A Single Step - Rails Edition

About Web Development

New App, redesigned pages, more learning...

Posted on March 11, 2014 by Glenn

This post was originally posted at ghdev.net on Mar 10, 2014.

* I've been putting my Code School membership to good use.

  • Completed "Rails for Zombies 1" and "Try JQuery"
  • Over 90% done with Rails for Zombies 2, 20% done with Testing for Zombies and 50% done with Ruby Bits

* I updated the "About" and "Projects" page.

* I completed a new app. It's called "ACME INSURANCE COMPANY PORTAL" and is a mockup of an internal app that an insurance company might use to track their book of business.

Reinvigorated about learning

Posted on February 28, 2014 by Glenn

This post was originally posted at ghdev.net on Feb 27, 2014.

So now that I’m seriously starting to look at job opportunities to apply for I’m becoming familiar with the list of stated requirements a lot of employers want. Since the majority of postings are looking for experienced developers some of their stated requirements are beyond my current skill level. Instead of being frustrated, e.g., “OMG doesn’t anyone want to give a Junior developer a chance?!?!”, I look at it as a roadmap guiding me down the path to make me more employable.

I had a conversation with a recruiter on Tuesday and she was asking me a bunch of questions about my learning. The subject of code schools came up.

I don’t have $12,000 to pay the tuition, nor can I afford to quit my job to attend one of these (assuming I’d be accepted, but then again…why wouldn’t I? So I figured the next best thing would backwards engineer a code school type of education.

I found Dev Bootcamp’s very broad outline on their curriculum and I’m going to use that to fill the gaps in my current knowledge.

Problems implementing search

Posted on February 27, 2014 by Glenn

This post was originally posted at ghdev.net on Feb 26, 2014.

Adding a search feature to my blog app has been on the wish list for a while. Turns out that I’ve made it more complicated than I expected.

As I mentioned before I installed the sunspot gem and it was working beautifully in development mode but then when I uploaded it to Heroku I discovered that the functionality needed to make the gem work is only available for paying users :-(

Late last night I came across a Railscasts episode about coding your own simple search feature. The problem is that in order to make it work I have to change my controller in such a way that breaks the pagination feature I installed (kaminari). I ran into the same problem when installing sunspot, and I found a solution after an hour of searching.

I would have installed it last night but it was too late to undertake something like that.

Hat. Tossed. Ring.

Posted on February 26, 2014 by Glenn

This post was originally posted at ghdev.net on Feb 25, 2014.

I’ve spent hundreds of hours in the past 4 months boning up on web development. I’m at the point where I feel my development is being hindered by not doing this full time.

I haven’t done a job search in a looooooong time. I had forgotten the horrors of trying to get my resume looking good. “OMG, SHOULD I PUT AN OBJECTIVE? OMG HOW MUCH EXPERIENCE DO I LIST? OMG ARE THEY GOING TO LOOK DOWN ON ME BECAUSE I’M SELF-TAUGHT AND DON’T HAVE A COMPUTER SCIENCE DEGREE?”

I’m looking for the right company and the right opportunity to grow as a developer and help that company achieve its goals in the most efficient manner.

Soooooooo… I posted my resume online to 2 very popular tech job sites… and I wasn’t disappointed by the response :-)

Tried to add search to blog app

Posted on February 22, 2014 by Glenn

This post was originally posted at ghdev.net on Feb 22, 2014.

I have to laugh or else I’d be crying or raging…

One of the features I’ve wanted to add to the Shadow Blog is search capability. I came across a Railscasts episode in which Ryan Bates demonstrates the Sunspot gem.

I installed the gem and got everything working in development mode then I tried uploading to Heroku…except I found out that using solr search on Heroku is not free! $20 per month! OMG.

I spent about 1.5 hours troubleshooting and installing only to find out it was all for nothing and I couldn’t use the functionality on the free tier of Heroku. Well, at least I got my Rails coding in for the day…

Budgeting time

Posted on February 21, 2014 by Glenn

This post was originally posted at ghdev.net on Feb 20, 2014.

  • TDD (Test Driven Development)
  • Javascript & JQuery
  • Building Rails Apps

These are the topics I’m currently working on. I have a family, a full-time job and I don’t function well over the long term on less than 6 hours of sleep, so budgeting the proper time for each subject can become a challenge. On top of that I also keep an excel sheet full of goals not related to coding that I try to accomplish each day, and those items also take my time.

URL validation

Posted on February 16, 2014 by Glenn

This post was originally posted at ghdev.net on Feb 16, 2014.

So I learned the hard way about URL validation when submitting a URL as a text string.

I am doing round 2 of building the "Reddit on Rails" app and submitted a URL in the format of "google.com" instead of "http://www.google.com". When I would type something like <%= link_to @link.title, @link.url %> it would return a link in the format of "http://mydomain/links/google.com" instead of what I wanted which was "http://www.google.com".

I thought something might be wrong with my routes.rb file, or links controller. Turns out I created the problem by not submitting the URL with the "http://" at the beginning of the string.

Did some Google searching and came up with a nice thread on how to validate URLs in rails.

New Laptop

Posted on February 15, 2014 by Glenn

This post was originally posted at ghdev.net on Feb 15, 2014.

One of my goals for February was to purchase a laptop for 2 reasons:

  1. I code from a desktop computer and wanted to be able to display my work to others away from home
  2. I wanted to be able to code standing up, because sitting down all the time is bad for your health

Yesterday I received a refurbished Dell Laptop in the mail. It’s nothing special, but it accomplishes the two goals listed above and makes me feel more like a “real” developer. Don’t all “real” developers have laptops? The devs at my current job do…

Nowadays I’m doing my coding using Nitrous.io, so performance specs aren’t that big of an issue.

Work for 2/13/2014

Posted on February 14, 2014 by Glenn

This post was originally posted at ghdev.net on Feb 13, 2014.


  • Codecademy’s Javascript tutorial
  • Added styling to my blog project
  • Added styling to my “Reddit Clone” project that is still in production

Added Static Pages to Blog

Posted on February 13, 2014 by Glenn

This post was originally posted at ghdev.net on Feb 12, 2014.


  • Added Static pages to both the main blog and the shadow blog. Pages are “About”, “Contact”, and “Projects”
  • Worked on Codecademy’s Javascript tutorial.



  • New App, redesigned pages, more learning...
  • Reinvigorated about learning
  • Problems implementing search
  • Hat. Tossed. Ring.
  • Tried to add search to blog app



    Made by Glenn Harris © 2014