Learning New Things
Learning New Things
A story of how tackling an uncomfortable stack helped a programmer learn new technologies like NPM and AngularJS.
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It’s mid-2015. Our product and platform had evolved from a pure Java application to a mixed-technology web-based solution, and I found myself realizing that I had to up my game. I’d built many web applications before. But my drive to hone my skills was coming from the company’s need to move ahead with a faster, better, more modern product development approach using technologies that were somewhat new to me: NPM, Bower, AngularJS, Grunt, Karma, Jasmine… there was a good-sized list of them.
As a software engineer I’ve always believed that it’s my responsibility to contribute powerfully to the team’s delivery. By that I mean that I should be able to tackle any problem with confidence, knowing that the solution would flow from my keyboard as fast as I could think it up. That was definitely not happening with this web stack, so it was time to do something about it. I’m a big fan of learning by doing, so I decided to take it on by creating a small application to exercise my weaknesses using the very technology stack that made me uncomfortable.
Fast-forward to 2016. Having spent many evenings and weekends buffing up my skills, it’s been over 9 months now since I’ve had any misgivings about my ability to deliver and it feels great! In the process I’ve created a personal finance application using Java and AngularJS.
I’ve open-sourced my finance application not only because I find it useful, but because it’s a great showcase of an architecture and many of the techniques and technologies of Tasktop’s integration platform. Feel free to take a look – you’ll get a sense as to the technology stack that we use at Tasktop, and what it might be like to work with our platform codebase (we’re hiring!).
The client-side architecture looks something like this:
The somewhat typical AngularJS stack includes bootstrap, sass, font-awesome and chart.js. Testing dependencies include jasmine, karma and phantomjs, built with npm, Grunt and Bower.
The server-side architecture looks something like this:
Unlike the Tasktop platform, which is a proper server-side web application, this is a desktop application. There’s a somewhat novel approach to hosting this all inside of a single JavaFX process with a WebView while still using web services:
This approach enables coding of a “normal” AngularJS application using standard JAX-RS REST services, but as a desktop application. This has the benefit of leveraging a solid modern web architecture with good separation of concerns, with great web technologies for UI development.
I hope that you enjoy having a look at the souce.
This article was originally published on greensopinion.com.
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