back-end web development Tag Archives - General Assembly Blog | Page 2

Alumni Interview: Nicole Cohen

By

Nikki CohenWhile working as the Special Events Manager at Pace Gallery in New York City, Nicole noticed how the startup scene was taking off in her Brooklyn neighborhood. Curious and intrigued, she launched a travel startup and took a running start into learning all she could to ensure her new business took flight.

1. What were you doing before you came to GA?

I was the Special Events Manager in the Communications Department at Pace Gallery in New York City. I oversaw high-profile parties and marketing opportunities for the gallery including everything from exhibition openings to exclusive private dinners to fashion shows.

Continue reading

NYE 2013 RESOLUTIONS SPRINT (ONLINE CLASS)

By

Knock out some unfinished resolutions before the clock strikes 12, and ring-in the new year with a clean slate and new skills.

We’re sharing some of our favorite tips from experts in Product Management, Front-End Web Development, and UX Design for some last-minute lessons. It’s never too late to get started.

TAKEAWAYS

  • Test your new business idea
  • Prepare to get the job of your dreams
  • Learn a new (programming) language
  • Get your website live

Learning Ruby-On-Rails at General Assembly: One Year Later

By

It was mid-November last year that I graduated from General Assembly’s Ruby-on-Rails backend course.  Since then, I’ve built and launched my first startup, a marketplace for conference videos, called Xavy.

Before joining the course, I had massive reservations about whether I would actually be able to code.  I’d tried and failed to learn independently at least three times before.  I have always studied humanities subjects and avoided logic or maths wherever possible. My family and friends thought I was joking when I told them what I planned on doing, the response generally being “but you’re not remotely technical!”

Well, I took the course and succeeded in learning to code, so thank you GA for helping me learn the technical skills I needed to start executing on the vision I had for Xavy.

However, you can’t learn everything in 8 weeks, so here are some of the technical lessons I’ve learned since graduating, which could prove useful to anyone else taking the course:

There’s no substitute for hard work.

If you expect to turn up to class, do the 2 x 2 hour lessons each week and be a decent programmer 8 weeks later, you will probably not get the results you want.  I put in a lot of additional hours between classes, and particularly in the early days, it’s important to build your ‘muscle memory’ for the key concepts until they become second nature. Continue reading

A Website is like a House. Here’s Why

By

Website House Metaphor

Metaphors are great ways to bridge the knowledge gap between technical and non-technical team members. But instead of bombarding non-technical folks with acronyms and jargon, it helps to first establish a baseline understanding of how different technologies work together. One way I like to do this is by comparing a website to a house.

1. The Frame: HTML (HyperText Markup Language)

A house has rooms, and each room contains furniture and electric appliances. Similarly, a webpage has sections (e.g. header, body, footer), and each section contains images and text. HTML organizes and presents elements of a webpage in a structured hierarchy. Here’s an example of pseudo-HTML describing the elements in our house:

[code language=”html”]
<house>
<second_floor>
<bedroom>
<bed />
</bedroom>
</second_floor>
<first_floor>
<living_room>
<television />
</living_room>
<kitchen>
<fridge />
</kitchen>
<entrance>
<front_door>
<door_bell>
</front_door>
</entrance>
</first_floor>
</house>
[/code]

2. The Look: CSS (Cascading Style Sheets)

Not all rooms, tables, and chairs look the same, nor do words or images on a page. That’s where CSS comes in – CSS defines how elements look, describing their color, size, position, shape, and more. Here’s an example of how we’d use pseudo-CSS to style a bedroom in our house:

[code language=”css”]
bedroom {
width: 12ft;
height: 8ft;
walls: 1mm wallpaper matte;
floor: carpet
}
[/code]

Continue reading

Where Are They Now? Brooks Swinnerton

By

Brooks Swinnerton headshot

Meet Brooks Swinnerton, graduate (and now Teaching Assistant) of General Assembly’s 10-week Back-End Web Development course. We sat down with Brooks to find out what inspired him to learn to code, what he’s done with his new skills, and why he returned to GA to pay it forward. Emily Lu, General Assembly

Name: Brooks Swinnerton (@bswinnerton)
Occupation: Systems Administrator, New York University; Teaching Assistant, General Assembly

1. What inspired you to learn back-end web development?

Whenever I ran into a problem or inefficiency, I found myself thinking, “There should be an easier way to do X.” When I couldn’t find a solution, my next thought would be, “I wish I could just create it”. That’s why I decided to learn Ruby on Rails — I wanted the knowledge and power to simplify my life.

Now with these skills, I no longer have to “wish” for a solution; I can create it. I have the freedom to drive the product to exactly where I want it to go, right down to the buttons.

2. What’s something exciting you’ve done with your new Ruby on Rails skills?

Back in March I participated in a five-day event called The Startup Bus. The goal was to build a startup on a bus and launch it 1,800 miles later at SXSW. I applied completely on a whim, and a week later found myself boarding a bus in Union Square with 30 strangers. I took this time to work on my startup idea, Readin.gs. We worked on the bus for 13 hours a day, slept very little and fueled up at Walmarts along the way. It was an insane experience, but made some incredible like-minded friends by the end of the trip.

Continue reading

5 Steps for Getting Started Coding a Web App

By

Keep your goals in sight. You’ve made your resolutions — we want to help you keep them (at least the ones that aren’t food related). That’s why we’ve put together five simple things you can do to get started in Back-End Web Development using Ruby on Rails.

Continue reading

What Is: Back-End Web Development

By

matt-jording

Matt Jording is a software developer and an Instructor at General Assembly (with a great mustache).

Name: Matt Jording (@mjording)
Occupation: Software Developer

1. In 140 characters or less, what is back-end web development?

It’s the structure that allows information to be shared across accounts or people. It’s the glue that binds the internet together.

2. If a website were a plant, back-end web development would be ______?

If a website were a plant, back-end web development would be the root system. It’s the component that provides the energy (food and water, in this instance) that powers the plant and enables it to grow.

Continue reading