The LaMarr List: November 29, 2017

This is usually where I try to write a decent intro paragraph but man, I am exhausted. It’s the start of the holiday season and for us that means two Thanksgivings, two Christmases, two company parties, and plenty of travel. Ain’t nobody got time to write an intro paragraph right now.

  • I really enjoyed this article about the very human trait of not acting on what we know we need to do. The part about breaks in momentum not being the end of the world is something I need to be reminded of often. Give it a read and see if any of the root causes connect with you!
  • I’ve been on a TDD kick lately. But can TDD replace human testing? DHH says no, and I agree. When I QA my colleagues’ code, I love acting like a brand new user and seeing what I can break. Because of that, I’ve been called ‘the goalie’ – nothing gets past me. TDD is useful (and wonderful for developers) but it is not the only testing we need.
  • This is part one of a three-part series on unit testing. In it, mpj explains how he uses unit tests “to keep complexity from overwhelming” him while he writes code. This has been of huge benefit to me in my journey as a developer and I encourage you to watch the video (11 minutes) and see what you think!
An image of the author's Christmas tree
Happy December!

Getting back to basics

One of my biggest disappointments with coding bootcamp is the scant amount of time we spent with vanilla JavaScript – only one week! By week four we were into Webpack and then React and Angular came quickly after. And while I was glad to get experience in those technologies, I set a goal in January of 2017 to practice a lot of vanilla JS. I stuck with it for a month but then I got a job and it required learning SQL and then a couple months later that job got crazy and it required learning C# and then I realized hey that language is fun and I even asked for (and got!) this book for my birthday and that ended up being a three-month side trip and then I had an idea to build an app for work and I thought hey I should use all these things I want to know in it! – so then came postgreSQL, graphQL, node, express, and vue and then October showed up and I was asked to help out with the local FreeCodeCamp chapter and I looked at all those algorithms in the course which I had never finished and always wanted to and I was sad and I also looked back on the goals I had set at the beginning of the year because fall is a great time to evaluate one’s life and I saw the ‘get super comfy with vanilla JS’ goal and I was disappointed in myself as usual but I was also really enjoying getting familiar with TDD because I think it makes me a better developer and I didn’t want to stop doing that and then Eureka! I decided this was the perfect chance to combine vanilla JS and TDD and put everything else on the back-burner for three months.

It’s terribly easy to get distracted by the shiny new thing in programming. I thought I would be better at not being drawn in because I’m that person who maps out annual and quarterly goals and checks in on the progress weekly but no – turns out, I’m only human! So this is me recommitting, in public view so I feel held accountable, to studying vanilla JS, to finishing these algorithms, and to learning TDD at the same time. You can check up on my progress here. I’m going to try my damnedest to not let anything get in my way, and soon it will be a year since I said I wanted something and we’ll see if I’ve accomplished it. BOOM.