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I have always had an interested in learning web design development. Therefore, by the enrolling in this course, I was enthusiastic about learning web application development and becoming a web developer. I was wondering where to start based on my background, given that I had been used the web and I was overwhelmed by all the languages, frameworks and learning resources available. I had to make a clear end goal and keep in mind before the start of the course; learning web application development. I wanted to make a career change and develop an app, I have always had in mind.
Starting the course, required registering on Cloud9 IDE, which is an online integrated development environment. The platform supports various programming languages. For the course, Ruby was the preferred programming language. I did set up Cloud9 IDE which was new to me, but with assistance and research, I successfully managed to set up the account. Learning Ruby, and writing programs that would execute the required practice and spending time on the keyboard, reworking on the given examples.
Coding with Ruby language required understanding some basic programming concepts such as variables, variable types and scope, handling I/O streams, operational symbols and comments. Some of the basic Ruby programming concepts and principles covered during the course include variables, values, programming conversions, handling inputs and output and predefined functions and methods.
For the course, I learnt how to create a professional web application portfolio that displays content and information that I could show to a prospective employer. The web enabled me to remove geographical constraints and pursue more prospects for work in the professional sphere. I believe the goal for the course was to be able to translate various web application portfolios into the professional sphere for me to demonstrate my understanding and skills concerning programming with Ruby and web application development.
I learnt to use object-relational mapping (ORM), to convert data between incompatible type systems using Ruby, and Sinatra. Using the ORM approach creates a virtual object database effect that can be utilized from within programming language. The active record pattern is a method used to access data in a database. The method involves wrapping a database table or view into a class. Once an object has been created, a new row is added to the table after saving. Any object that is loaded gets information from the database. Updating an object in the database updates the corresponding row in the table.
I realized that content and profile customization is vital part and process of any web application’s success. Consequently, the implementation of basic authentication and profile-related structures was rather time consuming. For that reason, pluggable authentication extensions designed to provide all the necessary functionality right out of the box was the most preferred approach during the practice. Installation and configuration of Sinatra-authentication was achieved by the Sinatra-authentication Sinatra extension which we installed using the command; $ gem install Sinatra-authentication. MySQL database was used to store user profile. To interact with the stored data, DataMapper ORM was used. Useful flashing messaging system was used to send a notification to the users regarding various events, for instance, successful login.
In programming, the more one knows about the tools he or she is using the better decisions they can make as a developer. For that reason, it was imperative for me to debug performance issues. Debugging helped me understand what Ruby was executing when running my program. Before the Ruby interpreter could run my program, it would be converted from a standard-programming language into more structured data. The Ruby standard library features a module, Ripper that would allow me to process the Ruby code similar to how a Ruby interpreter processes the code.
During the course I came across several terminologies that were new to me. For instance reflection with respect to programming, refers to the process through which a program observes and modify the structure and behavior at runtime. Thorough the reflection process a program can achieve introspection. When dealing with Ruby programming, introspection accounts for the ability to observe and modify own structure. I conducted some research to gain a theoretical perspective of the term reflection and came to a conclusion that it relates to the fact program instruction are stored as data. The main difference between data and a program code is based on how information is handled. That is programs are capable of handling their own code as data.
Web application development refers to the creation of application programs that are installed and run on remote serves and delivered to the user via the internet. When dealing with web application performance I discovered that the associated programs become more complex and users demand more. Querying the database was as a sensitive action with respect to the performance of the application, hence we had to use Active record and data mappers.
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