Web Dev Weekly Roundup

This week was filled with a bunch of fun code related activities from lightning talks, frontend JS validations, frontend styling and jQuery mobile menus. It’s been an interesting week with lots of new learning experiences. It’s all kind of merged into a single day it seems but it was, for me, a very productive and educational experience.

Starting out in this last week was lightning talks, the bi-monthly Firehose Project student get together to give talks on tech and development. As usual I loved the lightning talks and learned a bunch of valuable information. The lightning talks are great because it gives myself and other students an opportunity to learn about something new or expand upon previous knowledge. I particularly enjoyed the SASS/SCSS talk, it really helped me up my game in the styling frontend world which wound up coming in super helpful later on in the week.

I’ve been working on a lot of frontend stuff lately and part of that was to setup field validations within our Ember JS application. The purpose of the validations is to ensure that the form is completely filled before sending off to the server to feed up the proper requests. This normally would be pretty simple and we had all the backend validations lined up but we wanted to make sure that the frontend had a nice validation for the end-users to intuitively know what is required. Making the frontend validations was a bit tricky because it was going to be validated 100% in JavaScript meaning that I had to write validations in a language that I am super unfamiliar with. It was certainly a good experience and gave me some great exposure to Ember JS and JavaScript. Getting that exposure helped cement some knowledge that I haven’t had the opportunity to experience yet to this point. If you get a chance to experience Ember JS and JS you should jump at it because it really helps you realize all of the possibilities and your fingertips that you may have not been aware of to this point.

Moving on from JS validations I tackled implementing the styling and layout of our application. Now I’ve never been great at CSS and design but since using Bootstrap it has really gave me a ton of power that I didn’t have before. However, this time around there was no Bootstrap to the rescue. Instead it was Bourbon and Neat, a framework to this point I had zero exposure to and doesn’t give you a lot of the spoon fed features that Bootstrap does. Starting out it was a war of attrition and I was losing but then I remembered that I’m not going to get anywhere by attacking the problem as a whole, I needed to break it down into smaller pieces. Once I broke it down it no longer was a problem and it became enjoyable. I cranked through everything and when it was near finished I was pretty damn happy with the outcome. Bourbon and Neat was a pretty good less in doing only what is necessary and it served its purpose really well in this situation.

To wrap up the week I need to implement a mobile responsive menu like Slack uses on their primary website. It looks simple in design and for the most part, now that I have done it, it was pretty simple in application. The problem was that I’ve always used Bootstrap to handle this sort of thing and I have had next to no jQuery experience which is what was required in this specific situation to get the menu to be responsive and work the way in which we wanted it to. It took me a damn long time to figure out what the hell I need to do but in the end I managed to get it figured out and it was relatively easy. It was another situation that attacking it head on as a whole was getting me nowhere but the minute I started to break it down into smaller chunks I was starting to be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel and make some progress to the goal in which I sought to achieve. In the end the entire process of implementing the site styling and design turned out to be a pretty amazing thing and it was extremely beneficial to have the opportunity and the hurdles in which I overcame. I will be able to use this moving forward in other projects because of how nice it looks and feels.

This week was spent mostly on the frontend, an area that I don’t get a ton of exposure to, and it was extremely beneficial to start learning some of these new technologies and frameworks to implement ideas where Bootstrap had previously spoon fed me the information that I needed. It was a good week, productive, and allowed me to grow in areas that I needed it. After it’s all said and done it was a pleasure to have had these experiences and struggles. I look forward to what comes up in the next week.

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