Getting Started With Elm

December 19, 2014

Around this time of year I tend to go looking for something new to learn in the spare moments between holiday activities. It's a way of stepping back and getting a different perspective. This year the Elm language caught my eye. So on a whim one afternoon I cracked open the laptop and starting writing some Elm code, not really expecting my interest to outlast a log on the fire.

Well, it's been a week now and I'm still having fun goofing with Elm. Turns out this journey has been an unexpected gateway into functional programming, but with a graphical twist. I think the graphical part has been the key for me. That or the steady intake of sweets that keep finding their way to my desk. In any event, the whole experience has been so enjoyable and enlightening that I couldn't help but share.

If you've been wanting to try FP, I'd encourage you to give Elm a whirl! Here's how I got started...

Try Elm

The easiest way to get started with a quick win is by using the interactive online editor. Here's every newbie's favorite first program, Elm style:

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Give the Gift of Learning

December 16, 2014

Got a developer on your gift-giving list? Give 'em a gift that lasts well after the holiday decorations have come down—the gift of practical can-do know-how. Our online, self-paced training courses make for awesome gifts and we'll even do the wrapping for you.

It's quick and easy to gift our courses. Just head on over to our course catalog, toss an online course or two into your cart, and enter the name and e-mail of the person to whom you're gifting the course.

Once the order is placed, our Ruby-powered elves will send your special developer an e-mail with instructions for accessing their online course(s). It's a great way for you to play secret Santa, or you can follow-up with a cheery note. And as a bonus, your developer automatically gets alumni status which means they'll save 25% on their next course. As they say, it's a gift that keeps on giving!

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Your Path to Mastering Ruby Blocks: Step 3

December 08, 2014

Mastering Ruby blocks is more than just being fluent with syntax and following the conventional styles. And mastery goes beyond simply using blocks when calling methods in Ruby’s standard library. Those fundamental skills ultimately lay the foundation for the final step: designing your own code to take advantage of the power of blocks!

Blocks offer a different, powerful style of programming that should influence the design of your code. Indeed, well-designed Ruby code uses blocks to elegantly solve common and recurring problems, including:

  • Writing custom iterators
  • Executing “around” code
  • Toggling around code
  • Initializing objects with a block
  • Managing resources consistently

In our new Mastering Ruby Blocks & Iterators course, you'll learn how to immediately apply these design techniques and patterns to your own code. You'll come away from this course not just understanding how blocks work but, more importantly, when and where to use them in your own code.

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Your Path to Mastering Ruby Blocks: Step 2

December 05, 2014

Now that you’re comfortable with the basic style and syntax of Ruby blocks, you're ready to use blocks to make your code more expressive, compact, and flexible. One way to do that is by using blocks to get the most out of the Ruby standard library. Indeed, many of Ruby’s most powerful methods take a block.

The methods in the Enumerable module—select, reject, map, reduce, and friends—are particularly great examples of the power of blocks. Master the Enumerable methods and you'll be a more efficient Ruby programmer!

Start saving time and improving your code by checking out the video below from our Mastering Ruby Blocks & Iterators course. It's part two of a two-part series on tapping into the Enumerable module.

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Your Path to Mastering Ruby Blocks: Step 1

December 03, 2014

To be an effective Ruby programmer, you must master one of its most powerful features: blocks. They’re a key aspect to getting the most out of the Ruby standard library and a hallmark of well-designed Ruby code.

The first step to blocks mastery is learning both the syntax and style of writing a block. Our Mastering Ruby Blocks & Iterators course kicks off with block basics. This primer lays the foundation for the rest of the course. To start becoming more fluent with blocks, check out the first video from the course.

But this course is about more than just curly braces, vertical bars, and syntax party tricks. The next step to mastery is knowing when, why, and how to use blocks to solve common problems. If you’re wondering how blocks can save you time and help you write more expressive, compact, and powerful code, check back here on Friday for another free video from the course.

See you then!

Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone!

November 27, 2014

We'll be counting our blessings and stuffing our faces today. Wishing you all a fun (and full) Thanksgiving day!

9th Birthday Sale

November 17, 2014

Update (December 3rd, 2014): We've blown out the candles on our birthday sale (thanks everyone!), but you can still pick up our popular courses at everyday great prices!

Time sure does fly when you're having fun! Nine years ago this month we taught our first Ruby on Rails course. No doubt a lot has changed since then, but some things never will. We still strive every day to create the best training courses around. To all the smart, eager-to-learn, kind, hard-working, and downright awesome folks who have spent time in our Studio over the years, "Thank You!"

As a token of our appreciation, we're having a birthday sale! Save 25% on our online Ruby and Rails courses through December 2nd:

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New iOS 8 with Swift Course

September 18, 2014

Ready to get started building great iOS 8 apps using Apple's new Swift programming language and Xcode 6? Now is a great time to make a fresh start!

Our popular iOS Development course has been redesigned for the latest SDK, language, tools, and techniques. Learn how to create full-featured iOS apps from scratch using Swift in this hands-on training course taught by Daniel Steinberg at your location. This 4-day course is designed for teams of 5 or more experienced developers who are new to iOS development and who are not yet familiar with the Swift Programming Language.

We've been teaching iOS development continually since the SDK was first officially released. Alumni of this course have gone on to build some amazing apps and we'd love to help your team do the same! They'll come away from this course ready to create their first iOS 8 app, or improve an existing app. They'll also have a deeper understanding of the principles and patterns behind iOS app development so they can get the most out of the platform.

Get a jump-start on iOS 8 and Swift by scheduling an on-site training session today!

Happy Birthday, Rails!

July 25, 2014

It was 10 years ago today that David Heinemeier Hansson announced Rails. It seems like only yesterday, and at the same time it's hard to remember what web development (or even our lives!) was like before Rails.

I recall being fed up with all the make-work involved in building J2EE apps, and Rails felt like a breath of fresh air. Coincidentally, I had been playing around with Ruby and looking for a way to use it in earnest. Building web apps with Rails offered an ideal opportunity to really dig into Ruby. And so I quickly made the jump and never looked back.

A year or so later with two Rails apps in production, Dave Thomas and I thought it might be fun to teach a public course on Rails. Nicole volunteered to coordinate it and the good folks at FGM graciously offered us a great space to teach. We figured if the first course went well then we might have enough interest to do a couple more. Turns out that the first course sold out and The Pragmatic Studio was born. Fast-forward 9 years, and we're still happily teaching Ruby and Rails! It's been an amazing ride.

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Using Scopes to Write Custom Queries in Rails

July 15, 2014

In our Rails Level I course we look at how to define custom queries by writing class methods in models. For example, to find all events that occurred in the past (versus upcoming events), we write a past method in the Event model and then query past events using Event.past.

We build on that foundation in our Rails Level II course by learning how to write custom queries using the declarative style offered by the scope method. A scope simply names a chunk of query code, and behind the scenes it dynamically defines a class method that encapsulates the query code.

One of the keys to writing a scope is to make the query code a callable Ruby object (also called a Proc object). It's at this point that many folks are first exposed to a Ruby lambda, or the more cryptic -> shortcut. As a quick introduction to how lambdas work, check out this 3-minute excerpt from the Scopes module in our Rails Level II course where we convert the past class method to a scope:

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