby concepts, we’re now in the wonderful world of Rails. Our instructor for this section, Sarah Allen, is also really bringing it on.
Context and the big picture
For me, it’s vital to understand the big picture when learning a new technology. So kudos to Sarah for explaining the history and rationale for Rails: to let programmers worry about real application features rather than common development tasks. This means less typing, less configuration, and easier debugging. And more time to design and test.
After the quick intro, we created our first skeleton app with just one line of code. It’s really satisfying to create an app and begin interacting with a database within minutes. Amazing. For the rest of the day, we edited View templates and Model files (the M and V of the M-V-C application mode). Since we haven’t covered Controllers, I’m still not totally sure how it all works together. But, I know it’ll make much more sense by the end of the week.
Sarah did a great job explaining each step as we tried them out. I particularly loved the walk-thru of every directory and file types within a standard rails app. She also did a good job of pointing out common pitfalls and best practices.
Q & A
The last hour of the class was reserved for questions and answers. This gave us the chance to get clarification on any confusing points from the day.
What doesn’t work
Location still sucks
Even with the cab stipend, it’s still a pain to get to Marakana. The facility is set between the projects and industrial barrenness, so we have few options for walking around during lunch. Thankfully, food is provided. Though, we have little common area to sit, eat, and talk.
Set up could be smoother
We spent about 30 minutes at the beginning of the class just making sure we had the right version of Rails, Heroku accounts, and the required dependencies. We did get some instructions by email before the class, but not every step was included.
The bottom line
Today’s class was inspiring, well-structured, and clear. All the pain from the previous two days prepped us, but it was also Sarah’s ability to communicate the material that really helped in understanding. A great class, but please move Marakana fast.