App Development: First Impressions

I’m working at The CodEd on my first app Tot Text, along with my stalwart group members.  Before we get too far in the process, I want to log some first impressions of what it’s like to be doing actual coding — both front and back end.  Because it turns out that coding is a lot different than what I originally expected.  But also a little bit the same.

Things I did not expect:

1. The massive amount of file organization.

When I pictured becoming a coder, I saw myself working on one massive document.  I had no idea that I might be working on 500 files just for one website.  There is an unbelievable amount of organization, strategic naming, and file calling that goes into each part of the project.  Every time you rename something in one place, there are 50 other places that need to be updated by hand.

Sometimes I wonder if web development is closer kin to the ‘personal organizer’ profession than it is to the technology profession.

2. The amount of negotiation.

The IT/startup zone attracts hardworking people who stand by their work — but sometimes getting so many go-getters on the same page can be a challenge.  My group has been most successful when we’re using GitHub for version control, as well as update e-mails to let other group members know what we’ve done.

3. The number of technical challenges (even before we got started).

Between slow computers, bad network connections, different browser settings, different folder configurations … It took us about two weeks to all get GitHub working, not to mention getting anything done.  One day we missed an entire class period because we couldn’t find our GoDaddy account password. Another time we completed a timed project, but got no credit because we got kicked off the network.  I’ve had to let go and laugh at myself sometimes, and I’ve had to be patient other times when I wished I could just shake my computer to bits.

Screen Shot 2014-03-10 at 4.33.06 PM

Things I did expect:

1. Tired eyes.  

I know I’d be running my eyes through miles of code looking for that one unclosed bracket.  And I’m getting a little better at it!

2. Great camaraderie, great people.

People in my class are always ready to explain, always ready to help.  There’s something about these challenges that build is bonding — being totally, totally lost for hours, then having that one minute of clarity.

It takes a certain kind of person to slog through the hours.  And that’s one thing I love about this field.

3. An almost infinite amount to learn.  All the time.

I try not to get bogged down by this.  I wanted a challenge, after all.  And where there’s a challenge, there’s room to grow.