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Category Archive: Tech

RubyMine – An Integrated Development Environment by JetBrains

June 26th, 2013 Alina Guzman Tech, Web Development 1 Comment

Right before I started the WDI course, I found an IDE for Ruby that people often rave about, and decided to install it.

An IDE (integrated development environment) is a software program that helps developers build software. IDE’s usually include a text source code editor with syntax highlighting, a compiler that takes the source code into a program that executes it and/or an interpreter that runs programs that don’t need to be compiled, as well as a debugger that helps the programmer run through their code and find problem areas. That was a mouth full. In short- IDE’s offer a lot of tools that make your life easier (if your life is all about building web applications!)

What’s the alternative? Well, in our class for example, we write everything using Sublime – a text editor, and run everything through the command line. Sublime IS awesome and is loaded with all sorts of shortcuts that make writing code a pleasure. And the command line works and you can probably do things much faster than you would with a GUI if you’re fast enough. What I do instead…is use RubyMine.

RubyMine is an IDE by JetBrains, which also makes a ton of other software products for almost any language. The more I work with RubyMine, and the further I go into the course, I really see the advantage it gives.

 

Features and benefits of RubyMine

  • The code editor saves a ton of time and auto-completes every code ending. In comparison to Sublime’s TAB key auto-complete, I found the IDE’s version to be much swifter and more accurate.
  • Helps with testing by providing RSpec help (we only briefly touched upon this topic in class so I was happy to see that it is also a feature of the IDE).
  • Works with the Rails framework latest versions
  • Automatically bundle installs anything you specified in Gemfiles
  • Debugs your code in a super easy-to-use interface
  • Works with lots of VCS! Most importantly – Git! Every time I add a local repository through the command line, it adds a root and automatically adds any file changes to tracking! << I’m crazy about this one.
  • And many more that I’m sure I still have no idea about.

 

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The lonely PC

June 24th, 2013 Alina Guzman Tech, Web Development 1 Comment

I’m into Week 2 of Web Development Immersive! Most of what we covered was a review of the pre-course so it wasn’t as challenging as I know it will be in the weeks to come.

We covered the fundamental building blocks of Ruby- data types, arrays, hashes, methods, loops, iterations, and classes. Using just these essentials, we built a functioning stock and portfolio manager. I imagine it is important to master these basics as much as possible in order to be able to call on them without trouble once the course progresses and our applications become more complex. Throughout our work with Ruby, we also use the version control system, Git, and a hosting platform, Github, to be able to collaborate with others and open source our code. Git basically runs entirely from the command line. It’s quite fun to work from the CLI- makes things like creating files and directories must faster.

During orientation, I found out I was the only non-Mac user in the class! It was hard for me to imagine that Windows is so irrelevant in the Ruby community. I have long been aware of the stigma against Windows in the design world…but the development world too? As a graphic designer, I worked mainly on huge iMacs both at work and in my college’s design lab. I’m completely comfortable using Macs and have long passed the stage of googling ‘how to copy and paste on a mac’. Regardless, I still prefer using Windows as my main working computer OS. Running graphic design programs on Windows is no different than running them on Macs, so I must disagree when people try to make claims that graphic designers shouldn’t use it.

I say use what you want. If you want a PC- make sure it has killer specs and you’re fine.

Now that I’ve dipped into Ruby and had my fair share of work on the command line, I definitely see the value of the Linux inspired terminal on Mac OSX. Installing programs is as easy as typing out a line and hitting enter (once you download homebrew, that is). Need to create a ruby file and launch a text editor? Type it in the bash terminal. It’s not that I can’t find workarounds with Windows (because I can and have), it’s just a hassle following along a class that is instructed with Mac commands, tips and shortcuts. Because of that, the instructional team recommended on Day 1 that I partition or virtual machine a version of Linux onto my PC.

My father and I spent the next few days battling my machine trying to accomplish just that. The amount of errors we came across would discourage most. Eventually, we got a working copy of Ubuntu onto VirtualBox, but it was so far from optimal! It took anywhere from 30-60 seconds just to open up the terminal. I found a tutorial that changes the driver used in the new version to something faster (and not 3D). That did improve the copy a bit, but it was still far from the speed the computer should have.

We then installed a version of Mint, which is a lightweight version of Linux. While Mint was quite fast, it displayed a video driver error on the home screen at all times that I couldn’t figure out how to remove. Installing from the terminal was also more of a hassle than with Ubuntu because of how light it was.

Ultimately, I decided to keep Ubuntu and just deal with the slowness for when I need to use Linux (deploying my app to the servers, for example). Until that time, I’m sticking with Windows. That unfortunately means I have to listen to my instructional team lecturing in Mac terms. I try to write down what definitely doesn’t work with Windows and what I will need to use once I work on Linux. Some things I have to quickly figure out how to do on the Windows CLI – just like make a new file with ‘new-item’ as opposed to the Mac/Linux ‘touch’ command.

Next, I’ll write about my experience using RubyMine – an integrated development environment that, in my humble opinion, boosts coding productivity far more than anything else I’ve tried! Having my IDE completely obliterates any disadvantages I might have with Windows.

 

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Journey of a Web Development Student

June 19th, 2013 Alina Guzman Tech, Web Development 1 Comment

The last few months were among the most important and eventful of my life. I graduated college, went on my first vacation abroad (sans family), and made the life altering decision to pursue my dream of becoming a web developer.

I hadn’t heard of the recently popular Web Development Boot Camp courses before my father mentioned a friend of his colleagues’ had enrolled into one.  I had, however, always been interested in the web. My father taught me HTML as a junior high schooler and I was hooked. I got this domain a couple of years ago as an outlet to express my various interests, display my portfolio, and play around with web design to my hearts content.

When the possibility of enrolling in a #webdev course started becoming a reality, I jumped at it. I applied and was accepted into General Assembly’s NYC Web Development Immersive course. I completed roughly 50 hours (if not more) of pre-course work that dove into the fundamentals of Ruby, the object-oriented programming language we would cover. The pre-work consisted of various tutorials and resources available from amazing websites like Codecademy and Codeschool. It was incredibly difficult to follow, and I was so grateful that I had my father, a seasoned developer and Technical Architect to explain every last concept to me repeatedly. While these free tutorials online are an amazing resource, they are far from ideal.

And so begins my 3 month, 9-5:30am every weekday dive into the amazing world of Ruby. Follow along as I learn to build web apps from scratch.

 

Til the days of templates are long gone, I strive!

 

 

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Adobe Photoshop Tutorials

June 26th, 2012 Alina Guzman Graphic Design, Tech No comments

I have recently began an extensive researching process to pick out the ultimate portable graphic design laptop. I’ve been debating Mac vs PC for quite some time. While I’ve always been a PC girl, I can definitely see Mac’s advantage for the design world. Whenever I ask anyone, Mac is the most obvious answer they give. But I know a PC computer can be just as great, you just have to find the right build! Or at least tweak it yourself.

I’m leaning towards the new 15″ Samsung Series 9 Ultrabook. It has strong specs and is ridiculously light (about 3 pounds). One of the main programs I’ll be running on it is, of course, Photoshop. Right now I’m using it on an ASUS EEE PC Netbook. Yes, its about as frustrating as you are imagining. It’s no wonder I’m going all out to ensure my next laptop will run all my Adobe Creative Suite programs smoothly.

In light of the enticement of a new laptop, I happily stumbled upon something awesome. I just discovered an amazing (and free) resource for Adobe Photoshop CS5: An Idiots Guide to Photoshop. This 4 part tutorial was written by Azamat “Bohed” E. from TrueKolor.net for the blog MakeUseOf.com. The tutorials range from the complete basics like how to create a document, to the more advanced effects like creating animations. You can download them in either PDF or E-Pub format (for nook, kindle, ipad). I got both versions for my laptop, tablet, and phone (you can never be too prepared).

Here are the links to the tutorials from Makeuseof.com [all of these have 2 versions but you have to take some steps to download them- you can quickly share them on Google+, Twitter, or Facebook and receive the link to download the Epubs]

Here are the links to the tutorials from TrueKolor.net [some of these are PDF only- you can download them by right clicking Save As]

 

Don’t hesitate to ask if you have any questions about the downloading process.

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Lightbox discontinued

June 15th, 2012 Alina Guzman Tech No comments

Sadly, Lightbox was discontinued today. Last month, Facebook announced that it was buying out the social Android-only photo sharing application. Existing users like myself were given the option to download all our photos before the site shut down. Thankfully Instagram opened up to the Android population but its still sad to see this app go. Hopefully now the Lightbox team can bring some much needed help to Facebook’s mobile apps; they are ridiculously laggy!

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Android never disappoints

December 20th, 2011 Alina Guzman Photography, Tech 1 Comment

For years now I have been inwardly debating the age old question….Android or Iphone? Well, I’ve had Android from the start. 5 phones later and I’m still here. I have always been a supporter; even my tablet now is an Android! But I keep hearing from the peanut gallery that Iphone is better. Is it really? In terms of tablets, Android wins hands down. My father recently got an Ipad and we have been shamelessly comparing. Theres no file manager, ’nuff said! But in terms of phones? Android wins over customization obviously. But Iphone is really user friendly and is weirdly hip for some reason. Apps like instagr.am probably do it.

My bestie Hikalu has a sick instagram photo collection. I’ve been salivating over it for months and FINALLY have downloaded an Android app that allows me to register with instagram and follow her account. I can’t post any photos but this is a big step in the right direction! Oh yes, in case you all were wondering instagram is an Iphone only application. Developing one for android is apparently in the talks but nothing is happening yet.

Just as I was beginning to doubt Android (well..not really), one of my friends mentions a relatively new app to me; Lightbox. He’s an avid Android supporter, just like I am, so he knew I would appreciate. Lightbox is a social photo sharing app that just debuted an automatic Tumblr-like journal. All you have to do is snap or import a photo, filter it if you’d like, and Lightbox takes care of the rest. It automatically creates a Tumblr-like timeline account for you; here’s mine!; that lets anyone see your photos (if you’ve made them public of course). One of Instagrams major downfalls, in my opinion, is the lock down it holds over people’s accounts. A non Iphone user cannot view a person’s account; on phone or off. Only third party applications make that possible, like the one I just downloaded- Instaroid.

Lightbox is the first Android competitor to the instagram app I’ve taken seriously and I’m sensing it’ll only get more popular with time. There you have it. Just when I was starting to think maybe Android does fall short on some things, I get pleasantly surprised. How can I doubt the software when these genius developers keep coming up with more goodies?

- – - From my Lightbox

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