man in tie presenting

So today Dave Harned and I hosted the monthly freeCodeCamp Nashville Meetup. There were 8 of us there and it was good to see new and “old” faces. I think we’re starting to build more of a core group that will consistently attend the meetup. With that, we’ve started exploring some other options for larger meetup locations. The library is nice but the wifi is awfully slow and that’s a pretty big downside considering what we’re meeting for.

Dave and I presented on RESTful APIs and general REST info. You can view the slides here and to get a feel for what it was like, the image above is what Dave looked like presenting. So after that, we chatted for a bit about many things.

IDE’s were brought up. Specifically, WebStorm (which you can get for free with a .edu email address), Brackets, and Visual Studio Code were discussed. As were the limitations of CodePen and using Cloud9 instead and some of a Cloud9 setup.

In the discussion of local dev environments, Dave brought up MAMP and how he was dabbling in some WordPress when he was using it.

Other resources that were mentioned were: Eli the Computer Guy and The Coding Train on YouTube. An algorithms course on Coursera was mentioned but not the specific one. We were talking about Stanford though so I think this is the right one.

We also worked through the freeCodeCamp Truncate a string challenge together. I didn’t think to save it at the time but we used Dave’s computer so hopefully, he has the solution locally on his machine still. If so I’ll update with it.

UPDATE here’s the code:

function truncateString(str, num) {
  if (str.length <= num) {
    return str;
  } else if (num <=3) {
    return str.slice(0, num) + "...";
  } else {
    return str.slice(0, num - 3) + "...";

truncateString("A-tisket a-tasket A green and yellow basket", 11);

We had a good time and there were a few extended conversations after we officially ended which I liked. I’m not a Sr. Dev and can’t mentor people too much, yet. However, I really do enjoy seeing people connect with each other and the community we’re slowly building around the central theme of people new to coding utilizing freeCodeCamp to learn.

I missed writing yesterday. However, I chose to skip the writing while I enjoyed a very productive study group. Not really. We chatted about everything except code mostly because nobody really showed up at the proper time for it. After 3 hours of talking it was late and I decided to not write a blog post.

I also went to a Ruby meetup last night. It was underwhelming this month with only 3 of us in attendance. However, I got to meet a dev here in town and a guy who’s building his own PaaS (I think that’s the right acronym). The biggest takeaway was enabling Rubocop in Atom. I already had the gem installed but hadn’t started utilizing it. We got to this point by me telling how I spent almost 3 hours trying to find where my code was breaking a test to realize it was a f. missing. Charles told me Rubocop would’ve caught that.

No abstraction is better than the wrong abstraction.

- Sandi Metz

Time spent today: 2:48
Time spent total: 254:11
Lessons completed today: 4
Lessons completed total: 482

Cut it short tonight. Needed to. Learned some more about rendering partials tonight. Main takeaway code example <%= render partial: 'songs/song_details', collection: @genre.songs, as: :song %> will iterate through @genre.songs and passes those objects to the partial as song.

My wife bought me a trackball mouse 🙂

Prepped some of my possible presentation on REST for Saturday.

That’s all I got.

Time spent today: 1:34
Time spent total: 248:16
Lessons completed today: 4
Lessons completed total: 478

Partials are coming together more and I have to say they’re pretty sweet. Rails does some automagical stuff that I can’t completely wrap my head around just yet. However, I probably won’t be able to for a while as the people who created it are WAY smarter than me. However, as an example there’s this sequence of things that Rails does:

<% @posts.each do |post| %>
  <%= render :partial => "post", {:locals => {:post => post}} %>
<% end %>

<!-- OR -->

<%= render :partial => "post", :collection => @posts %>

<!-- OR -->

<%= render @posts %>

<!-- Rendering an empty Collection -->

<%= render(@posts) || "There are no blog posts!" %>

The craziest part to me is this little bit that I was taught about <%= render @posts %> which I have bolded for emphasis:

This approach is a bit more abstract. Under the hood, Rails uses the convention that you will have a partial with the name of the models in the collection. Rails will even render a collection of heterogeneous models ([customer, order, customer]) calling the correct partial for each one.

*Mind Blown*

I also took part in a virtual stand up yesterday morning. The instructor who led it asked me if I felt I was retaining the information with the pace I’ve been going (~5 lessons/labs/lectures per day). At the time I said yes because I felt my short days balanced my long days. However, as I worked through some stuff tonight I think my notes are really helping. Pages like this:

are awesome for me to cement more abstract things as well as provide a quick reference to go back and look at when I need. As I work through the curriculum I’m going to see which notes are truly valuable and get them migrated over to my Code & Quill book for long-term reference.

I <3 the community at Flatiron. Here’s a recent chat thread:

jilustrisimo [08:56]
Has anyone been able to roll out Facebook and/or Google OAuth (via Devise) with > an app they’ve deployed to heroku?

yechielk [08:58]
I’ve done github oath

yechielk [08:58]
Make sure you change the app’s URL with Facebook/Google

jilustrisimo [13 hours ago]
[yechielk]2: hey! Do you have any documentation, I’ve been searching on heroku but its either beyond me or not what I’m looking for…I’m not sure where to even place my app_ids/secrets

yechielk [13 hours ago]
Oh, that…

jilustrisimo [13 hours ago]

zac-baston [13 hours ago] (edited)

yechielk [13 hours ago]
I used a gem called figaro

yechielk [13 hours ago]
figaro – Simple Rails app configuration

yechielk [13 hours ago]
It’s for storing env variables but it has great heroku integration built in

zac-baston [13 hours ago]
figaro is a good option. also could check out dotenv gem ( (edited)

jilustrisimo [13 hours ago]
thanks @zac-baston Ill check it out. @yechielk I could never figure out figaro, I used dotenv

jilustrisimo [13 hours ago]
I get using dotenv but arent those files not supposed to be pushed up anywhere?

smithwebtek [13 hours ago]
Yes 2nd the reminder about URL pointing back to Heroku (production).

zac-baston [13 hours ago]
you certainly shouldn’t commit them to version control. looking at the documentation in that Readme from the repo, it has a section on production in which it recommends the heroku config methods

jilustrisimo [13 hours ago]
thanks guys, I’ll read the doc and shout again if I break everything

snsavage [13 hours ago]
In your Heroku dashboard go to settings and click on Reveal Config Vars. Those keys and values should reflect your .env file.

jilustrisimo [13 hours ago]
@snsavage thanks, I think thats what the doc @zac-baston linked was pointing me towards…so theoretically just set them there then do whatever I need to do for the callbacks?

snsavage [13 hours ago]
So if you’re using something like dotenv you just need to set the values in the dashboard. Just keep the keys the same as your dotenv file.

jilustrisimo [13 hours ago]
do I need to do anything regarding the redirect on FB and Google?

snsavage [13 hours ago]
For my Rails app I have the Facebook site url set to

snsavage [13 hours ago]
And then the callback path is handled by OAuth and route.rb as devise_for :users, controllers: { omniauth_callbacks: ‘users/omniauth_callbacks’ }

jilustrisimo [13 hours ago]
it works! at least for Google. I didnt do FB yet

snsavage [13 hours ago]

jilustrisimo [13 hours ago]
thanks @snsavage @zac-baston @yechielk @smithwebtek !!

yechielk [13 hours ago]

zac-baston [13 hours ago]
pretty cool stuff about the web interface. I didn’t know that was there.

jilustrisimo [12 hours ago]
I think its new

jilustrisimo [12 hours ago]
fairly new

snsavage [12 hours ago]
It’s been there since at least 2015.

snsavage [12 hours ago]
It’s hard to find if you don’t know where to look.

sethalexander [3 minutes ago]
I need to save this entire thread for later…

Well, I guess I now saved the entire thread for later…

Time spent today: 2:17
Time spent total: 246:43
Lessons completed today: 4
Lessons completed total: 474

I don’t know why I thought Rails layouts and templates would be somewhat easy. While in a sense it’s taking snippets and putting them in other files to reuse of course there has to be some logic in there to ensure that the proper data is being shown. So rendering partials with locals is starting to make sense.

For my example <%= render partial: "authors/author", locals: {author: @author} %>
– The first key-value pair partial: "authors/author" tells Rails the name of the partial to render. Nothing too complex here.
– In the second key-value pair locals: {author: @author} the nested hash {author: @author} key is the name of the variable and its value is the value you’d like it to have in the partial.

I pretty much understand this except for the nested hash’s key. It’ll click I’m sure. I need to get into the Rails console and play some. I have figured out that to effectively have a partial inside a loop I need the argument I pass to the block (the piece in between the |pipes|) the same as the nested hash value. In this case @author.

I’m thinking about presenting a general overview of MVC to my Free Code Camp meetup this weekend. Since I’m basically not thinking about JS at all right now I want to contribute in a meaningful way somehow. Depending on how long that presentation is I might add REST to it. Both MVC & REST are language agnostic so it’ll be useful. Maybe even add CRUD for a 30,000 feet overview of some of the big acronyms in web development.

Time spent today: 2:12
Time spent total: 244:26
Lessons completed today: 4
Lessons completed total: 470

Feeling great about today. The things that a struggled with the most I ended up cementing (it’s not dry yet) into my brain. The Learn community is awesome I must say. After 2 hours with a Learn Expert (basically a TA), we were both sufficiently stumped. I dropped a note into the student’s Slack channel and <20 minutes it was figured out by the group. So you’re probably wondering what it was…

<h1><%= @post.title %></h1>
  <%= @post.content %>
<% @post.categories.each do |c| %>
  <h3><%= %></h3>
<% end %>
<% @post.comments.each do |c| %>
  <p><%= c.user.username %> says: <%= c.content %></p>
<% end %>
<% @post.users.uniq.each do |u| %>
  <%= link_to u.username, user_path(u) %>
<% end %>
<%= form_for @comment do |f| %>
  <%= f.label :content %><br />
  <%= f.text_area :content %><br />
  <%= f.collection_select :user_id, User.all, :id, :username, include_blank: true %><br />
  <%= fields_for :comment_user_attributes, do |u_fields| %>
    <%= u_fields.text_field :username %>
  <% end %><br />
  <%= hidden_field_tag 'comment[post_id]', %>
<%= f.submit %>
<% end %>

Yeah, it’s in that code… can you find it??? Well, I wrote it and I couldn’t find it so if you can’t all good. If you’re still trying don’t scroll down lol. Here’s the fix with just the line of code that had the error:

<%= f.fields_for :user_attributes, do |u_fields| %>

Yeah, I was missing the f. before fields_for which makes a BIG difference. I can confidently say that I’ll most likely never make that mistake again. I also started taking screenshots during lecture videos of things I wanted to remember and write down. Figured this would be more effective than writing down the time in the video things happen. Although, I did write down a couple larger concepts if I ever need to go back and look.

Something I was struggling with early was collection_select(:post, :author_id, Author.all, :id, :name_with_initial, prompt: true) and reading the APIdock didn’t help. To the Slack channel for people doing Rails I went. Got some solid info. Then later in a lecture video, Avi goes through an almost identical line of code and what it means. Here’s what I got (saved as a screenshot that I’ll write out by hand in my notebook later):

For context higher up in the code: <%= form_for @post do |f| %>
<%= f.collection_check_boxes(:category_ids, Category.all, :id, :name) %>
Will generate a checkbox named post[category_ids][] for each category in Category and it will use the :id as the value for the checkbox and it will use the :name method as the label for the checkbox.

Exactly what I was looking for was right around the corner when I finished the lab. This isn’t the first time I’ve experienced this. There have been many a lecture where after I struggled through something it all became clearer. Specific topics that I had questions about were explained in a way that answered my questions.

Side note, I’ve realized I need something to rest my wrists on. Especially my right hand that uses the mouse. This Microsoft Natural Keyboard has a nice soft wrist rest. However, these 10 hour coding days + this time writing the blog takes a toll.

It’s time for my Sunday night look into where I’m at. I’m 53% done with Rails according to my dashboard and 50 lessons from my Rails projects. I’m still on pace to start my projects on May 10th at a 5 lesson/lab/lecture per day pace. Mon, Thurs & Fri of this past week I spent <1:30 working so if I can get that back up over 2 on weekdays (closer to 3 ideally) and keep this solid 10 on the weekends I’ll be happy.

Time spent today: 10:11
Time spent total: 242:14
Lessons completed today: 9
Lessons completed total: 466

It felt so good to spend almost the entire day coding. I missed it. My progress was VERY SLOW at times (or so it felt). Things like the :source option in Active Record were foreign and not really taught but needed to solve a large lab I was working on starting first thing this morning. Luckily I have access to some awesome help. Here’s one conversation I had today:

Seth Alexander 34 MINUTES AGO
Need some help understanding the has_many option :source

Hey there Seth how’s it gong?

Seth Alexander 34 MINUTES AGO
Pretty good.

Seth Alexander 33 MINUTES AGO
So in the User model for this lab I get a test passing using:

Seth Alexander 33 MINUTES AGO

has_many :trip_listings, :through => :trips, :source => :listing
has_many :hosts, :through => :trip_listings, :foreign_key => 'host_id'

Seth Alexander 32 MINUTES AGO
I’ve read the Rails Guide and Googled but still don’t grasp what is actually happening when I use :source

Seth Alexander 32 MINUTES AGO
If you could walk me through step by step what my code is doing, that’s what I’m looking for.

Definitely it’s a pretty new topic give me one sec though sorry about hte wait!

Seth Alexander 23 MINUTES AGO
No problem, I’m not actually stuck, just trying to understand better.

no worries! so the idea behind source is pretty fundamental to polymorphic associations – having one object that can be used as essentially a different object with the same properties

an easy example to think about is a family tree – instead of making a new object for every single member of the family you could have one Person class

and then have different associations using the same source object

in this situation you have a User that has listings but since they’re not their own listings (think property manager) but as a guest they namespace them as a trip_listing

Seth Alexander 10 MINUTES AGO
So are we basically “reaching” into trips and pulling out the listing method then setting it to trip_listings for the User model?

well listing is an object so not as much reach for it’s method as reaching for it’s relationship to the object

which since user has many trips it also has whatever relationships come with it

which is sort of the argument against using OO programming because when you have an object with relationships all of a sudden you have everything that it has

there’s a saying that goes “I wanted a banana and you gave me a gorilla in the jungle holding a banana”

Seth Alexander 7 MINUTES AGO
So trip_listings is setting up an association between User and listing > objects for the trips it has many of.

between User as a guest

but yes that’s correct!

Seth Alexander 4 MINUTES AGO
Okay, I guess I was thinking too much about the methods that got enabled and not the whole scope of things. Like, User.trip_listings == User.trips.listings and not the broader picture.

no worries!

Besides the lab that took me about 6 hours I moved along through the material. I had another block where some help was needed and it happened to be that I had one work mixed up. Took about 30 mins to find but once it was found the entire lab worked. It was awesome. The quantity of lessons & labs I’m completely daily is definitely going down lately but the bites are getting larger too. I hope to pick the pace back up (hours in code that is) and get back to where I was when I started. I think I’ll feel better about my progress if I’m at that pace again. It also feels good to get stuff done and see more progress.

Time spent today: 9:40
Time spent total: 232:07
Lessons completed today: 7
Lessons completed total: 457