I finished my first project with the online program and it sure was daunting at first. I recently took almost 3 months off the course and once I came back – BAM! – summarize everything I’ve learned so far in a project. Taking a break during the final stretch of the Object Oriented Ruby section was probably not the best timing, but that last code-free week in Costa Rica was totally worth it.
The goal of this project was to create a very basic CLI interface that pulls (scrapes) information from a website. I used the DC Improv website for my application, and you could interact with it to find out the shows for the upcoming month and find out more information about a particular show. Click here to watch a quick demo of my CLI app. The link to my standup performance at the DC Improv is available upon request. *modest plug*
Here are some things I learned when it comes to tackling larger labs like this:
1. I definitely did not need to spend 2 weeks on this.
2. Stop procrastinating and stop being a perfectionist. I’m still a total n00b, so why does my CLI app need to be perfect?
3. Do some test scrapes first! Make sure what you want to do will actually work. I basically ended up almost having 2 different projects because I had to start again from scratch. This was because I didn’t test my first website, Opentable.com, to see if individual restaurant pages could be scraped. They couldn’t be, at least without using complicated code that wasn’t necessary and too time consuming for this project.
4. Review and really understand the code you are trying to write, especially if you have examples to work off of. A lot of time was wasted going back and forth and making mistakes because I didn’t take a second to comprehend what exactly certain lines of code were meant to do. Ask what does this method achieve and what other classes does it interact with?
[Now for some more positive learning experiences…]
5. Scraping is fun! And so is creating your own project. I really ended up having fun with this once I got going. It was so satisfying to have your code work, and even seeing errors weren’t terrible because I usually knew what was wrong and how to fix them. So they weren’t a big, glaring red bummer, more like an encouraging “You’re almost there!”
6. I actually kind of know how to code. I just, like, created something that, like… works.
Until the next project! Hopefully I’ve learned my lessons.