Getting started with Ember.js

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I played around with Ember.js on and off last year and after building some quick demos I decided to invest some real time in building real web apps with it. I have been keeping track of some useful tips and resources for people starting out with Ember.js.

Ember.js Guides

The official Ember.js Guides and Tutorials walks you through the very basic concepts for someone starting out, and slowly getting into more “advanced” concepts and features. Those guides are truly written in a simple to understand tone only using technical jargon where necessary. I definitely suggest going over these guides before starting out with Ember. I’ve kept them handy since they are also useful for future reference.

The guides also have a very useful section, Cookbook. It provides answers and solutions to common Ember questions and problems.

Ember.js API

The Ember.js API is usually my second go-to website. It’s very useful to learn about the different available classes that make up Ember. It contains usage examples for methods, properties, and events. They also link directly to where they are defined, if you are into checking out the source code.

Ember CLI

Ember CLI is an Ember.js command line utility. It provides an ideal project structure based on Ember App Kit. For building anything more than a simple demo using Ember CLI makes a lot of sense and makes building with Ember way easier.

Useful content

Learning by doing

I’ve always found that the best way to get started with new technology is to pick a project and just work on it.

Learning from others

Learning from other people’s work is also very helpful. There are many people that are really active on the Ember.js community either because they are part of the core team or just love the framework and contribute back to other open source projects. When in doubt check out some of these influential organization’s/individual’s open source projects.

Getting Help

The Ember community uses StackOverflow to track questions. So its a good rule of thumb to search on SO before asking around. You can also join the Ember.js Discussion Forum which is usually a good place to discuss features and best practices.

The IRC channel #emberjs on Freenode is usually very active and is a good place to find people that might help you out. Apart from being polite, it’s usually a good idea to have code that you can show, so others can reproduce your problem. Don’t copy code on IRC, instead use something like JS Bin.

Let me know if you have any other useful tips, resources, etc…

Barcamp Viejo San Juan

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Last Barcamp we organized was back in 2012 in Mayagüez. The one before that was in 2011, and the first one was back in 2010.

We already have a date for the next Barcamp Viejo San Juan, Tuesday, June 3 at 7PM. This time we’ll be meeting at Piloto151 in Old San Juan.

For those that don’t know what a Barcamp is, Barcamp is a conference in which the guests become the event speakers. We expect everybody to make a 10 minute presentation to the rest of the audience. The idea is to encourage the exchange of ideas in an open and interactive environment.

Even though the ideal situation would be that everybody gets a chance to present, we know it’s not possible. We’ll have 20 reserved spaces and they will be available on a first come-first served basis.  If there’s not enough time or you are not ready to present, the least we expect is for everybody to interact with questions, suggestions, and help create an environment of interaction with the presenters.

The format for presentations will be 10 minutes and focused around the topics like:

  • Web development & design
  • iPhone / iPad application design & development
  • Software development in general
  • Mobile application design & development
  • Interaction Design, information architecture, user experience
  • Tech startups & venture capital

Spots for presenting are limited so if you’d like to present you should arrive early. Like always, we’ll do everything possible to make this event another #win.

We’ll have beers, some hors d’oeuvres, and t-shirts. Please let us know you plan to attend by RSVP’ing on the Eventbrite event page. This helps us plan for space and food accordingly. 

Internet Speed Tests on a Raspberry Pi

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A couple of weeks ago soynerdito soynerdito shared a bot he made to tweet internet connection speed results every now and then.

I then remembered I had a Raspberry Pi I wasn’t using at all. So I built a small app that runs speed tests every 3 hours. It’s based on speedtest-cli which is a Command line interface for testing internet bandwidth using speedtest.net.

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The easiest way to add WebSockets to Django

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TL;DR - I came up with a very simple solution to handle WebSockets in Django apps. You just install django-websocket-request, run a script and you have WebSockets for your Django app. The cool thing is that this solution makes Django believe its getting a (somewhat) normal HTTP request so you can reuse almost all of you application’s code. Plays nicely with Django REST Framework and with plain function-based views and class-based views. Check out the demo and it’s source code on GitHub.

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Auth with JSON Web Tokens

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When it comes to implementing authentication on web apps, one solution you’ll definitely hear about first are cookies. Cookie-based authentication uses a server side cookies to authenticate the user on every request. This means that you’ll need to keep a session store, whether it’s on a database or on something like Redis. A solution you’ll probably not hear as often is token-based authentication which relies on a signed token that is sent to the server on each request.

Alberto Pose over at Auth0 wrote a great blog post about Cookie vs Tokens, diagrams how both of these method works, and goes over the benefits of using a token-based approach for authentication.

There’s a relatively new standard called JSON Web Token that happens to be backed by companies like Firebase, Google, Microsoft, and Zendesk. There are already many libraries to handle encoding and decoding of this tokens in the backend.

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