A Long Day of Coding

I got @ and : and | and {} and <% dancing in my head. The Ruby on Rails Training went quite well.  The instructor was Aron Pilhofer. He’s the editor of interactive news technology at the NY Times.  I first met him at the UT Online Journalism Symposium, and was glad to have the chance to learn from him today. He’s also presenting on a panel later this week on the NY Times Election coverage.

The class was excellent.  I learned some basics, things that I haven’t had time to delve into.  For example, the Rails part provides the framework, Ruby is the language.  It’s a Web development framework, built primarily for form-based content management. With a few commands, you can have a very rudimentary form that captures date to a database and displays it back.  I’ve done this with PHP/MySQL, and the smallest feature was very time-consuming, so much coding to get the most basic functionality.  But, with R on R, it’s a piece of cake.  You have to have Ruby running on your server and then install Rails and a few other things to get the development environment running.  After the basic coding of making the initial system, you can do lots to improve design and functionality.  Very intuitive. And, I like the separation of design from business rules, similar to the way html/css separates content and design.  The environment consists of View, Controllers, and Modules to make this happen.  I’ll definitely be incorporating next semester in the Advanced Online media course.  As legend has it (and this site), Twitter was developed into prototype in 2 weeks using Ruby on Rails.

Met some cool people, would like to spend more time chatting with, Joshua Hatch, multimedia producer, USA Today; Rich Gordon, Director of Digital Technology in Education at Medill, Northwestern; and Joshua Benton, the director of the Nieman Digital Journalism Project at Harvard University. They all had very encouraging things to say about students with a strong data perspective on the future of media.

The keynote speaker tomorrow is Tina Brown, journalist, editor, talk-show host, and author.  i’ll be interested in her take on online media. There’s a Facebook app development session and one on integrating Web journalism in college curriculum (a pretty timely topic!!!). See tomorrow’s schedule here.

I promise to take photos.

Saw Anna Tauzin today.  She graduated from TX State in August, moved straight on up to grad school at American University and immediately got a coveted internship at the J-Lab.  I’m very proud of what Anna is doing, and plan to spend some more time chatting later in the week.

And, I’m trapped here until Sunday, it’s official. Hope you are all doing well, loved ones safe and sound.

Don’t forget to watch the twitter. Some interesting things happening out there twitter.com/croyal. We’ll discuss next week.



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