Intro to Meteor Coursera Course: Final Thoughts

I completed the Introduction to Meteor.js Development course two weeks ago, after submitting the final assignment – my social website aggregator. I waited with this “final thoughts” post, because the course officially ended just now.

I also joined the follow-up course, Web Application Development with JavaScript and MongoDB, as it seems to keep digging into more advanced Meteor subjects. It just started this week.

Kambatz App: First Iteration

I finally started building Kambatz – my bills management app.

It’s a refreshing change, after weeks of just learning, by taking an online course, or going through an official tutorial. I finished the course, in case you’re curious. I plan to write my thoughts about the course once it formally ends.

The course served me well. I was able to use my submission for the final assignment as a reasonable starting point for my Kambatz app. I changed most of it, but it was useful nonetheless!

This iteration of the app doesn’t really do anything. It’s just some plumbing and layout to get me started. Read on for more about what it contains, and the new things I learned while working on it.

You can see the latest prototype at kambatz.meteor.com, and follow the code on the GitHub repository :-) .

A snapshot of this iteration is available at 20151213.kambatz.meteor.com, and the code for this iteration is tagged in the GitHub repository.

Official Meteor Tutorial: TODO App With React

I installed Meteor, and joined a Coursera introduction course, but I still want to go through one of the official Meteor tutorials.

The Meteor site has a tutorial around building a “ToDo App”, in one of three flavors – Blaze, Angular, and React.

I’m not quite sure what it means to choose one of these flavors (see more in the feedback section). It looks like Blaze is some sort of a default, or the recommended one, based on some links pointing directly to it, and the fact that it is the first in the list. I’m already using Blaze in the Meteor intro Coursera course, so to spice things up, I randomly decided to go with React for this tutorial.

Do read on for the an exciting and detailed accounting of my step-by-step experience with the tutorial! :-) For your convenience, I have shared my tutorial implementation in a GitHub repository. It shouldn’t be very different from the official Meteor tutorial repository, but I took the liberty to add some tweaks of my own.

tl;dr: The tutorial was excellent. It is well structured. Things worked as expected. It is clear and concise. I feel I learned a lot in a short time. I do have some feedback to share, about the lack of clarity about Blaze vs. Angular vs. React, the mobile section, and the insecure defaults that are built-in.

I Joined the Intro to Meteor Coursera Course

After installing Meteor, I thought I will continue with the tutorial, in my learning process. But then I found out that Coursera is offering a free Introduction to Meteor.js Development course that just started last week. Since the course was approaching the end of week 1, I decided I’d go ahead and join the it!

Installing Meteor – First Step In Meteor Training

The first obvious step in learning the Meteor JavaScript platform is to install it on my laptop.

So I did it. The verdict – very easy and friendly. Running one console command I copied & pasted from the Installing Meteor page.

I did that on OS X and on Ubuntu Linux (14.04). On both platforms it worked smoothly. Haven’t tried Windows, since I don’t do development on Windows these days.

At the time of writing, the current Meteor version was 1.2.1.

Kambatz: The App I’m Building To Learn Meteor

So I said I want to build a utility app for myself. And do that using the Meteor JavaScript platform. While learning it. And blogging about learning it.

OK, but what’s this utility app I’m talking about? This is the topic of this post.

I’m fanatic about my digital paperwork organization system, especially when it comes to monthly bills. I have several self-imposed requirements from my bills processing workflow (beyond “pay on time” :-) ) that I’d like to automate as much as possible. The purpose of the app is to enable this bills processing workflow automation.

I know, this isn’t the sexiest app out there. It is, though, a real and concrete need that I have. Solving this will save me significant time. This means I’m motivated enough to build it :-) .

Keep reading for more details about my plans for this bills management app.

I’m Going to Teach Myself the Meteor JavaScript Platform – While Blogging the Process

I want to build a utility app for myself. It doesn’t matter what’s this app is about – I’ll get to that later. What matters is that I get a chance to start something from scratch, which is always fun :-) .

For this project, I decided to use Meteor – a JavaScript app platform.

The interesting thing about this project, is that I have zero experience with Meteor. Or any other JavaScript framework for that matter. I have some knowledge of JavaScript & HTML basics, but that’s pretty much it.

I see this as an opportunity to capture and document the newbie experience as I go through the learning process! As I learn the Meteor platform and build my project, I will blog about my experience as a newcomer to the Meteor platform.

This should be interesting :-) . Read on for more about my motivation and plans.

From Markdown To Pastable Formatted Text In OS X Terminal

By Tuesday, August 4, 2015 0 , , Permalink 2

I use Markdown a lot. I use it right now, to compose this post :-) . It’s my go-to syntax for quick plain text files for notes and such. It’s what I use when I code something that outputs “formatted” text to terminal.

Recently, I wanted to take Markdown output from a script I wrote, and send a nicely formatted version of it by email.

Read on for the solution I eventually came up with, after several iterations, and essential tips from Brett Terpstra, the Markdown Master.

tl;dr:

cat foo.md | \
  pandoc --from markdown --to html | \
  textutil -convert rtf -stdin -stdout -format html | \
  pbcopy -Prefer rtf

Check Out These Python Podcasts

I recently discovered two new podcasts about Python!

I think both podcasts started about the same time – 3-4 months back. I found out about them a few weeks ago, and managed to catch up on the episode backlog :-) .

Both are based on conversations with people from the industry and Python community.

Talk Python To Me is hosted by Michael Kennedy. At the least, check out the show theme music. Beyond that, I enjoyed the technical depth of the conversations. Especially the episodes about Netflix, Flask, and Docker. The production quality is surprisingly good for a young independent podcast.

Podcast.__init__ is hosted by Tobias Macey and Chris Patti. This show could use some nicer production-fu, as much as I enjoy a whispering guest along a shouting host. Many of the conversations on this show are interesting as well, like the one with the Python guys. Personally, I enjoyed the more technical conversations, compared to the culture-themed ones.

If you’re a Python-enthusiast, definitely look into these podcasts!