Sunday, May 22, 2011

Everybody's coding on the weekend

So here's what I've been up to today:


I like doing tutorials and I always learn something new from each one, but there are some annoying factors. For one thing, since Rails has been around for a while now, a lot of the tutorials I find that I want to create are for older versions of Rails. I'm still interested in doing these, but figuring out what the new syntax is for older examples is tricky. I found an updated version for the recipe application and finished that up last night. Now I'm trying to find a new version for a to-do list.

I tried a couple of video tutorials, but the problem with those is I like to code along with the tutorial, and it's a pain in the ass to constantly pause and restart a video. Still, railscasts is a great resource and it would be worthwhile just to watch, even if I'm not coding along with the video.

One final gripe: a lot of Rails tutorials are geared towards beginners, so every one walks me through what Rails is, a brief history of Rails, how to install Rails and so on. I get it, and it's useful, but it gets tedious. I'd like to see more tutorials geared for slightly more experienced users. Do such things exist? I don't know!

Still, doing just a fucking ton of tutorials is a good idea. I'm learning new things and reinforcing what I already know to the point that I can do some things automatically.

One useful thing I learned today: setting up a Project with TextMate, because I saw a video where a guy was using it and thought "Oh man, why am I still browsing back and forth through a series of folders? That seems MUCH better!" So sometimes it's not a matter of learning new things, it's a matter of learning new ways to use familiar tools.


  1. RE: TextMate. Absolutely use projects and not opening individual files, then pretty much use command-t to navigate to every file. Occasionally command-shift-r to locate the file you're editing in the source tree and navigate from there.

    We should probably work together sometime soon, there are lots of little productivity tips you get when working side-by-side.

  2. Yeah, I've been thinking the same thing. Watching screencasts is good for picking up a lot of things, but there's no real replacement for seeing how other coders do things. I'm free every evening and all weekend, like always!

    I've also run into the problem of not having enough monitor. I regularly have Textmate, Terminal and Chrome open and it's hard to get things sized so I can easily access different windows on a tiny little 15" monitor.

  3. Are you on a mac?

    This might be an obvious tip and if it insults your intelligence I apologize, but I use CMD + Tab on my macbook to easily jump from Terminal, to Textmate, to Browser, to pdf (if I'm following along in a book), etc.

    I know some people prefer the Mac's "spaces" feature, but I just haven't needed it yet.

    If you haven't discovered it already, I use CMD + T to open up new tabs in Textmate. It also automatically opens a search box which is an awesome time saver. I'll use this even if I know the tab is already open because it's just easier.

    Also, the CMD + Alt + left/right arrows moves from one tab to the next.

    I don't know if any of this is relevant on a windows machine.

  4. @Brennan yeah, I'm on a Mac. Don't worry about insulting my intelligence! I've got pretty thick skin. I knew about CMD + tab to jump between running programs, but didn't know about the Textmate shortcuts. (Probably because I wasn't using it correctly)

    I use spaces, but mostly just to contain a separate Terminal window when I'm running a Rails server. I use another space to hold my itunes library, but I'm with you when it comes to spaces and coding. There might be a good way to use it but mostly I like to have everything on the same screen.