Constant Catch Up
Week Four at Enspiral Dev Academy
So it’s the end of week five and I’m writing my week four blog post. I think this is highly indicative of my time at EDA. Time is the scarcest commodity we have these days and I run to a strict interpersonal prioritizing regime. Unfortunately last week blogging fell very low in the hierarchy as I tried to grapple with more new concepts. That said I started this blogging thing so I’m going to see it out.
Week four coincided with the start of Phase Two, notorious as being the hardest of all the phases. I approached the week with mixed emotions; apprehension and anticipation. I knew that Phase Two was less about building foundations and more an introduction to the larger infrastructure we would be working with, along with a more realistic simulation of project scopes. Looking ahead at the weeks agenda there was our first two day project along with this foreign concept of “Lightening Talks.” Strangely enough the most pleasing aspect was the fact that the curriculum had be restructured so that the days now only contained the minimum challenges required to cover in them and additional ones were all listed separately. For a compartmentalizer like me this made me extremely happy -weird I know.
Fly Me To The Moon
My first taste of a web framework can in the form of Sinatra. It’s another stepping stone on our journey towards Rails and was a really nice introduction. Without getting too technical it allowed me more of a comprehension of MVC, HTTP requests and also aided in a real clarification of how the internet works (client vs sever side). Sinatra allowed me to build my first few web apps and realize the real potential of programming; within a few hours you can have a functioning app up and running having only your imagination as the limitation. Dabbling in Sinatra is a whole lot of fun however the coaches are continually saying that Rails contains magic even more unsurpassed. It somewhat seems like a tease that we have to move through all the iterations before finding the holy grail that is Rails, but I know there are learnings to be had from such an approach.
New to Phase Two is the concept of lightening talks. Lightning talks are 4-5 minute talks covering a topic or answering a question. We sign up to our preferred topics from a given list which are anchored around the themes of the week. Because you only have 4 minutes, you must prioritize what is the most important part of a topic, I found myself going over the time limit when discussing The HTTP request methods. The idea behind these talks is to become comfortable giving a technically focused talk as well as enable co-teaching amongst the cohort. So far they have received mixed reviews with time restraints limiting discussion on the more interesting topics as well as research on the topics proving time consuming. I think we can all see the benefit in them, it’s just finding the most appropriate format in which to hold them.
Authentication & Authorization
Probably my pain point of the week was understanding sessions in Sinatra during the Dummy User challenge. A simple enough concept in theory but I was hitting a wall for some reason. Perhaps it was due to the topic coming mid a very busy week, whatever the reason it took me longer than I would have liked to master this one. I became very familiar with “Sinatra doesn’t know this ditty,” until a breakthrough when I felt the pieces click together. I was glad I was able to struggle through a little bit instead of it being handed on a plate as I now feel comfortable with what can be a tricky subject.
Probably the highlight of the week was working on my group project. This is becoming a reoccurring theme for me but they’re infectiously enjoyable. To actively apply the masses of knowledge that have been accumulated in the week in a collaborative way and end up with an awesome deliverable - I don’t know who wouldn’t love this.
Check out our brilliantly original app here:
On top of the demands on the weeks curriculum the weekend was solely devoted to working on my portfolio. Your EDA portfolio consists of 10 challenges provided by EDA and will be a comprehensive showcase of our work and time at EDA. I assume these contribute to Phase Two’s reputation of being the most challenging as they alone are a heavy workload. I think my problem is that my definition of “done” for each challenge was very stringent including testing and styling for each. I have since realized that this isn’t attainable if I want to get through them all and should instead focus on the skill that the challenge is wanting to debut. I’ve dabbled in the first four so far but hope to polish them all up before moving them to the “done” column.
I feel as though my body is starting to adjust to the demands of EDA and I can run on a lot less sleep than prior to starting. I’m also much more comfortable in terms of knowing everyone on my course, familiarity with the space and with daily protocol. This is allowing me to not only put a few more hours in than previously but also helping increase productivity. This week really hit home how far I have come. Producing a Twitter clone with the team and having it up running in two days resonated what really is possible. I feel like I have skills that are applicable beyond the scope of the classroom. I might even be able to start calling myself a developer soon…