When I initially thought about how I’d rebuild Lists of Bests, I had in mind to use some technologies that were somewhat new to me, so I’d have a chance to learn along the way. Well, since that post those new technologies aren’t all that new to me anymore. At my new(-ish) position at Arcadia, I’ve been writing quite a bit of React along with Ruby on Rails (and its API capabilities). So, there isn’t that much of a need to learn those tools from scratch.
So, what to use instead? Well, I’m thinking it may be Python and the latest version of Angular (I still work some in AngularJS 1.x, but not at all with any version greater than 1.6). Why these? Well, I think the primary goal of getting the app up and running again was to use the process as a learning opportunity. If I’m using familiar technologies that I’ve used before, or currently during my day job, then it won’t be as much of a learning experience.
I’ve kick-starting my learning with the ebook version of Python Crash Course, and along side that, the Flask Mega-Tutorial. The book is doing a fantastic job of teaching me the basics, and the Flask tutorial is helping me get a handle on pieces of the web programming side. The Python Crash Course book does include a Django section which I haven’t encountered yet, but I think Flask may be more along the lines of what I would use for Lists of Bests.
It was great to see how Pete (aka RasterWeb) is starting to learn Python as well. In his post, he mentions how “learning a new (computer) language is probably easier now than it was 25 years ago” and I totally agree. Way back when - like with Pete, I was probably learning Perl - the resources available were much more limited than they are now. Just getting your system set up to run a particular language could take a long time with lots of trial and error. Now, with tools like Homebrew on a Mac, and Chocolatey on Windows, getting a programming environment up and running only takes a few minutes.
Making this change may make it take a bit longer to get the old site up and running, but I think it’ll be worth it. I’m excited to actually get it started soon.