Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Disable sorting of a column when using Datatables


I recently wrote a post(in the company blog that I currently work for - Cybrilla) on how to use a specific aspect of Datatables. The blog also has some insights on when using Datatables would be a good option. 

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Building the Hangman game as part of a distributed team


I was recently involved in building a Hangman game(as a side project) to improve my Javascript skills. What was unique about this experience was that the work on this project was done in collaboration with folks from different parts of the world. I had a good experience overall and one can read more about my experience from the original article that was published on the Code Newbie site.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Sublime Text 3 shortcuts used as part of my daily workflow

Hello there,

Shortcuts are an integral part of my daily workflow as programmer. Apart from the shortcuts that I use via my oh my zsh dotfile(the ones that come via oh my zsh plugins and the custom ones that I've added on top of those), below are the day to day programming shortcuts that I use wrt Sublime Text 3 for Mac OSX.

I'd be happy to know if you find any of them useful.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Crossed 10k blog views - a blog about how to make your blog better(reflecting back on my blogging experiences - part 3).

Greetings everyone,

This is my last post(part 3) as part of the series - "Crossed 10k blog views - reflecting back on the experiences of being a blogger". You can read the blogs on part 1 - Why you should consider blogging and part 2 - a blog on how to blog of the series as well. I've been wanting to talk about the third part for a while now and I'm happy that I finally was able to roll it out. I know this post was expected to be published sometime earlier but somehow it just got postponed, I'm sorry for the delay from my end. Below are my two cents on how could one make their blogpost better and thereby be a better blogger.

In no particular order, here goes nothing -

1. The title of your post matters. Choose wisely here as this is the first thing that any reader would see when they visit your blog. Also, please note this is the first thing your blog subscribers would see in the subject wrt the new mails they receive(this is for those readers who've subscribed to your blogs via email updates), Keeping it concise is great and when you find that doing so is hard, try to see if you can choose alternate words to help keep your blogpost title short.

2. Read others blog and see what you find nice about their blog and the way they've gone about writing it. Next time around you might want to embrace that one nice thing you saw in somebody else's blog to give your blog a unique flavor. Talking about flavor reminds me of food :). People make Yummy food by trying different combinations ;) . Just make sure you make an informed decision on this and don't simply go out the way when experimenting new things as part of a new blog. Take in the new ideas one at a time and see how each new addition is responded to by your valuable readers.

3. Break things down

In the body section of your blog it'd be nice if you'd break each of the things you want to talk about in smaller paragraphs instead of talking about all of them in one huge para. A body can easily form 3-5 small paras(or more, just quoting an e.g., here) and that would look any day more neater than say 2 huge paras.

4. Label(or in other words tag) your blog appropriately so that people could search(if the blogging platform that you use supports that feature) for the blog post via keywords they'd enter in the search bar once they visit your blog site.

5. Choose a blogging platform wisely where you think you'd like to regularly blog from. Personally for me, Blogger as a platform serves many of my needs very well. Below are some reasons why I think so -
a. It allows me label my posts and folks can easily search from the posts that I've written so far by using appropriate labels in the search bar.
b. Through their stats feature that they provide I get a better idea of which posts people like and it also helps me better understand what was good about this post when compared to say a previous one and that way I can learn by filling in some missing gaps(helping me overcome some of the mistakes I've been making in my earlier posts) instead of simply repeating the same mistake again.
c. It allows me to easily integrate certain built in widgets as well some custom widgets. An e.g., widget that I use is 'Follow by Email'.

6. Highlight things in bold wherever you think it's important. This really helps to give your readers a quick summary of important takeaways from your post.

7. Less is more - yes and no

As a blogger, for quite a while I wasn't sure if my blog should be of a specific length. IMHO there's no fixed rule to this, may be it just depends on what's the topic of your post. Some posts might need more information and thereby might call for them to be longer, whereas in other cases a shorter post could be just right.

I'll just give you an e.g., of how I went about deciding this for two blogposts that I've written a while ago.

Blog 1(The longer blog) - Newspaper Collection Drive at Cognizant for a Cause - An Experience till the Journey's End

Blog 2(The shorter one) - What are the employability skills required for an entry level engineer in an IT Industry(atleast in India)?

8. A picture is worth a thousand words - use them. I recently was listening to an audiobook on 'Your Brain at Work' by David Rock and there he very nicely throws light on how a picture talks not only about the multiple entities that come as part of the capture, but also about the relationships among those entities. For e.g., take a picture of somebody's graduation pic you could see a lot of things like - the graduating student, happiness, the university, other folks in the pic(like the parents or a partner etc.,). Now think about this, do you see how wonderfully these entities are connected by just one picture :). Personally, this came as a wonderful insight to me from the book.

9. Use appropriate widgets in the blog to let readers get to know more about you(like the LinkedIn widget, Stackoverflow widget etc.,) and contact you(I've provided my email in the 'About' section of my blog) as a follow up on your blogpost, if they might want to. One thing about being a blogger is that you need to stay connected with your viewers, the folks who comment on your blog etc., These folks are your readers so it's a good thing if you provide them your contact in case they'd want to reach out to you urgently(This can really help if your blog has technical articles too). In the past I've contacted some bloggers through their email wherever I had a follow up question on their original post and wanted a prompt response.

I would like to also add, most recently I've added this widget called 'Pocket' and my readers can very easily save a link to each of my blog posts through this cool widget. It really helps when one say for e.g., has figured out a post towards EOD and has say a bus to catch for the journey back home. That person can simply save a link to my blog via this handy widget and revisit the post anytime in the future. These days, even Twitter has added this to help save a link to each of the tweets that one might find handy. Convenient, isn't it :) .

10. The Learning goes on, ask people and read books on how to blog better if you have may be detailed questions on how to blog better about specific topics. If you're techie, this book on Technical Blogging might be of interest to you.

11. Spreading the word.

Yes, you heard it right, you should spread the word about your post and trust me there is isn't any shame whatsoever in doing it. It's your wall on Facebook or your account on Twitter, you're free to talk about anything appropriate, so simply do it(reminds me of Nike's slogan - 'Just Do It' :)).

The idea is pretty simple, the folks who know what you are as an individual(although the extent they know can vary from person to person) would visit your post and some might like/retweet/favorite your post and the rule is simple, anything with more likes/retweets/favorites automatically draws the attention to other viewers of your twitter feed/ facebook wall.

Do this even on professional platforms like LinkedIn. I think this is very handy especially when you talk about blogposts related to your area of work. In my case for e.g., I sometimes go to the the extent of not only posting my technical blog on Linkedin but also post them in relevant technical groups within the Linkedin platform, narrowing down to what I may believe would be the ideal audience of my post.

12. What should I blog about? Many folks have this question. I've had this question in the past too. From somebody I learnt that one way to figure out what to write about is by simply thinking about something that you wish you could easily find out in the internet but wasn't that easily available unless you actually searched by spending more time than what you'd usually do in general.

13.  Add some humor to your posts. Variety is the spice of life, adding some genuine humor in the way you interact with your audience through your post is just a nice way to connect with your audience and it makes writing even more joyful as you can may be live the thought that yeah, my post actually could get someone to smile :). I also see that speakers do this in the conference talks and audiences enjoy such talks with an element of light humor.

14. Timing of your blog is crucial as well. I kinda relate more to this point from the perspective of the profession I'm in and you might thus find this point subjective in a way. I'm basically a developer and in the software world the technology that I use for development gets updated from time to time and as a result any tech blog that might be applicable now, might just not be that applicable if you delay posting the same blog a month later in case there is some enhancement/new feature added to that technology that helps one get the job done in a better way. Trying to push yourself to roll out tech blogs as early as you could before they lose it's relevance is really worth the effort.

15. Give credits to others where appropriate. If a part of your blog uses something that isn't originally yours, giving credit to the original owner of that specific asset which makes your blog even more complete is probably the least you could do to appreciate their effort especially since it's adding more value to your blog.

Lastly, I believe I still have more things to learn(as mentioned in one of the points above) along the journey of how to be a better blogger. I hope to update this blog as and when I learn more ways to be a better blogger along the way.

Hope the above points help you become a better blogger. In case they did, I'd be happy to hear from you :)


Photo credits - 


Monday, June 22, 2015

How to figure out Runtime Dependencies when using Bower via Rails Assets

Hi there,

The original post of this article was made in the company blog that I'm currently working for(Cybrilla). Please refer to this link for the complete blogpost.

Going forward, there might be quite a few posts which I might directly be posting on the company blog that I work for and I'm planning to share links to those posts on my personal blog. I just wanted to bring this to the kind notice of the readers/subscribers of this blog.

Thank you.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

ReactJS Bangalore June 2015 meetup experience


Recently, I attended my first ReactJS meetup in Bangalore. The meetup was hosted at Codemancers .

Kiran, an organizer of this meetup gave a talk titled Introduction to React Native. You can find the slides used as part of his talk on this link. Below are some quick notes that were jotted down based on the discussions at the meetup around the talk and also around varying experiences of the other attendees who've tried React.

  1. Discussion around ReactJS -
    1. Treat the application as small components
    2. We can compose those components to build large components
    3. jQuery etc., is imperative whereas React is declarative
    4. React handles states differently
    5. React uses different features like composition etc.,
    6. Interestingly React web and native supports writing some basic CSS properties within the React JS file itself.
    7. In react whenever the state changes, we update the view via the Virtual DOM.
    8. React components are tiny and manageable, one has more control over data when using React
  2. Discussion around React Native
    1. React Native is mainly for iOS apps at the moment. Support for Android is something that they've planned for the future.
    2. Development using React native can be done only on Mac at the moment because it depends on things like xcode etc.,
      1. to use in other operating systems Ubuntu → use a mac virtual box..(not officially supported by Apple)
    3. Has a steeper learning curve when compared to reactjs
    4. Learn once and write everywhere principle
    5. React native is mainly for the mobile apps with native experience
    6. Debugging can be done via chrome dev tools
    7. React native implements Flexbox(flexbox is a new layout module for web)
    8. Components like div etc., have equivalent things like View etc.,
    9. They try running react with the iOS simulator
  3. General discussion
    1. People definitely find it better than Angular. One of them even said that react is not only easier for him as a developer, but also it’s useful for other developers on the same project who may not be working on building similar JS stuff
    2. React Native is better than Web in terms of the UI
    3. Check out to help decide which JS framework can be used to better suit your needs.
    4. There is something like even the react developer tools through which you can even change the state or something on those lines.
  4. To get started with react
    1. - It will have all the build tools that we need.
    2. An open source project that Kiran is working on -
  5. Things to research further about in the context of React
    1. ReactJS style guide
      1. Around this topic there was a discussion that folks can use Flux as their application goes bigger in size.
    2. How to write tests in React

Photos taken at the meetup -

I would like to thank Codemancers for hosting us, Kiran for sharing his experiences of using React via his talk and all the attendees for the interesting discussions we had around React.


Since these are quick notes, please feel free to correct me if there is a typo in something or if I've incorrectly mentioned something. Also, please feel free to add more points as comments that were discussed as part of the meetup in case I missed mentioning something, I'll update the post accordingly.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Bangalore Ruby User Group May 2015 Meetup Experience


The May 2015 BRUG meetup was at Amagi Media Labs. I just thought of summarizing some quick notes from the discussions that took place as part of the meetup hoping that it could serve as a reference for those who could and couldn't make it for the meetup.

To give you a background, some of these discussions were around some questions raised by a person who is running a site called Loan Meet using Ruby on Rails. What's unique was this person was doing Rails development on Windows! We had an interesting discussion around 'Rails on Windows' and the person using it admitted that he had to setup additional things for using certain gems in a Windows platform.

Things discussed were -

  1. Somebody from Amagi Labs was giving a presentation into what they're basically into, what problems their addressing and where does Ruby fit into their Tech Stack.
  2. Akash Manohar briefly spoke about asdf an Extendable Version Manager for Ruby, Node.js, Elixir and more
  3. There was a discussion around Elastic Search and Avinasha Shastry from SupportBee mentioned that they Cache Elastic Search setup for Circle CI instead of installing it as part of every build.
  4. People were discussing different deployment options and many of them were suggesting that the Digital Ocean $5 plan is good for starters.
  5. People were talking about Heroku Review apps
  6. For basic mailing options in RoR apps people were discussing the below -
    1. Don’t use mailgun - it's pretty costly
    2. Using Amazon instead is cheap
    3. For Transactional email on behalf of clients people can’t use amazon
  7. I had a question around ways to better manage our assets. Akash from Icicle and somebody else(sorry, I can't properly recall who) mentioned You can use multiple manifest files. That was something I didn't know about earlier.
  8. We were then discussing different ways to manage front end assets -
    1. People were talking about - bower, yeoman, grunt and something called brunch (This actually reminds me of something like breakfast + lunch :)?, jokes apart, this was something which even I hadn't heard of earlier!) .
  9. People were also talking about debugging in production via pry-remote, papertrail, logstash for production related logs. Many of them agreed that using a third party service like papertrail can save you from the responsibility of managing these things by yourself.
  10. Encoding issues, configure git config to better manage carriage returns
  11. We could use SMS services in our Rails apps via Twilio and solutionsinfini .
  12. People were also talking about Prometheus by SoundCloud.

I'd like to thank Amagi Media Labs for hosting us. They've come up with a new office there and I'm just sharing a few snaps(I had asked them if I could click a few snaps) taken there as they're office setup looked interesting :)

Since these are quick notes, please feel free to correct me if there is a typo in something or if I've incorrectly mentioned something. Also, please feel free to add more points as comments that were discussed as part of the meetup in case I missed mentioning something, I'll update the post accordingly.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Crossed 10k blog views - a blog about how to blog(reflecting back on my blogging experiences - part 2).

In my last post(Crossed 10k blog views - experiences of being a blogger part1) I made an attempt to talk about why should one consider blogging on a regular basis. The last post had many of my personal experiences in life as a blogger and how that helped me along the roadtrip of my life.

In this post, I originally thought that I'd share my two cents on what might help one to be a more effective blogger but recently somebody asked me how should they go about writing a blog so I'll be talking about that in this blog first and in the part3 of this blog series(Crossed 10k blog views - sharing my blogging experiences along the way) I will share my two cents about things that I've learnt and which might help you be a better blogger.

The BIG Question - How should one write a blog ?

When I started blogging, I had this question too. I remember writing long paragraphs back then without uniformly structuring my post :). One thing that I've realized is that a blog should have a structure. Something similar to say an email in the modern world and what was like a letter posted by a postman in older days. The blogpost should have an introduction to set the context, a body and a conclusion apart from the post title. Let's talk about each of these basic sections one at a time to better understand what goes into which section -

a. The Introduction

This generally forms the initial paragraph(s) of your blogpost. The first thing that any reader might lay their eyes upon as soon as they might hit your blogpost is the first few paragraphs of the post. These paras talks about what's the idea behind putting up your post or what probably was your motivation behind writing it or basically things on those lines. Think of this like when your watching a movie, there's an intro, then a deep dive and then finally a climax :).

b. The Body

Here's where you'd like to elaborate in more detail what your post is all about. If the details are connected you might want to consider sequencing them. This is the section where one can insert different forms of media(like pictures, videos etc) in their post to make it more meaningful. Please make sure you break down your body in multiple small(say around max 4-6 lines each) paragraphs rather than a couple big ones so that the readers can not only pause to reflect back upon the ideas you've posted in each of these paras but they can also easily find what their looking for when their searching for something specific.

c. The Conclusion

This is where you as an author pen down you final thoughts around the whole idea that your post may talk about. This is a wonderful part of the passage where you can end with an inspirational quote or simply summarise the takeways wrt your post.

Lastly, if you have an option don't forget to label/tag your blog appropriately so that the readers who visit your mail blog site can easily search for one of your specific blog through these keywords.

That's basically it about how do you write a blog :)

In case you have any suggestions around this post to help one get started with their blogging journey feel free to share your views in the comments section. I'll be happy to learn from others experiences of how they got started on this too :)

Thank you. 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Crossed 10,000 blog views - Reflecting back on the experiences I've had along the journey of being a blogger(part 1)

Today is just not another day for me, looking back at my journey of being a blogger(which is one of the multiple hats that many people wear as part of their lives), today is a special day. I'm thankful to all the viewers who've visited my blog as if it wouldn't be for them I wouldn't have crossed the 10,000 views mark. Today, I would like to talk about blogging and how it has helped me till date in many ways  both personally and professionally and also what I've learnt along the journey so far in my attempts to be a better blogger.

People generally would like to know why they should do something(part 1 - here I will attempt to share experiences of how blogging has benefited me) before they would want to know how it is done better(part 2 - I will share my two cents of learnings of what might possibly help you to be a better blogger from my experience) so I will talk about things in that order in a series of posts starting from this one.

The BIG question(for some may be), How has blogging personally and professionally impacted my life -

1. The first thing I can think of from the top of my mind is that it's the freedom of speech where I talk about anything(anything which is generally considered 'appropriate' in the blogging sense or in the blogging world is what I'm basically referring to here - in case you're already thinking otherwise :)) under the sky.

2. It has given me more confidence that people find the information I've shared to be useful or else why would people revisit a blog time and again. This in itself I feel has many related benefits.

  • It kinda gives me the sense of feeling that somewhere I can connect with people(the extent is not what really matters here, but just being able to connect is in itself a fulfilling feeling in many ways :))
  • Somewhere it tells me, that what I'm facing in terms of a problem and may be whose solution I'm blogging about, is something that others like me are seeking out too :). So this makes me reflect that , yeah, it's okay to face problems and try to figure out solutions to them via blogs. One needn't really have to consider themselves to be inferior in anyway when they face such problems. It's just you try finding a solution yourself first before you head out for seeking solutions from the world around. 
3. It has given me joy. This joy, for me is the joy of sharing, the joy of giving back to the community whose blogs I've referred to when I had faced some roadblocks. Joy of the feeling, yeah, that by doing my bit(it's very little compared to the number of bloggers out there in the world today who religiously blog more often then I do), I can may be tell myself that yeah, I'm atleast a drop in the mighty ocean of the community of such people around me.

4. People around get to better understand you as a person through your blog. They get to know what you care about and what you are passionate about. All this through your thoughts in your blog.

5. On a professional front, it has given me many things like -
  • The blog has helped me get a better job offer as people get to know me better as a person before I get interviewed by any of them. How?
    • It separates out any such candidate who has a blog from those who may not have one
    • People have looked at the technical blogs I've written and checked for things they'd look for when generally interviewing potential candidates for a relevant job opening
    • I don't know what exactly that is that such interviews look out for, but it could be some useful things that are unique about you on the technical lines or may be it's just the fact that you believe in the spirit of giving back to something for what you've used from that thing(in my case it's open source technologies like Ruby on rails), that one can find out through your blog.
  • People in the professional world have recognized me my blog(to a very small extent so far, but this is still one true thing that has happened with me)
  • It has helped me be a better writer. I still remember one of my very senior office colleagues told me that I should even consider freelance writing. 
  • On one of my blogs which was in an internal hosted platform for a company I worked for previously had a comment from one of the readers who said 'I could visualize the series of events with respect to what you've written in your blog'. I still very well remember this comment and today it just makes me believe more on my potential. Just think about it, how nice would you feel if you get such a comment. This is the only reason why I'm reiterating what that person told me via the comment to that post back then. Just a word of appreciation can do so much to boost one's confidence if we humans actually go to see :).
  • Others began to appreciate what I blogged about. It just simply felt nice as one generally does if you get a pat on your back for you work, don't you?. One of my blogs was listed on . This post and the picture below say it all 

  • The above made me realize I have decent writing skills too :). I could write more confidently in other forms of professional written communication(like emails etc.,) because of the practice or the learnings I had with writing things like blogs
  • My vocabulary got better and I could even speak more confidently . I could even comprehend things better when others spoke about stuff as some of the words they used sounded more familiar.
  • Blogging, I humbly believe now has come to be one of my strengths. It helps me know myself better as a person and it kinda gives me more confidence as to something I can definitely categorize under the bucket of strengths. I believe this will add to anybody's unique selling proposition(USP) as a potential candidate for an appropriate suitable position which may require one to use writing skills to an extent where you could influence people by your words. This makes me remember the quote, 'The pen is mightier than the sword".
6. Why am I writing about all this you may ask. Here's the answer -

I don't think this is actually a big deal that I have crossed 10,000 views, but this is just a nice feeling and I just want to live it and share it, that's basically why I'm writing this. Looking back, I kinda now feel, if somebody would have told me all of this earlier or may be even something else about blogging which I'm yet to discover :)(who knows, I'm sure there are more people out there who have experienced and learned more with blogging than I have), I would have written even more articles than what I've written up to now.

Also, I'm not saying all this to boast, I'm just sharing what motivates me to keep blogging and why may be you, a patient reader who has actually read what I've written so far should also consider doing this. You've read this far in itself probably shows you somewhere care about something and you're trying to find out what that thing is. Blogging may give you an audience where you could be more expressive or simply find more people who share similar interests and even talk about them through blogs :)(Hope you see the connection blogging can may be make for you by now :)) 

What I've said in the above kinda reminds me of Steve Jobs inspirational speech at the Stanford graduation ceremony where he says a couple of things which I feel I can now better relate to. Will list them below -

1. One can connect the dots only looking backwards. How true, I didn't realize I would learn so much about myself via blogging. But I can simply say I'm happy now to know learn some more about myself and I'm still exploring to know more :)

2. Quoting Steve Jobs - "Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don't lose faith. I'm convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You've got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don't settle." 

- For me what I found out was that I personally enjoy blogging, it took a while to figure it out but I'm glad I did eventually :). But overall, j
ourney of self exploration still goes on for me :)

Lastly,  I can think of one person today on the top of my mind who had encouraged me to blog more when I first started blogging few years back. His name his Deepak Prabhu Matti and I'm really thankful to him for this. I'm also grateful again to my viewers and all my friends who've told me 'Hey, nice blog!' or things on those lines, I wouldn't be here without you all. Please forgive me if I've missed mentioning somebody. Lastly, I can definitely without any doubt say that, I'm grateful to Google and the folks who've built the Blogger platform because without their stats, platform I wouldn't really know today where I stand in the blogging world(I do realise I still have a long way to go).

All in all, I can say what goes around comes around to may be summarize many things around this post :)

There's a part 2 of this post that I'll be writing sometime soon about what I've learnt to help me be a better blogger. Stay tuned if you'd like to read about that..

Thank you.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

The roadtrip that led to my first Rails commit and how you could make yours too

It's been a long time since I made a post here, sorry about that.

This post is kinda different, I've actually posted the content of this article on another site called AirPair. You can view the details of the actual experience that I had contributing to rails here. I would be glad to have you reviews and rating on this post on AirPair. The way it works at AirPair is, these articles need to have some minimum number of reviews and a certain rating in order to be published.

If any of you think this post has something handy for anybody who'd like to contribute to Rails or just open source in general, please don't forget to review and rate this post.

Thank you.