Using Trello to Track Learning


Chris Johnson, one of my favorite programming bloggers posted his Trello board for ASP.NET MVC Mastery. I saved the board as it is public but I forgot I had it. I just recently looked at it and whoa. A great idea, indeed.

So I copied the board minus the cards and started work on my own board. It is called Full-Stack JavaScript Mastery. I copied all the lists and edited them to work more along the lines of what I need to do.

Descriptions of Lists

  • Information
    • This has the cards:
      • Purpose- The purpose of the board
      • Who Am I- A brief introduction to who I am and what I need to do with the board
      • Where Am I- Lists all my social and blog links
  • Resources
    • The cards here are
      • Free Code Camp and its link
      • Treehouse Front-end Development track and its link
      • Treehouse Full-stack JavaScript and its link
      • JavaScript Understanding the Weird Parts and its link
  • Skills Needed
    • Lists all the skills I need to be a full-stack JavaScript developer with some extraneous skills and helper skills mixed in.
  • The Road Map
    • Has one card that will be updated when I figure out the plan to get one set of skills done at a time.
  • Free Code Camp Full-stack Mastery
    • Here I will list the skills I have learned during my time at Free Code Camp which is my current place of constant learning
  • Treehouse Front-end Development
    • Same as with Free Code Camp’s card
  • Treehouse Full-stack JavaScript Track
  • Pluralsight JavaScript Courses
  • JavaScript Understanding the Weird Parts

Where You Can Find My Board

Of course you want to know. You can find it here:

Full-stack JavaScript Mastery Trello Board

Rainbow Explosion Hangman App


So I am working on a project from last semester called Rainbow Explosion. [1]

It is a hangman app with a twist. Here is an excerpt of the instructions:

Project #3: Rainbow Explosion

The game of rainbow explosion challenges a player to guess a secret word to defuse the color bomb by guessing different letters contained within that word.  Every wrong guess gets the bomb closer to going off.

The game starts by printing out a welcome message to the player with instructions and a placeholder for the secret word, represented by blank underscores (the number of underscores printed represent the number of letters in the secret word for the player to guess).

For each round of the game, the player is prompted to input a guessed letter to see if that letter is in the secret word:

If the guessed letter is contained in the secret word, the player has won that round, and the guessed word thus far is printed (consisting of blank underscores and correctly guessed letters).
If the player’s guessed letter is not in the secret word, the guessed word thus far is printed (consisting of blank underscores and any correctly guessed letters), and the player earns a “tick.”
The ticks add up. A player can only accumulate 6 incorrect ticks or he loses the game and the bomb goes off.
For each round that the player guesses a letter incorrectly, you should also print out the color that the player has failed thus far, based on how many ticks the player has:
Each tick will correspond to the bomb exploding sooner, for each incorrectly guessed letter:
* 1 tick = red
* 2 ticks = orange
* 3 ticks = yellow
* 4 ticks = green
* 5 ticks = blue
* 6 ticks = purple  BOOM!!!
The player wins by guessing all of the correct letters in the secret word. When the player wins the game, you should print to the console that he has won, along with the secret word.

The player can also lose. Once all the colors are printed to the screen the game is over and the player has lost.

For the advanced versions of this game, you should also provide a hint for the secret word to the player at the beginning of the game and use OO programming to create your own class.

It is written entirely in Java and I think I talked about it a few weeks ago. Mel, a Java vet on the Code Newbie Slack team (and a woman in tech!) said for me to think about it from different angles. For instance, think about it from what letters aren’t being guessed.

So I went all in with an array of chars that I could iterate through with a for loop. It looked awful. It looked like this:

char [] = {’b’, ‘d’, ‘e’, ‘f’, ‘g’, ‘h’, ‘i’, ‘j’, ‘k’, ‘l’, ‘m’, ‘n’, ‘o’, ‘p’, ‘q’, ‘r’, ‘s’, ‘u’, ‘v’, ‘w’, ‘x’, ‘y’, ‘z’};

Messy. I needed to use a for loop to iterate, an if/else conditional, and a do/while loop.

I thought about it and consulted her with my code. She gave me more advice– use .contains() to see if a char is in a string. Yes.

It Works! Sort Of…


So my code looks like this: [2]

After some trial and error, scope and return statement issues, it ran. It does not run correctly. Here is the output from my terminal:



I had to Ctrl-C to get out of it.

Back to the drawing board.

  1. Link to the repository is private now.  ↩
  2. At the request of my mentor I took this down. She didn\’t want future classes to be able to see it.  ↩

NaNoWriMo? How About NaCoWriMo?


November, if you’re an internet savvy fiction writer, is NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month. As a writer in my previous life, I participated in NaNoWriMo several times. The objective is to write 50,000 words of a novel in one month. It’s insanity personified. I spent countless nights awake writing to get to 50,000 words and only ever “won” once. You win a certificate and some nice discounts from writing software people. The community is great as well.

Well, I want to propose a NaCoWriMo, National Code Writing Month, where new devs especially, write as much new code, or contribute to a few new open source projects, or work on their own projects, everyday, for the month of November. You could also do a tutorial everyday, like Treehouse or Free Code Camp. Should you have a finished project? Nah. Coding is harder than writing is, despite what writers say, and so you should have something if you are working on a new project. If you’re contributing to an open source project, contribute to at least two or three.

So how do I measure winning? In NaNoWriMo you won when you got to 50,000 words on December 1st at midnight. How I measure it will be if you have a working framework of a project, have your green commit blocks filled, have your Free Code Camp logs filled green, everyday for a month. What do you win? The satisfaction of knowing you accomplished something, small or large, contributed to something large or small, that pushed you further towards your goal of becoming a competent developer.

Maybe I’ll thow in something good to the first person to complete NaCoWriMo, like a book or Amazon Gift card (I don’t have a lot of money so you’re looking at $25 max) or an iTunes Gift Card for that dev app you were eyeing.

Good idea? Let me know in the comments.