Pre-course week 3 – Ruby rookie

Pre-course week 3. Otherwise known as ‘The One Where I Made A Thing’.

You know, A Thing.

Like, an actual thing Thing.

You may tell me that this Thing, on a level of one to mind-numbingly-boring, is nestled right between Alan Titchmarsh and water biscuits. And you may tell me that this Thing is, quite frankly, overwhelmingly underwhelming. Oh and you may well tell me, my friend, that this Thing is in fact someone else’s thing that has been made a million times before, a million times better.

And you know what? You’d be absolutely, stonkingly correct on all counts.

But frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.

It’s mine.

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After that build-up, you’re probably thinking you’d prefer it if I stopped right here and didn’t tell you about this thing I made during ‘Week 3 Of The Pre-Course: The One Where I Made A Thing’, but I’m gonna go ahead anyway and indulge.

I made a student directory.

Oh yes. The indulging is tangible… feel it… mmmm.

Like many other directories you may or may not have come across, this directory allows the user to input details of different students, store them, load them, change them and spit them back out again. But unlike other directories you may or may not have come across, this directory has one crucial difference: I made it. Outta nuthin’.

Using many of the basic concepts and practices we’d been getting used to over the previous couple of weeks, we were guided through our first real project at Makers Academy. Not only did this showcase some friendly bits of Ruby code (for example, using the CSV class to populate arrays and vice versa), it also allowed us to really nail down the fundamentals in growing a project from scratch.

It was nice to feel a real sense of progression each day, especially compared to the chaos that was Chris Pine Week. Each exercise built upon the last – starting from simply printing a list of hard-coded student names, to adding an interactive menu, saving to files and finally taking arguments directly from the command line to load data automatically on start-up. By the end, we each had our own neat Ruby program no-one in their right mind would ever use for anything.

Yes, they may not be much use as functional directories (I’m a little unsure whether any business would want to view their vital statistics solely through the terminal) but the process was immensely useful in broadening our understanding of journeying through a project, refactoring our work and reassessing code for changing criteria.

Next on the list to conquer: make a thing look like actual thing.

Because this user experience probably ain’t The One…

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