Into the Core…OS

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At some point in March I received an email stating that I had roughly $40 in DigitalOcean (referral link – get $10 credit!) credit which was going to expire on the first of May. I wanted to do something cool, learn new things, and leverage a large portion of my remaining credits.

My initial plan was to spin up a CoreOS cluster, as it is something that I have had my eye on. Once running I would get Kubernetes running for management/orchestration of deployed applications. During this journey I learned a lot of new things, had a lot of fun, and even got a cool cluster running. However, I never made it to the end goal of Kubernetes in time for my presentation (and this post). Looking back, I don’t consider this to be defeat: I learned a lot of new concepts along the way. I can be certain that I will leverage and use that knowledge in the future too!

Prototyping with Interface Builder

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With the acquisition of Next in 1997, a new tool was initiated into the Apple family. Originally known as an enhancement of OpenStep, called NextStep, it caught the attention of the developer community under the name of Interface Builder, as part of the XCode suite. Now about to celebrate its 20th birthday, Interface Builder represents the most powerful IDE to design user interfaces in a development suite. It doesn’t matter if you are writing an app for iOS, Cocoa, tvOS or watchOS; when carefully used, it will save you hundreds of lines of code. For this and other innumerable reasons, many developers, like myself, love this tool.

Late Subscribing and Polling APIs with RxAndroid

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Howdy, lazy bum! Enjoying the ReactiveX magic? Want to take a look at polling?

I’ll be walking you through a solution I put together for one of our up and coming apps! It works rather well, I learned a lot, and so far no complaints…although there are no users yet either!

Feeling quite charitable, I’m going to let you in on some useful bits and pieces as we build up to polling: threading, late subscribing, replay, manual re-triggering and error handling (a must for preserving replays).

Prototyping with P5

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When I wanted to create a proof of a concept project for one of the game ideas I had, I found many tools and gaming frameworks. However, most of them had a steep learning curve which required a significant time investment before the game could be played. Then I discovered P5, a Javascript library inspired by the Processing language, which made it very easy to get started.

Bundler Bulkheads for Rails on Docker

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As part of my exploration of a minimum set of devops tools, I’ve been learning how to stack containers full of Rails apps onto the Docker. There are plenty of examples of how to get started with Rails and Postgres on Docker, even one from the whale’s mouth, as it were. Working from this example, it was pretty clear to me that one of Docker’s major strengths is that it makes it really, really easy to get something running with a minimum of fuss; it took all of about a half day to learn enough Docker to hoist anchor, and even tweak a few things to my liking. One thing kept nagging me about the Docker example, though, and that was a warning from bundler when running docker-compose.

Intro to Software Methodologies

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Software Engineering is about more than just writing code. It is a complex process that has a lot of moving parts. Requirements gathering, planning, testing, deployment and source control management are just a few of the pieces to the software engineering puzzle. So how do we manage all this complexity? Software methodologies come to the rescue.

Keep Your App on the Rails with BDD – Part 1

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A common way to describe requirements on Agile projects is through the use of user story mapping, and, as a result, user stories. This post will not cover this process, but rather the process of taking an existing set of user stories and leveraging them within our development workflow to ensure that an application is built as accurately and efficiently as possible. To this effect, we will set up tools (Rails, RSpec, Capybara, FactoryGirl, and Guard, to be precise) for implementing our app using behavior-driven development. Structuring our app in this way gives us much better odds of producing robust, low-defect code that delivers on the requirements we set out to build.