Jackie Johnston

Ruby on Rails Developer

Ruby: Spelling Out Numbers

The Challenge: Create a method in_words that takes an integer greater than zero as an argument and no matter how big it is transforms it into a string of English words. For example:

Tape Up Your Photos With CSS3

Probably the most fun I had while doing an independent study project as part of my Dev Bootcamp prep work was figuring out how to turn an image into one that looks like it’s been taped to a chalkboard.

CSS for a Desktop With Polaroids

One of the challenges I was tasked with recently in my pre- Dev Bootcamp prep work, was to create an HTML/CSS page to “share something you love and something quirky about yourself.” I created a page that looks like a desktop with Polaroid photos, a pencil, eraser and Post-it note strewn over it.

Making a Bare Bones Blog With Rails

So I really like my Octopress blog. It has a lot of bells and whistles, which is what you’d expect for something pre-packaged. But I am setting up a blog for someone who doesn’t want to install a Ruby on Rails environment and learn the shell commands necessary to run an Octopress blog. He just wants a simple, bare bones blog where he can write about SQL server database management. At the very least I’d like to give him the capability of having pretty code blocks in his blog. I would also like to run it on Heroku since I’m more or less familiar with deploying applications there at this point. (And it’s free!)

Responsive Design Makeover

Lately, I’ve been reading up on CSS and responsive web design:

Reading only gets you so far though. I learn best by doing. So when I read a recent blog post, Why I moved to Miami & you should too, by a Miami web developer, Auston Bunsen, challenging his readers to win a free RubyConf ticket by doing “something awesome” I thought maybe I should play with a CSS redesign of his blog. Granted, I’m pretty sure he meant something awesome with Ruby. Unfortunately, as a Ruby noob, that’s not going to happen. So this is a just-for-fun self-assignment. (Don’t get me wrong, I would love, love, love to go to RubyConf in Miami, but even if I was a Ruby guru already, I really suck at contests. So why not just use this as an excuse to teach myself something cool?)

Anyway, I’m guessing Mr. Bunsen designed his blog to be read on mobile devices. His CSS has his content looking its best when viewed on a screen 320 – 500px wide, basically iPhone size. But what if you wanted to optimize for both mobile and desktop? With CSS, you can do both.

Setting Up an Octopress Blog on Heroku

Octopress is a blogging platform built with Ruby on Rails. I chose it because it served to teach me about customizing and deploying Rails applications, and also because it has this nifty code markup (see some examples below) ready to go. Like most things at this point, I had a lot of missteps in setting it up, so I’m writing this set of instructions to help other newbies hopefully avoid some of the pitfalls I encountered.