pett.io for the soul

Despite what I posted last night, I am really bleeping proud of myself. Every bit of code I write that works immediately or works three days after I got suck, is a bit I feel good about. If you detect some dissonance here compared to what I’ve previously written, perhaps there is, but there is plenty of room for both immense self-doubt and exuberant confidence to co-exist. Exuberant confidence? There are moments, and I’ll live-blog it right now, that think, even if no one else does, that it is remarkable that I have an app, which I could use to:

Upon seeing the following page in Flickr…

Within 60 seconds…

2. Create a pett.io account

3. Add the pet’s name

4. Add the user’s Flickr accont

5. Add the tag the user uses to tag their pet

6. Click View Page and

I’m not finished yet by a long shot. But I can do this…look at the kitty!

The final yard sprint

[Wednesday, early AM] Trying to write about my Iron Yard final project at 2:42am from bed using Android voice recognition for the bulk of my transcription of thoughts is not a recipe for a sterling blog post. But I lack the time to write something adequate.

No matter how much I do it’s never going to be enough. There is so much work that is needed to make this a legitimate website. This work could go on forever, and I kind of hope it does, but I have only had 3 weeks, and I only have a week to go.

Most of my classmates are in larger groups. I’m doing this by myself because I wanted this project to demonstrate all the potential that I have, whatever that might be, whatever I could possibly get done with regard to styling and HTML and Javascript and the Backbone framework and the Parse database back end.

But I know no matter how hard I work–I could work 24 hours a day–the design is going to fall short because I don’t know enough about awesome design and don’t have time to implement an awesome design. Integrating with api’s is going to fall short because there’s simply no time to do awesome things with them. The amount of information stored in the database is going to be limited simply because there isn’t time to build out an extensive data model. The CSS isn’t going to be extraordinary because I just don’t have the experience to make it as elegant as I would like.

I should define a scope of what to deliver at a minimum, and, I have, to a degree. However, it’s really difficult because I want this to be a fully functioning app. I don’t want this to be merely a demonstration where I can fake half of it, but rather a demonstration of something very real and functional that was created from nothing.

I am feeling enormous pressure to deliver something that is a fully functioning, particularly because the large groups will be delivering essentially complete web sites that are going to be functional in the real world. I put all of this pressure on myself because I simply don’t know what’s enough, at what point is it okay to say I will work on making this better later and that it does not have to do everything right now.

I know that no matter what I get done, it may not be apparent just how much effort I put into this. But no matter how much work I put into it, if you compare it to an established website by a very experienced developer it’s going to pale in comparison.

[Saturday, early AM] And my thoughts have pretty much been ditto early Thursday morning, early Friday morning, and right now.

I have been told the past few days to focus on design, which has just amped up the pressure, because, frankly, I didn’t spent nine weeks in the program to learn how to be a better designer. I always value good design, I cringe at bad design, and I feel pained when my own design is inadequate. But I came to the program to code–to learn everything I could about building front end applications with Javascript, and I wish that could be the focus of this final project. Instead, I find myself spending time on making buttons looks better. Why?

Because, next Friday, I have five minutes to present three weeks of work, which attempts to encapsulate nine weeks of work, which builds off a couple of decades of other related experience.

You could tell me to stop putting so much pressure on myself, but the audience for this five minute presentation is a group of local employers who are looking to hire developers. And I don’t expect to be employed by next Friday, so presenting my best self is advisable.

Dogwoome!

There’s no time to blog. And I’m self-censoring. I’d be a lot more blunt and prolific in describing my state of mind as I press forward with my career re-invention if I were still blogging under a pseudonym. I think my last couple of posts have hinted at a strong undercurrent of frustration. (I could go a read them, but it’s never a good idea to read old blog posts, even if they’re only a few days old, let alone a few years old.) I’ll hold off on making another such post now, because I have been meaning to post a link to my game.

Yes, it’s a game called Dogwoome! Dogs must woo potential adopters through a series of licks, cuddles, and barks. That’s it. Most people will see a silly game that does very little. People I know probably assumed I could have done something like this, already. Nope. I haven’t coded anything resembling a game since college. And this was fun. Although, in a fashion true to myself, when I was turning in this homework at the end of last weekend, I was obsessed with what it doesn’t do. I wanted there to be complex algorithms. I wanted it to be multi-player with multiple targets. I wanted my code to be clean. But we only had so many days to work on this. There were some technical requirements that had to be met. I write about this in the past tense as if I’ll never touch another line of code on it. I don’t know if I’ll touch it again. In this class, we’re always charging ahead. We should clean up some of our old projects and be proud enough of them to keep them in our public github repositories for all to see forever. But I don’t know.

was proud of this when I submitted it. But, again (recurring theme alert!), I am constantly overwhelmed by what I do not know how to do, and I can’t help but look at something like this and see how amateurish it is rather than what I was able to put together in a few days having never built anything like this before.

I do not sell myself well, do I? Nor do I hold firm to proclamations that my blog post isn’t going to be “another such” self-critical/defensive/frustration-laden post. (Why couldn’t I just have made this a post about Dogwoome!?)

Enjoy Dogwoome!

Bad metaphor for coding

Working on a challenging project for class this weekend. Thinking that the same dopamine surges that accompany addictions are occurring with intense coding sessions. (I’m no expert on this, even though I want to feel well-read on the topic. I don’t have the time to do research.) The similarity in coding is that, when things are going badly, as they often are, I am less likely to step away and more likely to “double-down” and work more furiously, often digging myself deeper. It’s horrible, and yet, it’s absolutely worth it when that “big win” finally comes in terms of an “aha” moment. Like with gambling, I feel like the aha moment cancels out the preceding lengthy drain, even if the losses (in time, in the coding case) are too massive to recover from. The rush of the aha moment is sufficient to keep me going. 

The difference between coding and gambling (yes, “the” difference in the oh-so-elaborate metaphor I have constructed) is that you’ll never come out ahead in gambling, over the long haul. In coding, the more experience you have, the quicker the aha moments come, and you do come out ahead. And, there are occasionally people who can help you keep in the odds in your favor. (The problem I figured out ten minutes ago, I did so all on my own…thanks for nothing, Stack Overflow…but I know I’d have some support if I needed it.)

Back to work…

(As for that photo, all I can say is that I took it in Vegas years ago. It has little to do with the metaphor, but I was amused to have rediscovered it.)