What I’ve been up to

Nothing new to add to the portfolio right now, so I’ve been continuing to study up on AngularJS 1.3 and improving my employee directory app, mostly through code optimizations — I’ve still got a lot to learn.

I bought an e-book version of ng-book by Ari Lerner recently, and have been working my way through it. I have an unusual approach to learning a new language or framework, I think — first I learn what it is, then I study the tutorial, then I study the documentation and try to build something, and then (if I still need it) I buy a good book to help me out.

When I was first learning jQuery, that book was O’Reilly’s jQuery Cookbook by Cody Lindey (et.al.) — it didn’t try to teach me jQuery from scratch, but approached it in a “here’s a problem, here’s how to solve it” way that I personally prefer. (It might be worth mentioning that I was never a good classroom learner in school. In my opinion, the best thing about a good instructional book is that you can learn from it at your own pace.)

ng-book doesn’t use the cookbook approach, but it does walk through AngularJS in a much clearer manner than the documentation does. So far, almost every chapter has taught me something new that I’ve implemented in my existing code. If you were to ask me the best way to learn AngularJS from the beginning, I’d suggest the official tutorial followed by ng-book, and use the documentation to fill in the technical gaps as you implement what you learn.

new Angular app: employee directory

All programming is a learning experience. Case in point: I recently spent about three weeks working independently on updating an insurance client’s web app from PHP to AngularJS, only to be told after that time that the client wasn’t interested in using AngularJS. At all.

Frustrating, to be sure, but it turned out those three weeks of work were excellent practice in using this new-to-me framework. When I saw an opportunity to use it on a different, internal project, I was able to dive right in and get it done in three days.

impact directory mobile app

Continue reading new Angular app: employee directory

Rebuilt site: Pascal pour Elle

Pascal pour Elle

One of the first sites I built when joining my current employer about three years ago was Pascal pour Elle, a salon whose website needed a makeover and HTML5 update. Recently, the client wanted a full makeover, so I got back to work. The new and improved site rolled out last Friday. Continue reading Rebuilt site: Pascal pour Elle

Achievement unlocked: first AngularJS app

I finished my first AngularJS app today, after a couple of weeks of tinkering and re-reading the docs.

It took a little while to un-learn everything jQuery has taught me about DOM manipulation, but Angular’s two-way data binding is absolutely the way you want to go if you’re designing anything like a real web app.

Sadly, I can’t (well, shouldn’t) link to it here, since it’s for a client’s internal use only. Hopefully I’ll have something I can post about before long. (Update: now I do!)

Some good links if you’re a jQuery developer learning AngularJS for the first time: Continue reading Achievement unlocked: first AngularJS app

Back to school: AngularJS

Yesterday I took another look at AngularJS and was a lot less intimidated this time. Today it’s time to get my hands dirty.

Well, that’s not exactly true. It’s more like, I didn’t have a lot of use for it at the time. But now, I’ve got a (small, non-public) project at work that I built using MVC principles, jQuery and some class-driven HTML templates, and rewriting the whole thing in AngularJS would be completely natural.

Online tutorials and documentation are all well and good, but it’s much easier to learn something new if you already have a project you want to use it on.

Back to school

Just because you’re a big grown-up professional, doesn’t mean you don’t need to take yourself back to school to learn something new every year.

As new projects come in at work and a new server becomes available to tinker with, I’ll be adding a few new tools to my skill set in the coming months:

Thank goodness the textbooks are all online and free.