“Git” into it -Insights of a Noob Web Developer

Credits: GoodGov PH and Patricia Ramos

Newbie on the scene! Web development co-op is truly an exciting yet daunting undertaking especially from someone who has been coding solo ever since. Upon initiating the project, immediately you get bombarded with a weird cat-like octopus who seems to manifest itself in the form of the black window of oblivion plaguing every rookie’s screen. It consistently haunts you throughout the project with a petulant thought that one wrong command might mean a one-way ticket to the repository of nowhere for your code or, worse, the whole project.

To provide a better context, it all started last month. I was presented with an opportunity by the president of Developer Students Club (DSC) to work on the website of Bantay Bayan, an initiative of GoodGov PH created in the hopes of alleviating the COVID situation as well as to provide transparency among LGUs by empowering civilians with a voice through its surveys. As a member of DSC, it has always been my interest to work on a project that employs technology for the benefit of others, so I eagerly obliged as a front-end developer. It was only then that I knew nothing of taming this cat-like frankenstein called Github and that I still have a ton of web development knowledge to reel in. Fortunately, I’m the only newbie on the team. Surrounded by experienced individuals in their respective fields, I have acquired useful insights not only on Github but also on other important aspects of web development. It is with an immense aid from their insights that I would like to share some of my learnings regarding version control and maybe a bit of web development lessons injected along the way. I am by no means an expert, but I would like to share a beginner’s perspective in the following lessons

1. Never hastily command the feline beast

It was quite tempting at times to quickly get on with all the git processes in order to focus solely on writing the code, all the more when you’re not in the mood of researching what each command actually does. During the early phases of the project, I got to admit that I wasn’t entirely interested in git as much as I was interested in writing out the features of the website. Thus, I spent days entering commands into a black window with only the slightest idea of what I was actually entering. This only led to an increase of complications, later on, like suddenly shoving a number of features on the same branch, pushing changes without updating the branch first, and so much more. These issues would all have been avoided if I had just been patient enough to step back from coding and made sure I have a thorough understanding of git and Github.

Some common commands to tame the feline beast:

  1. git init
  2. git add <filename>
  3. git commit -m ”<message>”
  4. git push <remote repository> <branch>
  5. git fetch <remote repository>
  6. git checkout <commit or branch>
  7. git pull <remote repository> <branch>
  8. git reset
  9. git status
Clearly didn’t what I was doing. It was meant to be only for the navigation bar and footer features, but included the whole homepage anyway.
Having understood my mistake and studying the git workflow, I have restricted all changes to the specific feature stated on a branch. (I also have a better understanding of the git commands by this time.)

2. Save before dealing with the cat-kraken

While studying version control, I was quite reluctant with the commands I was entering in the terminal. Errors have a higher probability of occurring when a person is new to these types of things. Given this, I create back-ups for the changes I wrote and anticipated possible errors that might pop up along the way. This practice could have spared me a lot of headaches and code rewriting had I did it when I encountered missing changes or merging issues from the start. On a side note, I also nearly lost a whole personal project back then when I was populating my Github account. I accidentally fetched my new repository from Github forgetting that the readme was actually initialized, and so git thought that the new remote repository was an actual state and eventually overwrote all of the files in my local repository. Fortunately, I was anticipated this.

Uhh . . . well, anyways, you can never be too sure.

3. Asides from Octocat, keep responsiveness in mind

One of the mistakes I committed while composing the first page of the website was that I totally ignored or forgot about the requirement of a website being responsive at any screen size. Consequently, it led to the accumulation of a monstrous amount of patch fixes that ultimately compelled me to re-do the whole page. Keep responsiveness in mind and try to fix any issues before moving on to the next section of the web page. This is done in the hopes of minimizing the amounts of things to fix later while troubleshooting the site in different screen sizes.

Credits: GoodGov PH and Patricia Ramos

Conclusion

These are some of my major takeaways as a newbie in a web development co-op project. Looking back now, I could see that patience and prudence played a big role in each lesson. I have come to better terms with Kitty Tentacles, and I would like to thank Harvey Sison (senior developer) and Patricia Ramos (UX designer) for this great opportunity to learn some important key aspects of web development as well as developing a better idea of solid user experience. I would also like to thank the Bantay Bayan core team for entrusting us with this cool and noble project to work on. This experience has definitely encouraged me to explore more as a developer, and I hope these lessons, however little, might have spared you of some possible pitfalls as a junior developer.

If you’re interested in supporting Bantay Bayan’s initiative (LGU transparency and anti-COVID tips), you are highly encouraged to check them out at https://bantaybayan.com/

Additionally, this wouldn’t be possible without Developer Students Club -Loyola!

Wassup!

Woah, you made to till the end. I really couldn’t thank you enough for reading this far. Should you by any chance have any inquiries or questions, please feel free to reach me at tanzellgo@gmail.com.

Tanzell Go is a budding coding enthusiast and an aspiring entrepreneur. Check out his latest builds at https://github.com/tanzellgo

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A student organization in the Ateneo de Manila University powered by Google Developers that aims to build students’ skills and network by giving them access to different technologies, specifically Google Developer. Together, we learn as a community.

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Tanzellgo

Tanzellgo

Programming Enthusiast, Aspiring Entrepreneur, Saved by Grace

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