Long Absence

August 10, 2016

Seems that I have bitten off a bit more than I could chew of late and my writing on this bloggo 4 doggos has fallen behind a bit. I saw my Google Analytics drop from 10 visitors a day to 3, a terrible turn of events. So much for that dream of passive income through terrible blogging. And yes I am sorry, faithful reader(s). In the spirit of the Rio Olympics, I will Go for Gold™ from here on out.


I have been quite busy working on a fun project for GameTree. Up until about 3 weeks ago, my work was largely on the front-end, though that distinction is less and less meaningful with JS frameworks. The stack is Meteor with CoffeeScript for the JavaScript and Jade for the HTML templates, which means I was learning a new framework, a new, terse version of JS, wrestling with Mongo for the database, and getting comfortable with Jade. I was used to HAML so Jade was not so scary.

Working on the front end for Meteor was fun and, once I got the hang of helpers and templating, I liked it quite a bit. You could do a lot with a little code, and there wasn't a lot of overhead checking for nil? or present? which is a lot of my Rails day-to-day frustration. For getting something quickly up an running, I would argue that when you get the hang of the file structure and the basics, it would be hard to be faster than Meteor. I suppose with scaffolding Rails is pretty damn fast but if the app requires reactivity well then you are in a whole other hell of hooking React or Angular up. I tried that and failed, and am due to try again once I come up for air with GameTree and Bloc.

Oh but Mongo. You are such a touchy bastard. Years spent learning SQL and MySQL and Postgres, learning about Joins and one-to-whatever relationships, and then here I am writing data to JSON. Nothing checking me, no need to define your database ahead of time (though you certainly might want to opt for using Simple Schema so you can set default values and validate incoming data). I can add new fields willy nilly, after I finally figured out how to do that. It took me two days to figure out how to increment properly, of course there is a special $incoperator. It was a humbling learning curve.

There is nothing wrong with Mongo. What Mongo represents is a real break from all the other databases I have used. I rolled my eyes at Mongo's document instead of row, collection instead of table and conclude: it is necessary. For Mongo is of this document-based database revolution and the names should be different to mark Mongo as apart from a traditional relational database.

Notes on HAML and Jade

I know there is a lot of debate on whether these actually help anyone or if the various time-consuming search engine lookups and learning curve surrounding edge cases with HTML preprocessors eats up the savings from abandoning closing tags. I don't have strong opinions on the bulk of programming debates, since I don't trust my own instincts quite yet, and could easily confuse learning curve for steady state ease of use issues. However, I have been writing HTML forever, and after having gone solo in throwing together a Rails site for a friend over the course of the last few months in my scant spare time, I can say with confidence that I hate closing tags and will be installing HAML as soon as I refactor that Rails site for the upcoming 2.1 release for said friend.