Building Comedy Connection w/ Sinatra

Woohoo! Just finished my Sinatra app. This was a fun one. I decided to relate my app to something I was interested in – namely, standup comedy – and it really made the project go much more smoothly. The result is Comedy Connection, a little app that lets you sign in as either a comedian to post your CDs and Specials, or as a fan to view different comedians’ pages, and add them to your list of favorites. Of course, you can also take a look at other fans’ pages and compare notes as to who likes who.

I think the biggest hurdle for me to overcome while working on this project was that of validation. I really didn’t know anything about it, and had to do a lot of reading before I understood it at all. Maybe this is just hope, but I’m starting to think that I’m getting better at reading the sort of technical material that was really hard for me to even start on before. Those `` pages are starting to feel a little more familiar and comfortable, and the barely-visible scroll bar is a little less scary than it was. I actually ended up getting kind of interested in validation and how the team that made Rails made the decision that model-level validation was the way to go, as opposed to database-level, controller-level or client-side.

Learning to write validations and use them is particularly interesting because of the responsibility that comes along with it. It’s pretty trippy to see the actual kind of code that’s supposed to protect people’s privacy, finances and so on. I understand that I have much further to go as far as validation and password protection go, but it’s still a pretty powerful feeling to realize that it’s all just code, really, and that there’s no magic keeping it all safe past what you’re able to design as a developer, and what tools you know how to use.

Another thing I really got better at through this project is associations. It really is the case that not matter what you study, at some point you just need to put in the reps if you want to actually have it on-hand in your mind. I realized that despite learning my AR associations, I couldn’t recall off the top of my head how to actually get a join table working. Ruby guides saved me again, and I’m making sure now to write down which areas I get stuck in, and quiz myself regularly on the details of how to get through them.

As hard as it was to really dive in and get started on this project, I’m glad I did it before waiting TOO long. I got an email from Peter Bell, the head instructor at Learn, reminding me that I’m not helping myself by working around the project, or delaying it. He was completely right, and I’m glad he gave me that little nudge to really hone in on the project. There are things about coding, it turns out, that you only learn when working on a project. I’m planning to meet the next one in a much more head-on fashion, and I’m looking forward to it!

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