Makers Academy Review – Week 9 – Learning Rails

I am coming towards the end of my Makers Academy experience and therefore no doubt this will be one of the last Makers Academy Review articles I shall write. I hope that the weekly reviews have been helpful for people who are considering joining Makers Academy.


This week packed in so many things, Websockets, Devise, CoffeeScript, SASS, HAML and AWS. We used so many things with Rails that it is kind of hard to keep up. Websockets was by far the coolest, it is basically AJAX but it keeps an open connection with the app so that it can push information instantly as and when it is necessary. Devise took a lot of hassle out of the user authentication process and learning to use Facebook API to enable Facebook login is hugely beneficial. There is so many things you can do when you harness the power of both Devise and OmniAuth with regards to 3rd party APIs, you can quite easily setup a user to authenticate themselves via every social network under the sun.

In love with HAML

I have something of a love affair with HAML, it makes the previously disgusting syntax of HTML/ERB look so neat and beautiful, on top of that, it makes perfect sense, the indentation makes it clear what belongs where. Having said that, I haven’t yet fallen in love with SASS or SCSS, if I were to like either it would be SASS simply because the HAML indentation is brought over to it. I haven’t really had a big need to use SASS for my projects yet and this is certainly an area in which I don’t feel comfortable. AWS is very useful and reasonably easy to set up for storing all types of media.

All in all I am really starting to enjoy the whole experience and Rails I think is really where I have seen the most growth in knowledge and where I have found something I actually want to learn because it is obviously a very powerful tool! Guess what the next Makers Academy Review will be about!? Ruby on Rails! The variety is the spice of life!

Makers Academy Review – Week 8 – Ruby on Rails

It is time for another Makers Academy Review, this week about the first week of Rails and about the upcoming launch of Makers Academy Atlas! Things have really started to get interesting now, rails is a whole new world of coding, a very powerful framework designed for building complex and powerful web applications. It is great to get my teeth stuck into something I can really use the knowledge I have gained over the last 8 weeks. It will be great to embrace the power that rails brings and develop more complex web applications. I worked a bit with rails when I went on a Hackathon weekend and found it quite daunting but fascinating all at the same time, then I was able to install the Stripe API to the app. I think that says more about the ease with which Stripe lets you deal with payments and not about my Rails ability at the time.

The teaching this week mainly consisted of doing the Rails Tutorial on the Rails website. I highly recommend this one to start with, it is about building a basic Blogging app. It is boring but informative. If you fancy something a little bit more fun with a few videos thrown in check out Rails for Zombies. Anyway yes, I don’t think the approach of sticking us in front of a tutorial anyone can do online is necessarily bad, the main value is added by the expert tuition of Alex and the other support staff.

Makers Academy Atlas

I am hearing great things about the up and coming Makers Academy Online moving the curriculum over to the internet and away from the Hackpad system that is currently used could be a really good idea and it would open up learning to people all around the world. I think Makers Academy Atlas could be a very big success but they are going up against the giants of General Assembly and DevBootcamp etc and that could prove tough. We shall see I guess.

Makers Academy Review – Week 6 – Bookmark Manager

In another installment of my ongoing, blog by blow Makers Academy Review I shall be coding a fully fuctional bookmark manager. Well kind of. More from copied and pasted code from the Hackpad (a resource that holds lots of the Makers Academy curriculum). This is my least favourite method of learning. I get thoroughly bored and want to distract myself in every possible way. I also feel like I am not learning anything, if I could learn well by reading I wouldn’t be at Makers Academy. I would be sat at home in my underpants reading every Ruby, Ruby on Rails and Rspec/Cucumber book under the sun. Unfortunately, I have to pay top dollar because I don’t have the will and determination to do that. Likely due to me being a lazy B and more seriously not absorbing books at all, which is part of the reason as to why I find every possible way to do resort to reading a book, which is easy in the technological era.

Anyway I didn’t manage to finish the bookmark manager by friday due to this sheer boredom so I had to pull the example one for the Friday Test and the next weeks work (working with Javascript, which as you will read was a more pleasant experience.

Makers Academy Review – Week 5 – Sudoku Pro!

Sudoku Puzzle!

Week 5 is over and it is time to carry on with the Makers Academy Review and I have to say I feel very disappointed in myself. I have done/learnt nowhere near enough this week. This has a lot to do with my lack of attention to the task at hand. I underestimated the amount of material it was necessary for me to cover and I am behind.

The main topic we are covering here is really Sinatra, this is Enrique’s favourite framework, although I am not sure you can call it much of a framework, it doesn’t really do anything! That is probably my ignorance of the topic which I am sure he will dispel me of next week!

One thing I did learn this week: I am awful at Sudoku!

Makers Academy – Battleship & Sudoku – Week 4

This week at Makers Academy was the best I have had yet and I have more to add to my review of Makers Academy. To start the week off we split into teams and tried our hands at building a programme that would be able to play battleship with a server that had been set up. We managed to get ours to work after a lot of changes. It was an amazing experience and I definitely learnt a lot doing it. It was nice to visualise what we have all been working so hard on these past few weeks and to see how far we have come.

Later on in the week I paired with Darrell, who appears to study a great deal and is certainly ahead of me when it comes to his Ruby knowledge. I gained a good deal of insight and knowledge from him and I was shocked at how much he had picked up over the last 4 weeks.

Next week if turning that Sudoku into a web app, that should be interesting. Overall this week was fantastic and I look forward to learning more and carrying on with my Makers Academy Review