Posts from 8 January 2015
By typing !m apparently you can email markdown. I don't know where the
has to go. Like, on a line by itself?
or just starting a line?
I know you can send it in the subject, but that's for chumps.
Edit: Lol, apparently the email portal strips out every occurrence of the string "!m", which is used to tell it that you're using markdown.
We're all solo all the time from here on out.
Today was super interesting, and super… how to say it… introspective? Revealing? As mentioned, today was the beginning of two weeks of solo work on a single final project, and I spent a lot of time looking at myself, wondering, "what am I doing?"
An aside. We're working on CRUD projects—Create, Read, Update, Destroy—which describes in some way, shape, or form 90% of the web apps that people use. Sure, there are some flourishes, because the "things" in any given web page can be text, videos, votes, cats, whatever, but at the end of the day all that's being done is authentication followed by doing stuff to entries in a database and then serving content.
What makes CRUD apps interesting, then, is the content they provide and the interaction model they offer, as well as the way they integrate the data they have on hand. Stack overflow is a forum with sorting, at the end of the day, but there are layers on layers of customizations and social … stuff they enable that makes them the foremost place for responses to technical questions on the (English-speaking?) web.
Getting to that point is always hard. A lot of the web is still non-RESTful phpBB systems and so forth, whereas what we've been learning is slightly more advanced and much more responsive (not in the screen scaling sense) than the pre-AJAX web.
Today, however, was straight up phpBB-level work. Which made it … weird. It's one thing to be learning Rails for the first time and to know that you're not stopping there, but it's another thing entirely when you have to seriously examine a problem you want to solve knowing that it's just a waypoint on a long path. Needless to say, a lot of the romance has fallen off web technologies for me, now: everything seems pretty easy, in a way (despite my struggles to cover ground today, more on that later), and I'm much less impressed with most single-page apps, or even massive online presences. It all seems like "just" pushing bits around.
Sure, there's a lot to be said for impressive widgets, scaleability, and presentation, but my main bugbears on the modern web all come back to utility. When 90% of the single-page apps feel little more advanced than MS Word's outline view, what are people really doing? I think a new interaction model is due, but I don't know what it looks like. It will, of course, seem obvious in hindsight.
Back to the day, then. I know I was frittering away time, learning about advanced validations or how to be more succinct with Rails. Part of my introspection is realizing that I really do prefer small, focused tasks (bug hunting, making something tiny and super-polished) over architecting… but the model for this project is to cover as much ground as possible, showing off knowledge of many technologies and areas of study as possible. In a sense, breadth, not depth. I bet I could break any of our projects, two weeks from now, in ten minutes if not less—and that's just not the kind of problem solving I like. I'd rather make something tiny and robust than expansive and potentially brittle.
Am I missing the point of MVPs and Agile development?
Tomorrow, my goal will be to subsume my pickiness under the banner of covering ground - I will try to be picky over broader architectural issues. Does that even make sense? They're saying we should be working on Backbone by tomorrow, but I know I'll still be doing a lot of rails for much of the day.
Nonetheless, we pushed to heroku today, and … yeah. It's a bit ridiculous how sparse my app is, but that's life. It'll look better tomorrow, I swear.