Raven Covington

My Thoughts and Feelings on All Things Tech

Know Your Tools, Know Their Worth

by Raven

Posted on August 12, 2015 at 12:10 AM

Let's start this blog post by getting the important stuff out of the way first. Yes this blog title was inspired by Drake's "Know Yourself" because why wouldn't it? You should probably crank up "Know Yourself" in your preferred streaming app for an optimal reading session. Anyways, I wanted to talk bit about how helpful knowing your tools can be when you're new to software development. Once you get a basic understanding of version control and how to use Git, it's incredibly helpful to learn how to not let Git slow you down. The first step to that is creating some awesome Git aliases. Git aliases are just shorthand for often used git commands. It helps you speed up your development time and become more efficient. Instead of trying to remember if it's `git commit --verbose` or `git commit -verbose`, you can just type `gco` and keep it moving.

So let's go step by step of how you'd actually set up these aliases.

Step 1: From your terminal, cd to your home directory (`$ cd ~`). Open your .gitconfig file just as you'd open any other Ruby file. If for some reason you don't have a .gitconfig file, you can always create one with the command `$ touch .gitconfig`.

Step 2: Copy and paste this bit into the bottom of your .gitconfig file.

# Colorful git log of all branches
gl = log --graph --all --branches --decorate --pretty=format:'[%C(auto)%h%Creset][%C(cyan)%an %ar%Creset]%C(auto)%d%Creset %s %C(auto)%Creset'
# Lists of all commits on branch
ls = log --stat --all --decorate
s = status
# Opens your editor so you can include a longer commit msg
cm = commit --verbose
co = checkout
b = branch
cp = cherry-pick
d = diff
dc = diff --cached
a = add

That was so easy! Just two steps and now you have some pretty useful git aliases set up. Just know that these are my shortcuts that I feel comfortable with. If you're prefer the alias for branch to be `br` instead of `b`, go for it. You can add other git commands and all of them follow this same pattern.

Now to use these aliases, all you have to do is type `git` before the alias and the commands work exactly as if you'd typed them out long hand.

**This post is about Git-- if you're not familiar with it yet, try out Git-It. I've heard great things.

I started a book club... by accident

by Raven

Posted on March 26, 2015 at 2:37 PM

Let me start off by telling you a little bit about me. I believe in saying yes to everything. It's a decision that that has served me we'll and introduced me to amazing opportunities.

"Would you like to taste this free sample?" "Yep"

"Are you interested in getting a cup of coffee with me?" "Sure"

"I'm flying to Brussels. Want to come?" "Um, YES"

When you say yes, you often find yourself in interesting situations. (Side note: Of course, I'm not urging you to say yes if someone asks you to rob a bank. Unless, you're playing Grand Theft Auto. If that's the case, then totally go for it.)

A few days ago, I asked folks in the Tech 404 slack if anyone could recommend some good programming books to read. A couple of people piped up and said they were interested in reading as well. Then, someone suggested starting a Tech 404 book club. So I did.

We held our first discussion Tuesday night. Everyone involved felt the discussion went well. People shared their experiences with design as well as their opinion on what makes good design. Originally, the talk was only set to last an hour but we ended up going a half hour over schedule. People had so much to say. It was wonderful. It seems that saying yes served me well once again.

Join us every other Tuesday at 8pm in the Tech404_book_club channel in the Tech 404 slack. Right now, we're reading Sandi Metz's Practical Object Oriented Design book. See you there.

tests, twitter, and teaching

by Raven

Posted on February 9, 2015 at 1:45 PM

I’m going to start off here being honest with you guys. I’m in love with the Internet. Like real love. Like The Notebook love. Like the Internet is BAE love. I’m that person you see with my phone (sans case) always in my hand because I’m constantly using apps that allow me to connect with the rest of the world.

Oftentimes, all of that can be a huge time drainer. But I’ve found that twitter is one of the most useful sites of the web. It lets you connect with strangers in a way that no other app does. The other week, I was banging my head against the wall because Rspec was just not sticking. Most of my tests were failing and I couldn’t understand why the ones that actually passed worked. Enter twitter. I sent out a tweet along the lines of, “Does anyone know of Rspec material for a beginner?” Almost immediately, people began responding to my tweet and retweeting it. About an hour later, I struck a conversation with a stranger who lives on the other side of the country. He offered to make me a screencast to go over basic Rspec testing. He taught me so much and I feel much more confident about Rspec now. This stranger knew what it like to learn something new and he wanted to help.

One of the most beautiful things about the developer community is that people are just down right nice. There is always someone out there to help you. If you’re not on twitter yet, you’re making a (*Arrested Development Gob voice*) huge mistake. Twitter will connect you with the people you need to know. Sometimes it might even surprise you.

Hello World

by Raven

Posted on January 5, 2015 at 1:48 PM

I’ve never blogged before so bare with me, friends. I’m beginning my journey into becoming a Software Engineer. Specifically, I’m learning about to become a Ruby Developer. I’ve managed to cobble together my money and I’m beginning General Assembly’s Web Development Immersive January 12th. My goal with this blog is to document my learning and eventually begin blogging about different technologies.