Monday, August 8, 2011

Working on personal Rails projects

So I've made some pretty serious progress with Manticore. So far, here's what I've got:

The ability to create a new character, with several attributes includine statistics, hit points, armor information and so on.
The ability to create and destroy items that belong to said character.
The ability to create and destroy special abilities that belong to said character.

Not bad! I feel like I'm making some real progress here. Here's a few screen shots:

When I work on a Rails application (and especially when I work on one for myself) I like to keep a to-do list of features I want to implement. It feels GREAT to have a roadmap when working on any project, and Rails is no exception. Here's what I've got so far:

Add Skills - Every character will need skills, and I haven't started to tackle this yet because I'm not quite sure how to do it. I think simplest would be to make Skill a model with several defining attributes that belongs_to Character, with a has_many relationship. This would allow users to create skills as necessary, and not add Skills they either don't have or don't use. Actually, you know what? I just talked myself into doing it this way. BINGO!

Add Feats - Feats are going to be similar to Special Abilities, and I'm not sure if I want them to be in their own tab in the menu partial or lumped in with Special Abilities. I like the idea of keeping them separate, because some characters won't have Special Abilities, though most (if not all) characters will have Feats. I also don't want that menu partial to get too bulky.

Add Animal Companions / Spells - Here's another thing I want to do. As of right now, my menu partial displays the same things for all Characters (although some of these are just placeholder text) - Character | Items | Skills | Special Abilities | Spells - and it struck me the other day that I shouldn't be displaying these pages if the character doesn't have them yet. After all, a fighter doesn't learn spells or gain an animal companion, so why show them in the menu partial? So once I get some of these other relationships hammered out, I'll be looking for a way to add these, perhaps from the Character's view page, and have pages populate into the menu partial only if they've been created. Eventually I'll want the ability to drag and drop these to organize them by user preference, but let's not get too deep into the styling woods just yet.

And finally, I'll want to clean up the actual code I'm using. @unixmonkey showed me a way to get what I want done, but said it was messy and he was right. Still, it's more valuable to me right now to have code that works and not the most efficient code possible.

Remember when I said I find myself focusing more on my own projects than the tutorials and books I've been using? That still holds true.

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