Three Months Later – Stuff is Great

It’s been just over three months since I started as the first software engineer at MarketSquare, and I guess that means it’s been just over six months since I first started at Coding Dojo. I’ve been keeping super busy at work and at home this whole time so my blog has kinda fallen by the wayside, but I haven’t given up on it yet! I figured for this “where I’m at now” post I’d pretty much just list off recent happenings and progress I’ve made as a Software Engineer. If I get time later, I hope to write up some tutorials to detail how I’ve built out certain things. Anyways, let’s get started!

And Then There Were Two

I got a coworker! It’s actually kinda funny how it ended up this way, but my new dev team member was actually one of my instructors back at Coding Dojo, David Wolgemuth! He joined MarketSquare about a month ago now, so two months after I did. When I first started, the dev team consisted of just me doing stuff and occasionally Bryon (my boss) would pitch in on something here or there, but now that David’s here we have a fully fledged team dynamic thing going on.

We’ve been more detailed about our project management practices and meetings, and our Trello board now shows an accurate picture of what’s happening in MarketSquare’s development. Plus, it’s been great to have another dedicated software developer to bounce ideas off of any time and we often pair program through particularly large or critical changes.

Rails Ain’t So Bad, I Guess

After spending a solid three months working in the framework that I thought I’d love to hate back when I first tried it out at Coding Dojo, I think it’s starting to grow on me. I was kinda drowning in .erb’s for a while but I’ve been gradually stripping down our hardcoded static templates and replacing almost all the functional aspects of the app with dynamically rendered partials and javascript. It’s a lot of work to build out a responsive front end with pretty much only JQuery, but it’s also a lot of fun. Eventually, we plan to start throwing in react components where we can, so that’s exciting too. Anyways, now that I’m able to mostly just use Rails as a backend API to throw AJAX calls at, I have no complaints about it related to developing a smooth front end.

ActiveRecord has been super nice too. As we’ve been gathering more and more data and doing all sorts of queries for listings and submissions and warehouse processing and whatever, I can definitely appreciate a powerful ORM. I won’t go into details because it’s not that interesting, but I just want to say that ActiveRecord is beautiful.

I still have a bit of a love/hate relationship with ActiveAdmin, but I can say that it’s made it easy to implement quite a few admin features quickly. It’s been a huge pain in the ass to implement quite a few others, but that’s a different story, haha.

It’s also been pretty nice to use Rails in general for things like creating migrations, running rake tasks, and working with helper functions. Routing with Rails is super handy too. I never thought I’d say this when I was back at Coding Dojo… but I kinda like Rails now.

Swiftalicious

While I do now enjoy working with Ruby on Rails, Swift is a whole ‘nother beautiful beast. I can’t really describe how awesome Swift is in a paragraph or two so I won’t attempt it now, but I am happy to say that I finally got the chance to get back into iOS development, professionally by the way, here at MarketSquare!

I was excited to do some real swift development ever since I heard my job description, but we never got around to it until David showed up. Our first big swift project was a rewrite of our in-house warehouse operations app. Basically, the app’s purpose is to allow our warehouse associates to seamlessly process inbound items and create draft listings for our admins to modify and complete before putting them up on the site.

Before starting our project, there was an existing app built by a contractor with some parts we were able to reuse. For example, the app had some nice logic for the camera functionality as well as some web request setup that was already working with our server’s API. It functioned as its own standalone thing where an item listing could be created from scratch and then thrown into a nameless pile on our server.

Our job was to streamline the user experience while making use of existing data on the server to automate the connection between item listings and item data submitted by our site’s users. Previously, this all had to be done manually by our admins after draft listings were created by the warehouse associates, so with our new changes to the app and the API, they’re able to cut their workload in half!

It definitely gives me a huge amount of satisfaction to be able to build stuff that works and creates real value, and I feel like I’ve been able to do so very often here at MarketSquare. All in all, I am loving my job.

Welp, that’s it for my quick summary of recent events. Until next time – seeya!

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