The Coffee Cup. Spitalfields

Learning to Code – Week Seven

Who’s Side Are You On?

This week we have been focused on Node.js, which is, according to Wikipedia, “an open source, cross-platform runtime environment for server-side and networking applications.” Right, it didn’t mean much to me either at the start of the week. But this has been a week when the architecture of the web has become slightly less blurred to me. It helps to understand that JavaScript was developed to make browsers work (it was developed for Netscape, remember that?).

But what Node.js does is enable JavaScript to run on the server in a similar way as Ruby does.

This differentiation between client side (browser) and server side (application engine) has really become clear this week (even though we’d already tackled both through Ruby & Sinatra), but still it’s an area I’d like to understand better to figure out what should go on each side.

JSON and the Cybernaughts

Also this week we’ve been learning to consume APIs (application programme interfaces). It’s interesting to see how JSON objects (JavaScript Object Notation) have overtaken XML as the responses to API requests. Lot’s of organisations offer API’s, including the UK Government Digital Service. APIs offer a fantastic way to consume data and create new value out of it, as the September cohort did with Twitter and Tesco.

Ruby, Ruby, Ruby

Our weekend challenge this week has been a series of around 40 small challenges back in Ruby. They have been great fun and a change from the larger scale projects and it’s been nice to go back to elegant syntax and wide vocabulary of Ruby as opposed to JavaScript.

Also this week the February cohort started. On Friday Ptolemy from our cohort took over running the “CodeJam”  and it had a good focus on puzzles the Juniors could do, with a “coach” from the Senior cohort helping out each Junior team. It was a fun experience and for me it was a good prelude to our weekend challenge.

Just to bring it back round to JavaScript, the photo is of my favourite coffee spot in Spitalfields – The Coffee Cup in the grounds of Christ Church Spitalfields, excellent flat white and extremely tempting ginger cookies…

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