Caitlin Palmer-Bright

Aspiring Full Stack Developer

More than just coding…

I’ve just come to the end of my first week as a software development intern, and it’s been even better than I expected. The whole team has been so supportive, I’ve been able to work on tickets that are challenging but not impossible and I’ve had multiple people checking in throughout each day to make sure I wasn’t stuck or getting too frustrated. I can’t imagine a better first week, though I could have done without my computer throwing hissy fits every few hours and having to reinstall things over and over again. Ah well!

I found a lot of the skills that were most useful this week weren’t directly coding skills, but they were closely related.  I thought I’d put together a list of the things I feel have been really helpful in making things run smoothly this week.… Read more...

2RK Work Experience Recap

So in case you haven’t read any of my other posts on the topic, I’ve spent the last two months completing a work experience program with a Brisbane-based software development company Two Red Kites. I started the program not having any idea what to expect, and being really worried I didn’t know enough, but all my worries were completely unfounded. It has been the most supportive, challenging and motivating learning experience I can remember.  I thought I’d share some of my favourite aspects – coding related  and otherwise – of this recent chapter of my coding journey.

Starting with the Basics

Rails is an absolutely wonderful framework, and it does so much for you – as if by magic! The problem with this is it makes it much harder for beginners to understand what’s going on, and then to be able to change or fix things themselves.… Read more...

2RK Week 7/8

It’s been a while since I posted about work experience since we’ve had a few gaps, but we’ve definitely learnt a lot in this time!

The last two weeks were actually quite spread out, with public holidays and Rails Camp getting in the way a bit, but they were probably the best weeks so far. Week seven saw Sarah, Lilly and myself working a lot more independently on our final app – we had a basic set of guidelines to work within but were able to work on our own to figure out exactly how to implement what we wanted to achieve. I’ve heard it said several times now that if you can look back at code you wrote six months ago and not find something you’d improve, then you haven’t been learning.… Read more...

Git without the jargon – Part 2

Welcome back! If you missed part 1 of this tutorial feel free to check it out here.  We’ve covered the basics of creating a Git repo and pushing it to GitHub, and now we’re going to look into branching.

Branching is super helpful when multiple people are working on the same project, but can be great for individuals who want to work on different aspects or features without getting them mixed up. To picture how branching works, imagine you were working on a group assignment (ugh, I know) . You make a start, and send a copy to your partner. Their copy is like a separate git ‘branch’. It’s from the same project, but not the same exact version. If you continue to make changes and they add in some changes, you’re going to end up with two versions of the same project.… Read more...

Git without the jargon – Part 1

So one of the things that you hear a lot when learning to code is that you absolutely, positively, without-a-doubt need to be using version control, or more specifically, you need to be using Git.

There are some great tutorials around for learning how to use Git, but it’s hard to make sense of them until you’ve used it in a real scenario – so this tutorial will be talking through how and when to use the different git commands and will try to eliminate the jargon wherever possible!

For this tutorial I’ll be showing you how to get your work onto GitHub, but the process is almost identical for other sites such as GitLab and BitBucket.

The GitHub Octocat

So What Is This Version Control Thing Anyway?


100 Days of Code

So for the last few months I’ve been taking part in the #100daysofcode challenge, which I first heard about here on the CodeNewbie podcast.

The idea of the challenge is to make coding a habit by doing at least an hour per day for 100 days. It seemed like the perfect thing for me. At the start of the challenge I’d been back from a 6 week holiday for about 3 weeks, but hadn’t really got back into the rhythm of things with coding. I was mildly panicking, since I only had 2 weeks left in my job before I left to start studying IT full time and I kept on thinking ‘What if I don’t love it anymore? What if it’s not for me? ‘

So I decided to give it a go, and – spoiler alert – I made it!… Read more...

2RK – Week 5/6

Week 5 was a short one thanks to holidays,  but we made the most of it by finally getting started with Ruby on Rails! Even though we had a really solid base in Ruby and Sinatra this was still a bit of a challenge, adding controllers to the MVC mix.  If I’m honest, I was loving just working in pure Ruby,  but the step up to Rails has been amazing – equal parts frustration and satisfaction (though the ‘frustration’ parts seem to take a lot longer!). I feel like I’m getting better and better at solving problems and finding the cause of errors.

We started off by looking at creating models, and learnt about has_many, belongs_to, has_many through and lots of other associations. We made sure our data had everything we wanted it to by adding validations to our models, and learnt how to add and remove fields with migrations.… Read more...

Sinatra Basics Tutorial Part 1 – Getting Your Ruby on the Web

Hi, my name is Caitlin and I love Ruby. It’s simple, it’s eloquent, it actually seems to be able to do everything I want it to do. But if, like me, you started your coding journey with front-end HTML, CSS and JavaScript, you might be frustrated with the fact that all your wonderful Ruby code, your classes and methods and RSPEC tests, all seems to be stuck firmly in the back end. As much as I love opening up my terminal, or running my debugger in RubyMine, I was a bit stumped as to how to connect my code with a front end so that I could share it with people.

Then came Sinatra – and ol’ Blue Eyes certainly sings a beautiful song.… Read more...

2RK – Week 4

Since last week was a bit disrupted, I was even more excited than usual to come back to work experience this week – and I was not disappointed! Our first day this week we started looking at the Sinatra framework for Ruby. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s a bit like Rails but a much lighter version. It has less scaffolding, which means you get a bit more control yourself, and there’s a bit more clarity with what it’s doing, rather than it all being done as if by magic, which can sometimes happen with Rails.

We built two apps in one day – both were number guessing games. In the first (‘NewYork’, after the famous Sinatra song) , we had our app generate a random number, we made a guess as to what it was, and then it responded if our guess was too high, too low or if we’d got it!… Read more...

2RK – Week 3

Week three of work experience with 2RK is over, and while it was a bit ‘all-over-the-place’ i was still a lot of fun.

Our Monday went more or less as usual, and started with a code review of our ‘homework’. Sarah, Lilly and I had all approached our task (to rewrite our FizzBuzz program from our first day but using classes and OOP) in very different ways. While what I had done wasn’t bad coding, it turned out it was very different from what Nigel had in mind. It was a valuable lesson in how important it is to clarify expectations with your ‘client’ – as I had to redo it entirely!!! 😛

We then spent some time working through some ways of cleaning up our code by using a range of different iterators (such as select, inject and map), and learning some alternatives to standard conditionals – including ternary operators and case statements.… Read more...

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