Friday, January 13, 2017


So after a couple of weeks off, I'm back in Edinburgh CodeClan for week 14. Much excitement to see my fellow cohorts who have now firmly become good friends.

It is tinged with a hint of sadness as I know that we have only two weeks left after this one and we will all be off on our ways back out into the real world.

9:00am standup had stories of some that had coded over the Christmas and the New Year and some that had not and feared that they had forgotten everything. I was between the two as I had done some work towards the evidence for my PDA. It needs to be submitted soon.

Monday classes start with an introduction to frameworks. We will be learning two frameworks over the next couple of weeks. React for Front-end Javascript and Ruby on Rails for the Back-end. Frameworks are intended to add more structure to the code. Using React this quickly becomes apparent as code and its component parts start to fall into place and code becomes easier to manage. Less Like Jekyll and Hyde and no more Spaghetti.

So this week it's React and in class, we have a couple of code-along sessions where we build a Comments App and a Piggybank App. Code-along sessions are fast-paced where you follow the instructor at the front of the class but thankfully there are instructors at the back who jump in when something goes wrong. Normally missing commas or capitals where there shouldn't be.

Homework for Monday was to recreate a container element from a movie website and have the latest movies showing in the UK displayed in a list. At first glance, it looked like a big ask but applying what we learned with React each element on the container could be broken down into individual parts with their own .jsx files and it quickly came together into something that resembled the website we were copying.

Tuesday starts with a step back. React was kinda hurled at us yesterday chucked into our code. New strange functions were doing things for us that made life easier but had no real idea what, when, or why they were doing things. The first lesson is a review of the lifecycle of React. We add a number of log messages that are triggered by each of the functions and can be viewed in time order in the browser console window. Very powerful and great way to see what is actually happening.

The next lesson of the day is to start adding API data back into our apps. We used the Countries API (seen this before) to pull data from a third party and display it in the browser. In the afternoon we had paired programming lab where we were set the challenge of using the Netflix API to pull a list of movie titles for a chosen Actor and display it as a selectable list in the browser.

We managed it within a couple of hours given to us and it was back in class to be given the evening's homework. Yippee another new App, this time to pull the Top20 singles from an iTunes API and display them in a browser container. (…Yea that's the 3rd new App we have created today. It was a long day!)

Wednesday solved a problem that we had been having in that all our Apps had been single pages, but as yet with React it was not apparent how to make multi-page apps. React Router solved this and in a code along we had a way of fudging React to create multi-page Apps. I say fudging as it was not quite like what we had done previously in a restful routes way.

Homework was to create our own app of our own design using React and React Router. This time we were given free rein to make whatever we liked so long as we used what we had learned. I made an App that had a choice of 3 doors and displayed a picture of a fluffy bunny if you got the right door and a picture of Jack Nicholas “here's Johnny” if you chose the wrong door. Basic but all the magic was behind the scenes.

Thursday was a big day for Cohort 7 as it was Speed Dating night, or should I say Speed networking night with potential employers. Code Clan has 85 (and increasing) employee-partners and on Thursday night 12 who had vacancies came in to meet us with a view to potential employment. A bell would ring every 10 minutes as we went around each employer. Meet greet, find out about the employer, and sell yourself 12 times was fast and furious but in the end good fun. Two companies stood out for me: Horisk in Cuper and iDesign in Dundee. Both really friendly and sounded like forward thinkers with interesting projects and products. If only I could make Dundee closer to Aberdeen. I guess when Aberdeen bypass opens they will become closer by car. I did meet one contact with a possible vacancy in Aberdeen so fingers crossed.

Friday standup at 10:00 was mainly about how much we had to learn this week and prepare for the employer meet-up. React is a lot to take in in just 4 days. Oh and I forgot to mention we had a lesson on converting JavaScript ES5 (the old version which we have been using and learned) to ES6 (the new version which we can use from now on) Many many differences but thankfully ES5 code can run with ES6.

Weekend homework is to recreate the Guess Who Game in Javascript with React. That's it? that's all we were given. Short and Sweet MVP. I'm writing this on the train on the way home to Aberdeen for the weekend. So best get on with it…

Huge thanks again to CodeClan and instructors and massive well done to my Cohort 7 classmates you did brilliantly at the Speed Dating and I'm looking forward to seeing your Guess Who games on Monday.