Project Night!

6 Feb

Had a great time last night attending my first Project Night with the Boston Ruby Group. A very nice affair in a space in Downtown Crossing provided by thoughtbot complete with tasty snacks and pizza!

The initial discussion/demo covered a quick rundown of testing with the Capybara gem, which facilitates end-user-like website interactions for testing. It tests the app directly, without driving a browser in the way that Selenium would, but a later discussion with Dan from Launch Academy made it clear that Capybara and Selenium can work well together to drive a browser visually. A lot still has to sink in before I really come to grips with this, but it was great seeing the demo and meeting a lot of folks who work with this stuff day in and day out.

Another thing I learned about which has been very productive for my Ruby (and Rails) learning is the Sinatra gem, which is almost like a mini Rails, letting users create interactive web applications with Ruby. There are some conventions shared with Rails and a similar file layout, but things are much more stripped down and manageable. There’s a great tutorial called Singing With Sinatra which has been a huge help in getting some actual practice creating applications of increasing complexity. As usual, the learning process involves a lot of associated areas of expertise (HTML get/post fundamentals and forms, specifically) that need to be explored and practiced in order to master the basics of what a framework like Sinatra can do. Exhausting at times, but fun!

I’m still doing the Selenium practice with Java as well. Currently working on a section concerning synchronization strategies, which is where a lot of automation ‘gotchas’ can lurk.

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