What I learned from two weeks with Django

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I experienced my first official days as a programmer (something I never strived to be). My current project for the INN Nerds team is a Django application to display a database table with a nice design and include search/filter functionality. Sounds easy, right? Well, as a Django noob, this project proved challenging. I encountered so many new issues and errors that I was close to breaking down in tears many times.

On my own, I was able to tackle most of the simple errors (missing commas, missing modules) but got stuck on the more advanced errors, for which I relied on Google and the better programmers around me.

Here are some things I learned:

  1. Everything comes together: Django puts in practice working with the database as well as designing. You’re a front-end and a back-end developer all in one day.
  2. It’s more important to be able to read, interpret, and reuse another programmer’s code than to write your own. Most functionality you’ll ever need has already been written. If you can find it, use it!
  3. Documentation is key. Good documentation is to die-for, and the Django documentation is the best I have seen. At first I found it a bit boring to write docs, but once you see how someone else benefits from good documentation, and once you yourself benefit from someone’s good deed, then you value it.
  4. Learn to ask for help. Google is great for many things, but nothing beats having someone to explain things to you. I admin, with most people I feel ashamed to ask the dumb questions, but if I have one or two close individuals with more experience, I rely on them to ask the silly noob things. I also was able to Tweet some of my issues and got great replies!

As far as my experience with Django, it is the first framework I feel comfortable with. Even as a beginner, and even without understanding many of the concepts behind Django, I feel more comfortable with it than with a framework like WordPress.

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