Week Two at The Starter League

October 15, 2012 / Personal

After two weeks at The Starter League I have created a functioning application running on Rails. I can hardly believe the amount I have learned in the last two weeks.

Pictured above is my Ruby on Rails application. The application shows a grid with pictures of my classmates, and pulls from the codemountain API to populate the list. When you click on someones picture in the grid their name will appear. The application was a class assignment, but considering that my college Java class never got past arrays, it is quite an accomplishment.

This evening I pushed the first working version to GitHub, and then to Heroku. Here are the links for all the Starter League classes. Can you find me?


Rails for Designers Week Two Notes

Tuesday we reviewed our previous work on hashes and arrays, and began learning about APIs. Applications can pull information from other programs using an API. For example, Klout pulls information from Twitters API to determine your score. There are endless opportunities to mashup APIs from different sources. Flipboard pulls information from Facebook, Twitter and your social networks to create a magazine tailored for you.

APIs often boil down to arrays and hashes, making the data relatively easy to access. Below is an application I built that takes data from Facebooks API and searches it for friends I have in Chicago.

require 'open-uri'
require 'openssl'
require 'json'
require 'awesome_print'

resource_url = "https://graph.facebook.com/me/friends?fields=name,location&access_token=XXXXX"

response = openresource_url, :ssl_verify_mode => OpenSSL::SSL::VERIFY_NONE.read

response = JSON.parseresponse

friends = response "data"

# --------------Pull friends in chicago---------------------
friends.each do |fb_friend|
if fb_friend"location" != nil
if fb_friend"location""name" == "Chicago, Illinois"
puts "My friend #{fb_friend['name']} lives in #{fb_friend["location"]["name"]}."

First, the information that comes from Facebook is parsed. After the data array is opened (line 12) the application loops to see if any of my friends have not listed their location (nil). If a location is listed the program loops to see which ones are Chicago, Illinois. When It finds a friend that is in Chicago, the application prints My friend [friend name] lives in [city name].

Takeaways from Week Two

I met with Brian Eng this week. He is a local entrepreneur and used to work with Jeff Cohen. He helped renforce the idea of short, iterative projects. I am going to make it my goal to ship little projects each week. There are few things I dislike more than leaving a project unfinished.

Just when you think something is done it breaks. The project I mentioned last week was worked perfectly in Ruby, and completely fell apart when putting it on Rails. One of my tasks this week is going to be getting it deployed.

Adam Lupu, our learning architect, exceeded my expectations in learning lab this week. He made several great points, but he said one thing that stuck out – learning is a real-life superpower, and we should treat it as such. I also liked his concept of 360 learning.  Learn with someone who is ahead of you, teach someone is behind you, and  work with someone at your level.

Spend time wisely. There are  meetups and talks all the time. There are not enough hours in the day to code, write and go to the events.