September 08, 2014

Posted by Sherri Flemings | File under : , , ,
I just discovered this nifty little tool to generate the API docs for Stitchcrafter. It's called apiDoc, and I had it integrated into my grunt build in a few minutes. 30 minutes later, I had my existing docblocks converted to the custom @api tags, and now I have a nice looking document for my API.
Screenshot of my first API document using the default template
There are a few issues I've noticed, but they're only minor, and compared to other tools I've tried in this category it has the best out-of-the-box results so far. I may end up forking this to address these issues and help keep this project awesome :)

My favourite bits:

  • very easy to integrate into any project 
  • the version compare feature
  • modern clean look as the default template
  • open source with the ability to create your own custom tag parsers
Response examples are automatically grouped into a tabbed pane with the default template.

Minor Issues:

  • It assumes error messages are 4XX (I may be able to fix this with a custom template)
  • I'd like to automate the endpoint versioning, I don't like the idea of always having to manually add/update the version with each code update. (This is something I may be able to set up using the grunt preprocess task though)
  • The ability to easily add documentation that isn't for an endpoint. Since all my error objects are the same shape, I wanted to group them under an 'Errors' heading. I managed to fudge it for now using the @api tags, but the template tries to format it as if it had a url endpoint. I think I can probably just create my own parser for this as well.

I haven't spent much time using it yet, but I think this is my new goto API generator. You can dig into it here:
Happy documenting :)

September 05, 2014

Posted by Sherri Flemings | File under : , , , , , , , , , ,
Please kids, don't try this at home!

Actually, you SHOULD try this. It was so much fun, even if it it didn't turn out quite the way I wanted, it did turn out to be one of the coolest birthday gifts I've made so far, for the coolest dude I know. I will try to overlook the horrendous event horizon of gross fluff that still haunts me and threw a dark shadow over my love for this cake and share the making of the most epic cake I've made so far.

I threw myself into this project. We talked about nothing else for about 2 weeks. Unfortunately I can't seem to find the original sketch, but our cake brainstorming went something like this:
J: Hey babe, I think I'd like a Stargate cake this year.
S: Cool. That might be tricky, but I think I can do it.
S: Oh man! What if we could have a tardis coming out of the stargate?
J: And spock!
S: Oh, and we could put a jaws fin in there too... we should keep it simple, and that's funny.
J: Maybe a sandworm too? That might be easy.
S: We could have the wicked witch of the east's feet sticking out of the bottom of the cake. That would be awesome.
It went on like this for a while, basically until there was waaaaay too much to fit on one cake.

After re-reading some of my cake decorating books, and blogs and you-tubing a whack of how-to's I set out on the main attraction, the TARDIS topper. I created a template that would fit within the cake and stargate measurements and stand about 4 inches tall.
12 pieces of hand cut and painted fondant. I didn't have a square cutter, so these panels took longer than I'd care to admit. The wood grain effect was created by dragging a modelling tool around the surface until it looked like wood.
I icing-glued the panels to a super squished compact GF rice cereal treat I made. It was tough to get it even, especially since I goofed and made all the panels the same size. I think they would have fit better if I made the 2 sides a bit smaller than the front and back pieces. I sculpted the door hardware and the lantern on top, the signage is courtesy of our printer.
I was really happy with how this turned out, even with the mistakes. I could have stopped here, and plopped this on any old cake and it would have been just fine... but Sherri doesn't stop at 'just fine'. I'll scrounge up the Lego figures in progress and add another post about them soon.

Just in case soon turns into 'not soon', here's a shot of the finished cake.
Did I mention it was gluten free? 

June 24, 2014

Posted by Sherri Flemings | File under : , ,
So, I got an email a few weeks ago from a total stranger asking if he could find Backronym Hero out in the wild. I was shocked to discover that anyone besides a few friends and family read this, and then I felt bad for neglecting my blog for so long! In my defense, it has been a crazy year, moving across Canada... again, 3 job changes, saying goodbye to my sweet little kitty after 17 years and did I mention all that moving and driving and job changing?

So what is the deal with Backronym Hero? Well, I have a super buggy alpha version that I haven't touched since last July. Chances are I may not get back to it for quite a while since my current priorities are steering me away from Flash, and away from games (for now)... GASP!

I've been very focused on another project that has been consuming most of my free time, and I'm also coding in PHP and javascript again, and surprisingly I'm loving it. I was investigating technologies to use for this new project, and I was purposely ignoring PHP since I had grown very tired of Zend, CodeIgniter and my beloved Yii. I was intrigued by Node.js, the thought of being able to use the same language for the back-end as well as the front-end is very appealing. I definitely enjoy working with node, but it wasn't a good fit for this particular project. Next, I went down the java road, then .net... and in both cases I found them to be cost-prohibitive. So, after struggling through the unpleasantness of working in PHP again I stumbled across a mention of Laravel (in a Yii forum actually).

I was definitely skeptical at first, since I've been bitten by PHP frameworks before, but I have to say that after working with it for about 6 months it really is a great framework to work with. I typically build my web apps so the server layer is just an api, I don't like to build my web pages with server code. A lot of my frustration comes from trying to separate out the view stuff from the server stuff. So far, it's been very easy to build my web apps the way I actually want to with Laravel. In addition to Laravel, the web has really matured in the past 2 years with a lot of great tooling. I seriously haven't been this excited to do web stuff in quite a few years.

Aaaaaanywaaaay, now that I'm settled into the new city, home and job I have a bunch of draft posts waiting to be edited, talking about a lot of the new tools I've been playing with, and this awesome project I'm working on. Until I get around to editing and publishing them, if you find yourself in pain PHP development hell, you should totally check out Laravel. I've also subscribed to Laracasts, I think it's well worth the price.