author: “Seth”
categories: [daily blog]
date: 2017-04-20T22:44:52-05:00
description: “Day 53 of Flatiron School”
featured: “fog.jpg”
featuredalt: “tree in fog”
featuredpath: “../../images/”

title: Fog is in the Brain

I don’t know what it is tonight but I just can’t get into the groove. I’m steady distracted and not focused. And no it’s not because of the date, you know you were thinking it. Ugh. At least it’s on a “short” day and I did attend a meetup tonight so I did something beneficial to my coding journey that took a few hours of my evening. I am a few pages into one of my notebooks though so I can say that’s good. Maybe I’ll look up the CORS spec instead of doing any more Rails learning tonight. It’s a topic I heard about at the beginning of the month but still haven’t read up on at all (I had to look up that link just now).

Time spent today: 1:11
Time spent total: 202:24
Lessons completed today: 4
Lessons completed total: 416

Today I started Rails in all its glory. This will be my first full-on framework that I get to work with. From what I’ve seen though it’s one of those things that has so much the key will be to stay focused on what I’m trying to have Rails do instead of everything it can do. It’s crazy to think that after this large section Career Services will be reaching out to me to start that process while I finished up the JS part of the program. I have 104 lessons, labs, and lectures left before 3 projects. My goal is to be doing Rails projects by May 10th.

I started taking some more organized notes in my little notebook. We’ll see how that works out as we move forward. From looking over the curriculum authentication is the largest part of Rails so I’ll keep some good notes there. If I can keep myself from having to rewatch lecture videos I think the extra time writing things down will pay off.

On a software note. My favorite email client just had an upgrade and is available on Windows, Mac, and Linus now. Check out Nylas Mail.

Time spent today: 3:00
Time spent total: 201:13
Lessons completed today: 6
Lessons completed total: 412


You can say I’m pretty stoked. This blog is part of the requirements though so get ready :-). Actually, I didn’t take enough notes to really get into the code in this blog. I did hit some solid stumbling blocks and there is some major refactoring of code needing to happen but I’m overall pretty happy. A large part of the time I spent was making the app look good utilizing Bootstrap.

Something that definitely needs to be refactored is one of my helper methods:

def current_user_parents
  parents = []
  current_user(session).houses.each do |house|
    Parent.where(house_id: do |parent|
      parents << parent

It’s sandwich code (starts with a variable set to an empty array, fills that array, returns that array) so I know I can most likely eliminate two lines from that or even three if I’m not pushing onto that parents variable anymore. We’ll see. I’m interested to pick the brain of the instructor that goes over the project with me.

You can see what I’ll call v0.8 (I figure it’s close to v1.0 but not yet lol) at I feel like the code is solid but still some functionality and visual things that need to be resolved.

  • I’d like to add a static footer to the site.
  • If a house is deleted the parent and children remain in the database but can never be accessed again because of how I list them in relation to the house they’re in.
  • When there are no parents or children I need to add a link suggesting to create some.
  • When a user tries to access the info for something they didn’t create (ie. they created house 8 but try and go to the link for house 5) the error page tells them to log in even though they are logged in. I need to create a different error page for logged in users trying to access stuff that isn’t there’s vs. the error page when a person isn’t logged in.
  • Add some color!

I’m sure I could find more. Feel free to check out the app. Sign up, use it, and report issues to the GitHub link at the top right on every page of the application.

It was interesting deploying to Heroku as well. There isn’t a solid guide on deploying a Sinatra app with a DB to Heroku. Through Heroku’s docs and this Get Started with Sinatra on Heroku from 2013, I got it up and running though. The biggest thing was setting up Postgres and what to put in the Procfile. Let me see if I can remember what exactly I did:

  1. Add gem 'pg' to your Gemfile. Also, define your version of ruby, ie. ruby '2.4.1' in your Gemfile.
  2. I changed the sqlite gem to development like this gem 'sqlite3', :group => :development.
  3. I added a config/database.yml because the Heroku docs said to but I don’t know if it’s needed. I’ll probably delete it and see what happens in the near future. The Heroku docs have an example that I used and just changed the database: names.
  4. I think config/environment.rb is where the magic happened. I kept the :development environment using sqlite3 because I read in some of the docs that you needed to know the host, username, password, port and something else to make it work locally. I figured if I could get it to work without figuring that out I would do that. I got this working locally running shotgun and on the Heroku server too. With the changes it now looks like this:
    require 'bundler/setup'
    configure :development do
      ENV['SINATRA_ENV'] ||= "development"
        :adapter => "sqlite3",
        :database => "db/neighborhood#{ENV['SINATRA_ENV']}.sqlite"
    configure :production do
      db = URI.parse(ENV['DATABASE_URL'] || 'postgres://localhost/mydb')
        :adapter => db.scheme == 'postgres' ? 'postgresql' : db.scheme,
        :host     =>,
        :username => db.user,
        :password => db.password,
        :database => db.path[1..-1],
        :encoding => 'utf8'
    require_all 'app'
  5. The Procfile was something I couldn’t figure out. The SitePoint article I linked above had this line for it and this is what made it all work web: bundle exec rackup -p $PORT.

  6. For the rest I followed the Ruby docs on Heroku here and the SQLite doc here.
  7. If you get db migration errors you can run rake tasks on Heroku. heroku run rake db:migrate was one that I needed to do. More in depth docs about it here.

Hey, look at that. I remembered way more than I thought. Hopefully, this was helpful to someone somewhere. Probably a student coming behind me who is going to pull their hair out trying to get their app to work on Heroku.

Time spent today: 8:32
Time spent total: 198:13
Lessons completed today: 1
Lessons completed total: 406

Not much to report today. I got some free passes from being a member of American Mensa to see Gifted. So the wife and I went to see that tonight. It’s a good movie and I recommend it.

I finished up the controller and views for one part of my Sinatra project. It’s coming along nicely. Now that I have this done I don’t think the next two controllers and associated views will take as long. It should be pretty close to the same thing just modifying some small amounts of code. I am still deciding between radio buttons and a dropdown for some of my create and update forms. Parents will only be allowed to be associated with one house so deciding how to visually represent that. I think the dropdown will work better only because this app could potentially have a lot of entries in it. I also need to code in that when a House is deleted so are the members of the house. However, I’ll work on that once I actually have associated members.

Time spent today: 1:00
Time spent total: 189:40
Lessons completed today: 0
Lessons completed total: 405

I decided to take the weekend off and enjoy the Easter holiday with the family. I had been going hard for almost 7 straight weeks. Back at it tomorrow. I also ordered my Code & Quill Origin this weekend. Looking forward to getting my notebooks just in time to take notes on Rails.

Time spent today: 0:00
Time spent total: 188:40
Lessons completed today: 0
Lessons completed total: 405

So about that not being fancy that I talked about last night. I took a good chunk of time today and figured out how to implement Bootstrap in my portfolio project. I figured this was my first web app and should probably look somewhat nice. I have a navbar that changes if you’re logged in or not and then I’m using the form and typography stylings. It’s definitely taking me longer to write my forms out and I’m making sure my app actually will look good so that is taking more time as well. However, I think I’m going to be more proud of this when I’m done. You can follow my progress on my project here. Although, that link might break in the future as I’ll probably rename my repo to something less stalkerish lol.

It took me a long time to get my naming correct for my has_many to has_many relationship. Between the models and the DB it was a mistake in what needed to be plural that ultimately took some time to figure out. I’m happy that I don’t have to keep up with these associations in any complex manner. I don’t know why but I’m exhausted right now. I’m usually still humming along at 11:15pm but not tonight. I’m fighting to stay awake. I made some great progress today on my Sinatra project and I’m happy with where I’m at. I could’ve been closer to being done but I know that I’ll be more proud to show off my project because of how it looks.

Time spent today: 6:20
Time spent total: 188:40
Lessons completed today: 0
Lessons completed total: 405

It’s late so I’ll be brief. I crushed my project tonight and I’m ready to start my Sinatra portfolio project tomorrow. I think I can have an ugly version (desktop down design, raw forms, no nav bar or footer) done tomorrow at some point and then leave it alone until after my project review with an instructor. We’ll see how that goes. The requirements are:

  1. Build an MVC Sinatra Application.
  2. Use ActiveRecord with Sinatra.
  3. Use Multiple Models.
  4. Use at least one has_many relationship
  5. Must have user accounts. The user that created a given piece of content should be the only person who can modify that content
  6. You should validate user input to ensure that bad data isn’t created

So it might be ambitious to think I can finish that in a day or two but I’m confident I can with what I have planned.

I was able to utilize Active Record Validations tonight. I also included HTML5 required tags in my forms. However, the tests were sending raw params data to the post route so it was bypassing utilizing my forms to test. I guess this is good though because it creates a situation where if someone sends bad data to the server through a method other than the server it’ll reject it. However, I wouldn’t want the server hit every time a bad form is input. Maybe a combo of the two makes sense? That way data is validated in the browser and when being saved to the server. Here’s what an Active Record Validation looks like from Rails Guides:

class Person < ApplicationRecord
  validates :name, presence: true

Person.create(name: "John Doe").valid? # => true
Person.create(name: nil).valid? # => false

I also decided to buy the Cast Iron Design Eco Pocket-Sized Notebook pack of 3 to start. I realized that AMEX is offering a bonus if you redeem points towards purchases until the end of the month. While redemption values are almost always lowest when using AMEX points for bill credits with the 20% bump it’s worth using for a few small things. Considering we have 70k of them $12 won’t make a dent in that. I still plan to get a Code & Quill Origin when they’re not sold out anymore. The fact that there are spacing markers that will make written code look good is sweet (not like you can’t do that on graph paper but still).

I think one of the biggest things I’ve been doing that has helped me not get bogged down as I’m moving through the curriculum and projects is to not get too fancy. I’m also not overthinking it. I’m being very straightforward in what I’m putting together and making things that work. Could pretty much everything be better? Yes. However, I’m looking to have a body of work to present. I honestly feel that when it comes job hiring time the strength of the code will outweigh the shiny UI’s. I still plan on going back and polishing everything up and making it look nice (or at least nicer) than the project requirements require.

Time spent today: 3:13
Time spent total: 182:20
Lessons completed today: 1
Lessons completed total: 405