AngularJS in 30 Days Mused on

At Bluleadz, where I work, we are starting a new initiative for employee improvement where we do 30 day skill sprints. The idea is to pick a skill/technology you don’t know well or even at all and see how well we can learn it in just 30 days. For my sprint I chose AngularJS, with my poor JS skills this should be fun…

How the 30 day idea was born

We’re in a bit of a unique situation as web designer/developers. We’re a pretty small team with only 3 people and 80-90% of our clients are using the HubSpot platform, severely limiting pretty much any of our options as far as technology stacks are concerned. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but we don’t get the opportunity to try lots of new things because of it.

Our department is finally mostly caught up on all our one-off-project and monthly client work freeing up our days a bit. Because of this we finally have time to do training and continuing education the way our marketers can. Couple this with the fact that our department manager (he’ll be participating too) is going on a 30ish day trip and the 30 day skill sprint was born.

We all picked a skill we didn’t know at all. My supervisor chose the Google Sheets JSON API + Handlebars, my coworker chose Polymer and I chose AngularJS. We’re all going all in on learning our discipline, and at the end of the 30 days when my boss gets back from his trip we’re going to see how much progress we made. The hope is that we will have some new tricks up our sleeve, maybe some new ways of thinking about and tackling a problem, and we all will have a improved a bit as web workers.

I have some good reasons for choosing AngularJS

First, I am piss poor at JavaScript, so anything requiring me to write lots of it is going to help me on that front. Improving my JS skills was on my self growth list during my last employee review, so it’s important that I improve. I am also very jQuery dependent, so I’m excited to work with something much closer to raw Javascript.

Second, it can be implemented inside HubSpot if we wanted to, which means its actually something I’ll be able to use. That’s actually a big deal as we’re often locked out of doing a lot of cool stuff because of HubSpot (even if what the platform does for our clients makes up for that). I can already think of a few projects where it would have been much more elegant that what we ended up doing.

Third, it can be used to build mobile apps. I realize that HTML5 apps are the red-headed step child of the the app world, but hey at least it could work. The first “app” I plan on making is an improved version the web page I serve my Android Wear watch faces from.

My 30 day roadmap

Truth time, I may have already taken a few day head start. I’m about halfway through Code School’s Shaping Up with AngularJS course. I feel like I’m grasping everything pretty well so far, and on the templating side of things AngularJS is near identical to Jinja2 which we use everyday as part of HubSpot (in the form of HubL). Once I finish this course I plan on taking Codecademy’s AngularJS course. Between the two of them I should have a firm grasp on the basics. I’m currently looking for some middle of the road courses/tutorials (recommendations would be awesome if you have any). Alongside working through those I’m hoping to start work on my watch face app.

See you in a month

That’s probably going to take my whole 30 days right there. If I can even make a small dent in the watch face app I’m going to call it a success. I’m not expecting pretty code, I’m not expecting efficient code and I’m not expecting proficiency. Realistically, I’m hoping just be able to remember everything I learn an not need to look up what to do for every line I write. I’ll check back in when the 30 days are up.

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