App Academy Diary, Week Eight

Tuesday 5 Novembmer 2013— Yesterday was our last pair-programming project; I worked with Ben Watts on a little chat server in Node using WebSockets. I felt like perhaps there was something regrettable about shoving so much functionality into a big callback, but maybe that's just the nature of JavaScript, and not really regrettable at all? On Sunday I started my RSS-aggregator capstone project, now called Superscription.

superscription_entity-relationship-diagramThursday 7 Novembmer 2013— I guess Superscription is going okay. Here's how it works. You can sign up and sign in and stuff. (I used Devise for this rather than rolling my own.) There are forms for adding a category or a subscription URL. When you add a URL, stuff happens which depends on stuff. More specifically, if you enter a URL which the system has never seen before, then a new Subscription model (which accepts_nested_attributes_for an associated UserSubscription join model) is created, and it requests the feed from the URL you supplied and tries to parse the XML using Nokogiri. If that doesn't work, it suggests that maybe you got the URL wrong, but if it does work, then it makes a bunch of Entry objects for all the stories in the feed, saves everything, and redirects you to your subscription index page. But if the system has already seen your URL before (presumably from another user with similar reading tastes), then it doesn't wastefully fetch all that data again: it just makes a new UserSubscription that points to you and your Category and the Subscription that it already has. It's efficient! Then when you click the "Read!" button (which is non-hideously positioned thanks to nearly an hour of fighting the CSS), all your news is organized by category under Bootstrap tabs. And on the subscription index page, when you click the little trash can next to a subscription, then it does the cool jQuery fade-out thing and sends an Ajax request telling the server to destroy that UserSubscription.

superscription_early_demoSunday 10 Novembmer 2013— You know, I don't think I'm happy with Superscription's current state. As currently written, it's fetching feeds inside of the request-response cycle, which is just awful on a technical level even if I seem to have gotten away with it so far. I'll want to do some serious rework this week (next week?—I suppose these entries have been following the Monday-indexed convention) so that the fetch happens as a background job (even though that will cost money to host on Heroku, which only offers one free web dyno). And it could do with a lot more JavaScripty features on the frontend, and I need to read the Bootstrap documentation more carefully.

I made some improvements to Wires today. I got logout working, introduced redirection after logging in or out, and added a favicon! Yet I still don't have associations working, due to unforeseen scoping issues.

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