Coding, Project Development

Debug Your Code the Easy Way

Debugging is very much a way of programming life. Unfortunately for novice programmers, most people won’t tell you that. I learned later than I would have liked that much of programming is not writing new code, but figuring out what’s wrong with your existing code. To help you figure out what is broken and how to fix it, I am sharing my seven best tips on how to debug your code.

Project Development, Coding

Three Ways to Optimize $scope.$apply() and Improve Your AngularJS App

Like many novice AngularJS programmers before me, I thought I struck gold with the $scope.$apply() method. That method seemed like the perfect way to ensure that all of my bindings updated properly. Though I came across cautionary tales, I did not heed the warnings—the method seemed to work so well. My code was soon littered with $scope.$apply(). Then my app’s performance began to take a hit.

Coding, Project Development

Improving Text Input Fields in Ionic and AngularJS

Today I’m going to go over how to customize and improve the text input field that comes with the Ionic framework. I am writing this tutorial because Ionic does not have form documentation beyond HTML markup (probably because forms are fairly standard in AngularJS, which is the framework Ionic is built on). While the methods I describe are not overly complicated or tricky, it did take me a few hours to get all of these features to play nicely together.

Project Development, Coding

How I Settled on PouchDB

Once I decided my journalism app needed a database, I considered first and foremost what data would be stored and what I wanted to do with it. 

Determining the requirements surrounding your data and application is, in my mind, the most important consideration in choosing a database. There is no one superior database—all have different pros and cons. It’s important to know what you absolutely need, and what you can do without.


Databases 101

Like many before me, I populated my app with filler data during my nascent development days. Since I was preoccupied with writing the business logic, it made sense to use fake stories and interviews. Plus, using hard-coded data allowed me to avoid a painful truth—databases terrified me. 

Although I have accessed databases before, I had no idea how to set one up from scratch. Filler data was my buffer.  

About six weeks into development, though—after I successfully connected my app to Evernote—I knew I needed to consider more critically how and where to store my app’s data. I finally accepted that I needed a database. 

Coding, Journalism

Why Learning to Code is So Hard

Coding is the new literacy. It's easy. Everyone's learning it. Everyone should learn it.

We've heard those refrains before. The truth is, programming is difficult.

Not the act of it itself, at least for quick and dirty front-end effects. In fact, I found programming to be quite logical and straightforward. What made me want to pull my hair out was everything before and after writing code—like how to set up my environment, where to start a project, and which tools, languages, and frameworks I should devote my time to learning. I spent—and still spend—hours trying to figure out how to do simple stuff. Many other beginners feel similarly.

In my last post, I mentioned that I’m starting this blog in part because existing online materials cater to either total beginners or accomplished programmers. Here are four reasons why learning to code is difficult—and none of them involve the actual act of writing.


A Year in Review

So, what have you been up to?

I get this question a lot. Here's the short answer—last summer, I left my wonderful job as a real-estate reporter in New York City and moved to Dublin for graduate school.

The more interesting question is why.

I am a journalist by trade. Before graduate school, I knew basic HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, and that’s pretty much it. My skills were locked in the 1990s. I didn’t know much about modern frameworks, best practices, or how to engender any sort of interactivity into my stories. A number of factors prompted me to move abroad to pursue my degree, but more than anything, I wanted to become a more versatile, digitally focused producer of media.