Flask Tutorial – Review

Taken in August and September 2014
Instructor: Miguel Grinberg
Class: The Flask Mega-Tutorial

After taking the PyLadies Django tutorial, I finished up the CodeAcademy Python course and decided to create a small web application. Considering I was planning on making something small and not very intensive. Ala “They fight crime!” I thought I’d use something not as heavy as Django. So I looked up Flask and found this tutorial. Little did I know that it would be the tutorial that would lead me down the rabbit hole. By the time I started this tutorial, I had a good handle on the basics of Python. I’d taken a Coursera course, countless workshops and the codeacademy course. So not a complete newbie, but still learning. I believe having a good basic understanding of Python is essential to do this tutorial. I know I hate feeling of treading water when I’m trying to learn something new. So do yourself a favor and run through the basics, twice.

After that go through this tutorial. I found it so very easy to follow and I love how it’s broken up into very logical and easy to complete steps. You can definitely go through it quickly, but you can also pace yourself. There’s always a stopping point nearby. As a mom who’s time is always at the edge of “Mommy!!!” I really appreciate being able to do a piece and walk away knowing that I can come back to the next step and not be completely lost. Miguel has a very methodical approach. Which is to say it’s really easy to understand. It doesn’t come off as a dry slogging tutorial, it’s always interesting. He adds in things, like translation, that I would have never thought to go in to. It was so much fun!

I can’t recommend it enough. It taught the basics of Flask and threw in a lot of optional and useful additions. There’s so much one can do with this framework! It inspired me to take on a much larger project! More on that in a future post. But suffice it to say that the tutorial was inspirational enough to make me spend a lot of time hammering away at an idea in my head.

If you’re interested in frameworks, or Flask in particular run through this tutorial!


Django Workshop – Pyladies

Dates: August 7 & 9 , 2014
Instructor: Sara Safavi

I spent Saturday, the 9th, at a free Django workshop put together by the wonderful PyLadies Austin Chapter. It’s a beginner workshop and will probably be held again yearly. The turnout was great; we filled a meeting room at the Windsor Park Library in East Austin. I can’t really begin this overview without first thanking PyLadiesATX. This is such a phenomenal group for both novices and experienced developers. Talks range from the basics like Intro to Python workshops to Data Visualization with matplotlib. I’ve gotten so much out of this group and am enormously thankful for this community being here. Huge thanks to Barbara Sharuette who started it here in Austin in 2012 and Sara Safavi and Jess Freasier for keeping it going at an awesome pace.

So it may seem I’m a little biased on my review of this workshop, and that’s probably a little true, but hopefully you’ll still read on. While the django workshop is a beginner workshop, it assumes you have at least one intro to Python course under your belt. You also should be pretty familiar with your command line. The course minus the setup on Thursday ran about 5 hours with an hour lunch. With about 4 hours of actual classroom time, we ran through creating a simple recipe app and manipulating its look through Django templates and an open source theme. We did do a lot of copying and pasting to get to the finished product. But as a workshop, this was probably the best method for giving a group a good feel for what Django is capable of. I’m hoping to write a couple of sites in Django or another lighter framework soon and as a kickoff to that. I will probably reference all the slides a lot as I begin to venture into Django. Sara was a great instructor and checked in with the class a lot to make sure questions were answered. Overall I’d recommend this workshop. It’s a very good intro to Django. You get a quick feel for it, to see if you’ll want to pursue it as a framework.



New Parents in Tech Meetup – SXSWi

Vote to see my session at SXSW 2015!I submitted a meetup proposal for SXSW Interactive 2015. I hope we can get some good discussion going on how we cope, thrive and learn as new parents. I know this is a big topic for moms in the tech industry, but this meetup is for dads too! Jen and I have been juggling a lot now that we have two little ones running and crawling around. It’s quite a change for a couple who just a few short years ago was complaining about only getting a couple hours a night of tv time because of work. Life moves really fast, and sometimes it just feels like treading water.

I hope we can make this meetup happen! Parenting is hard, and trying to do it while staying up to date and relevant in tech makes it even more challenging.

Please vote for my panel and let’s get this conversation going!


Coursera – An Introduction to Interactive Programming in Python

In April of last year I took the Python Coursera online course. Even though I took it a year ago, I think I’ve got some good insights into what you’re getting into, especially if you’re a mom.

The course is fairly well paced. You start from scratch(what’s a string?) and get all the way to a functioning Asteroid-esque game. I had a little coding under my belt before beginning the course so I didn’t feel like I was a total beginner. That being said, I don’t think I could’ve taken that course this past April. In 2013, I had one kiddo and my wife was able to help me with her while I studied. You’ll be studying quite a bit. With two children, a 6 months old and a two year old, I doubt I would’ve found the time to really understand the course or complete it this year. Of course, if you have childcare or can work with little sleep, you’re capabilities might be greater than mine. Depending on proficiency and base knowledge I’d say you’ll be working on the course about 4-10+ hours a week. And you’ll want to do it in at least 2 hour chunks of uninterrupted time. You have lectures, quizzes, and weekly projects. The first few weeks don’t take as much time, but as you progress your time commitment increases. Our local PyLadies group had a small study group for it and with all the due dates and time needed I think only about 2 people finished the course.

I found the course to be very helpful in learning the basics of Python. But, I just wasn’t that interested in coding games. The whole course is geared at coding games. And while I understand it’s a great way to teach, it just didn’t speak to me. I have grand ideas of manipulating data and making little bots to scour the internet. Maybe even little bots to help you or remind you to do a little task. So building games, was a bit out of my area of interest. I am glad I took the course, but I’m also hoping to find another with a bit more variety to it. Overall, I’d give it a B+. It had good instructors, easy to understand interfaces and it gives you a good idea on how most basic things in Python work. Plus you really come out of the course with a great sense of accomplishment.

Starting or Rather Restarting

Mommy! Mommy!

I hear that refrain every day. Today as I sit down to write my post, I’ve been interrupted more than a half dozen times. I have a 9 month old and a 2 and a half year old. I’ve been staying at home for the past year and our children are used to calling on mom for everything, even if there is another caretaker in the house now. Being a mom is a big part of my life. It will also color everything I attempt to do.

So what is it that I’m trying to accomplish? For the next few months, I’ll be working on getting up to speed on the Python based stack. Roughly following Full Stack Python and a pile of books, references and courses. I hope to document and review as many resources as I can on this blog. I’ve already taken online courses within the past year and will get a review of them done soon.