The Brain Cloud is Starting to Fade

Brain Cloud?

This is my 2nd blog as a mentee in the ChiPy mentorship program. In my 1st blog I explained how I wanted to learn Python and Django to update my skills to become more marketable along with creating an app to handle fundraising events for a brain cancer charity named BrainUp. BrainUp is currently using a vendor’s package to handle their events but my intent is to eliminate the expense of using that package so that more money will go to fund research to help fight brain cancer.

When I started using Django my mind was full of dark clouds and cobwebs. I wasn’t sure if I could accomplish my goal. I was making extremely slow progress reading books, using Stack Overflow and googling ad nauseam but the ChiPy mentorship program has brought a lot of sunshine.

You should never stop learning!

Progress

With my mentor Peter’s immense help, knowledge and patience, I (we) have made good progress in developing my app. I am slowly feeling more comfortable with Django. I don’t panic quite as much as I used to when I get an error and with some fumbling around I can sometimes resolve the error on my own. It still amazes my how quickly Peter can resolve my problems with his own knowledge or knowing just how to search to find a resolution but as I gain experience I know problem solving will get easier.

Peter showed my how much you can accomplish with the Django admin functions. We created some to easily accomplish what I had created custom screens to do before the start of the mentor program. If I had realized what you could do with the admin functions when I first started coding my app it would have saved me weeks of effort but maybe my extra effort wasn’t wasted. As I kept getting errors in developing my screens I did learn how to resolve some basic errors.

Peter also showed my how to secure the admin screens for different access levels.

Since my app will require a way to process payments we started the process of using BrainTree’s API to handle payments. We are using their sandbox and we got through the first part of creating the token. I would have been totally lost without Peter’s help and could imagine spending many hours (hundreds) trying to do that on my own.

Still getting comfortable using more of the functions of Git and I really need to just play around with it and try to do some of the things that I know I would do in a production environment.

I also swapped out the editor I was using since my first blog and started using Atom. I really like it, very simple to use and I think it has increased my productivity.

Things I plan to accomplish by the end of the program

Complete the payment processing function with BrainTree’s APIs.

Clean up the menu bar.

Become more familiar with bootstrap and use it to make the front-end more attractive.

Have the basic app ready to use to meet the basic needs of BrainUp.

Things I would like (dream of) to accomplish

Create a more dynamic design for the front-end allowing event administrators to move objects around on the front page of an event.

Add tests to the app. I should have started writing tests before I coded but I was too excited to do that because I wanted to just jump in and see results plus I wan’t sure how to write the tests. I know, I know, rookie mistake but hopefully this will be the only app where I don’t start with test driven development.

Finally

I can’t wait to complete this app so that besides the satisfaction of knowing I achieved a major goal I will be able to spend more time just playing around with Python. At the last ChiPy meeting where we broke up into teams for a coding challenge I realized how much I had been neglecting learning some basic Python skills while building my app.

I am becoming a Python zealot!

I tell everyone I know that are currently developers or have an interest in coding that they should learn Python. I really like this language!