Always Learning

Posted by Will Long | about 4 years ago

Week Two has come and gone. This has been a bit of a crazy week: a lot of writing, a lot of coding, and a lot of Google Hangouts. I’ve been working from 11 to 5:30, which works well for me. Wednesday I took an important call from home because it was before my normal hours.
I’ve spent a lot of time writing up different announcements around the move toward "One Pearson", both internal and external. We also sent out our monthly newsletter today (subscribe here). There were some important updates regarding upcoming changes in API service. If you rely on any of our APIs and haven’t checked it out yet, you can here.
The best part of the week was getting to know Google’s Polymer with Tristan. He had already written some Polymer components using the Financial Times API. I have been working on some similar components for the Dictionary API.
Web Components are a big deal. In case you haven’t read his post yet, web components are basically just custom HTML tags. “Just,” meaning once you’ve composed one, you can insert it into any page like you would a div or span tag. Each component is beautifully self-contained because any internal definitions remain internal. The exceptions are tag attributes, which can be exposed intentionally for configuration. Polymer is to web components what JQuery is to Javascript. Both access a more complex underlying API to provide a simple and expressive interface.
I did have a few problems while writing components. Polymer and the browser are maybe too forgiving with mistakes. When an import is forgotten, it simply doesnt apply the component. Missing an angle bracket, it won’t tell you where. Oddly, I had forgotten one at the end of an import inside a custom element, and it ended up overwriting styles defined in my example page (which held an instance of the component). HTML and Javascript errors are always (usually) very quiet, but now in trying to rigorously design web-based applications, testing is difficult and debugging more so. There are a few unit testing tools for Polymer that I have come across but I haven’t tried them yet.
Even with these issues, it’s been a joy to write Polymer components. Hopefully I’ll be releasing them into the ecosystem over the coming week, along with a demo application. I’m really excited to talk about our progress and I’m sure both me and Tristan will have more to tell you about any technologies we experiment with.
Thanks for reading! Again, you can keep up with me here, in the comments. Follow me on Twitter, @willllong. If you see Ueliem anywhere (except Twitter), that’s probably me too.

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Always Learning