Overwhelmed by Practicality

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Once upon a time, I took a glance at web development and found it was “killer” — in more ways than one.  I then threw my heart and soul into….reinventing the wheel, basically.  Then time, age, distractions and responsibilities crept up on me. I have had to make some decisions about how to make the best use of my time: how much am I able and willing to devote to learning new skills, given my current responsibilities and priorities?

How much sense does it make to create an application that duplicates what not one, but two existing applications (Access and Base) already can do for me perfectly adequately?  Such an effort could be justified if it helped me learn skills that could be useful, and even profitable, in the future.   How useful would the ability to create desktop-only software actually be, in a 21st century world that is rapidly turning to the web as its platform of choice for ALL computing, not just browsing, social networking and online shopping?  Answer: Not very.

Now, two years almost to the day after I took the HTML course at Codecademy, I am embarking on a new quest: learn web development with Python.  The tools are right in front of me:  good old RealPython has not one, but two huge ebooks on web development, that have been gathering digital dust on my hard drive.   My goal is to work through it slowly, so that I understand the concepts.  I have already made progress in grasping virtualenv and command-line Git.  At the moment my brain is tied in knots by Python decorators, but then again, it was once tied in knots by Python importing, so I’m confident I’ll wrestle through it.  At least I was able to complete the Flask Blog exercise.  I even typed out all the code by hand instead of copying and pasting, just like Michael told me to!

I would like to eventually create a web-based finance application, just like I did in Access and Base.  That will take time, however, and in the meantime, I still need to pay bills and track expenses, so Base will do, for now. I would say one of the most useful accomplishments during this blog’s lifetime was to get my financial data from my Access *.accdb file into SQLite, making the live data 100% portable.

As I (slowly, I expect) progress through the two RealPython web development courses, feel free to stop by GitHub to check on my progress!

Oh, and one more thing I’ve learned since my last post: Cities: Skylines is an even cooler game than SimCity4.

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