Author Archives: cjsteinbrecher

Progress and Pain

I have not been able to dedicate as much time as I would like to this angular web app project, and I have a lot to learn. I was also not able to incorporate the google sheets api to do the things I really wanted to do. However, what I have done I’ve found engaging and interesting.

I made the decision to simulate a data server in angular. This made data manipulation fairly easy. It took the stress off of figuring out the back-end and allowed me to focus on the other aspects of angular: the structure, services / components, and HTML / CSS. Utilizing several tutorials and guides, I am fairly confident now in creating buttons and forms that accept user input and pass that input into a list. The list is clickable and displays details. It also routes to another page complete with its own URL.

I learned a lot about ngif and ngfor, which work in a pretty familiar fashion. I also learned about the “Slice” function, where you can iterate through a specific part of an array. I am hoping to add a function that will display my win / loss record, which can be done by just adding the values in the “Win” portion of the data, as it is represented by a 1. This is a work in progress but I think it will be doable.

I still think Tour of Heroes should be included in this class. It was such an eye-opening tutorial, and really let me dig deep into learning about services, components, routing, HTML, CSS, and more. While it’s a long tutorial, I think it would be better than Activity 12 for a teaching tool.

From the blog CS@Worcester – Alan Birdgulch's Blog by cjsteinbrecher and used with permission of the author. All other rights reserved by the author.

Final Project Update: Taking a different shape than planned

The final project for this class is taking on a different form than I initially planned. I had planned to use google sheets API in my project, and while I am not ruling out that possibility, I am running into some roadblocks. The API seems to require authentication that I can’t get to work quite right. I may end up using a different solution for a backend, but we will see.

I am also thinking that my front-end will end up looking not much like my wireframe. At this point I’m not sure I care. Figuring out HTML and CSS implementations for something that I’ve had no experience in for this project is very difficult, and I think I (like most people), will end up modeling my project off of something that already exists. As I posted last week, Tour of Heroes is a very appealing course and I am learning a lot by deep-diving into it. I would highly suggest implementing that into the course. It utilizes a lot of concepts that are useful in angular and in the project: buttons, pages, loops, and CSS stylings, and more.

The other roadblock I am running into is that the work this semester sure has been back-loaded. 5 classes, 3 projects and 4 exams to prepare for is a tough ask. As an adult student with a job and a mortgage, it sure gets stressful. I will definitely not pretend to be the most overworked student ever, and people have definitely overcome tougher obstacles. Yet even still, my despair is immeasurable.

From the blog CS@Worcester – Alan Birdgulch's Blog by cjsteinbrecher and used with permission of the author. All other rights reserved by the author.

Front End Decisions…Back End Decisions…Decisions.

Activity 12 was a good activity to start learning about Angular front-end development, especially with making REST API calls. However, lack of a strong HTML / CSS background may leave some people a bit behind when trying to build something a little more robust. The Tour of Heroes angular tutorial can be pretty useful for a really comprehensive, step by step guide on building a working front-end of a particular style. This could be useful with our upcoming final project to design a single-page web app. I think my plan, for now, will be to start simple, and build on the project as I have more time. I would be interested in eventually implementing the sort of “Second page” that Tour of Heroes has.

For front-end ideas, I did download Professor Wurst’s STEM-TV project and run it. While I appreciated the lecture he gave on the app, I do feel a POGIL style exercise may be beneficial for future classes to really get into the meat of it.

The back-end for my project has been something I’m wracking my brain over. I would like to try to utilize some of google sheets’ REST API features if possible. I am going to experiment with that line of thinking and see where it takes me. I have data that I have actually built myself based on games of Rocket League. I don’t think the data is particularly interesting, but it’s personal and fun.

From the blog CS@Worcester – Alan Birdgulch's Blog by cjsteinbrecher and used with permission of the author. All other rights reserved by the author.

Javascript vs. Typescript

As someone fairly new to coding, learning new languages is both fun and painful. When I heard we were going to be doing some web development, I figured Javascript would be involved, and I had a brief moment of panic. I am a frequenter of subreddits like /r/programmerhumor, or other humor-based tech blogs, and there is a lot of dogpiling on Javascript as a language. It gets a lot of flak for being very weakly typed, and for its default behaviors utilizing this weak typing leading to a lot of wacky and confusing results for people who aren’t deeply familiar with the language. A quick example:

When I discovered we would be using Typescript (And what Typescript was), it was a bit of a relief. The way that the language looks just feels more comfortable to me, especially as someone who has mostly been learning Java. I have been trying to expand my horizons as of late, and wanted to look into people that may feel the opposite. Maybe the verbosity and strictness of a strongly-typed object oriented language is bad if you know what you’re doing, and I found a very interesting blog expressing just that.

In the blog post “Shit Javascript Coders Say” by Dave Sag found here:,
he utilizes a very pointed and crass writing style to express his distaste for OOP and strong-typed languages in general compared to Javascript. He also does not like Typescript. One reason I find this funny is because in this Software Architecture class I am writing this blog for, there is a big focus on creating interfaces, organizing classes, and figuring out the best ways to group and create objects. These are all things, according to Dave Sag, that are not needed in Javascript, and that Typescript “encourages the use of these practices as a weak, wobbly crutch” (paraphrasing).

I found this juxtaposition very amusing, and would be very interested in going down the rabbit hole more and finding out about best pure Javascript practices, or if Mr. Sag’s views are commonly held in some communities (I found plenty of blog posts praising Typescript, for what it’s worth).

In my brief time with Typescript so far, I have found it a bit verbose and clunky (though I am certainly a neophyte coder). Hopefully as I continue to learn, these distinctions become more clear and I can post an updated perspective.

From the blog CS@Worcester – Alan Birdgulch's Blog by cjsteinbrecher and used with permission of the author. All other rights reserved by the author.

Exploring the Singleton Design Pattern

As we start to learn about more design patterns and their implementations in class, I wonder more and more about their application in the real world, as well as how they are perceived by modern developers. So far, for each design pattern we have learned, a relatively good job has been done in showing the advantages and pitfalls associated with them.

I became particularly interested in the Singleton pattern after finding the blog post: “Understanding What Singleton Pattern Costs You.” found here: There are also other sources I found that seemed to really dislike the Singleton design pattern, and I wanted to delve deeper into why that is.

In our in-class example with ducks, the Singleton solution seemed to make some sense for what we were trying to do. Rather than creating a new object every time we wanted our ducks to fly, we could have a single object and change its instance when needed. Because of the limited scope of what we were doing with the singleton pattern, we didn’t get a clear example of this practice potentially going south.

One way this can cause problems is that it can obfuscate code. Because a singleton is now essentially “global” and can be called everywhere, certain methods can do things that are part of this singleton that the method itself might not even indicate that it does. An example that the author of the blog provides is this:

In this example, the method is named BuildSimpleOrder, however, this method also logs the order. This makes it so you can make no assumptions about what your methods do, as many of them may have hidden behaviors. This has lead to a phrase that I have seen around tech blogs saying “Singletons are liars.”

This also causes problems in unit testing for similar reasons. Because you can use these singletons essentially globally, it can make it a lot harder to track problems in individual classes. This leads to high coupling. This also breaks the single responsibility principle – something that has been repeated in class a few times.

Learning about the different design approaches that we can take, with implementations evolving as the requirements change has been a good learning experience. It is becoming pretty clear that there is no “one size fits all” design and there can be advantages and pitfalls of each. However, I did want to do this deep dive on singleton, because I had seen it garner almost nothing but flak.

From the blog CS@Worcester – Alan Birdgulch's Blog by cjsteinbrecher and used with permission of the author. All other rights reserved by the author.

The Importance of Writing Well

Today I stumbled upon a blog post titled: Undervalued Software Engineering Skills: Writing Well by Gergely Orosz. That can be found here: I found this linked tangentially where the author was mentioning that in order to create clear diagrams that everyone can follow, honing your writing skills in general is one aspect of accomplishing that.

In this blog post, the author talks about how writing and communicating is a very under-appreciated skill that a software developer can have. I think that software devs have this stigma that they are not great communicators and maybe not particularly good with words, so this may be a surprise to some. However, writing well is the first step in creating diagrams that can be followed and amended by a team that is working on a project.

As someone that has worked in the corporate world for a long time with massive amounts of cross-communication between different departments, I can tell you that writing is something that people in every profession could stand to do better. Sometimes something as simple as communicating your thoughts precisely, concisely, and interestingly can be enough to get you noticed, even in a large corporate environment.

The author mentions that for a software dev, writing can be a tool to “influence engineers and other teams outside of your immediate peers.” He also frequently mentions durability, and how the better you are at writing, the more “durable” your decisions, trade-offs, and ideas will be. This will not only help your own career, but will help your team manager their project better.

I am pretty passionate about writing, and I think that in any career, having a grasp on good writing practices can make a huge difference for how you are perceived by your peers, and for a skill that is often seen as ancillary, can be a real game-changer.

From the blog CS@Worcester – Alan Birdgulch's Blog by cjsteinbrecher and used with permission of the author. All other rights reserved by the author.


Hello my dear readers. This is my first attempt at blogging since I was a teenager. I have created this blog for CS-343 at Worcester State, but hope to continue to update it beyond my time with the class. I am a 29 year old student enrolled full-time at Worcester State, and feel that I have a unique perspective on the college experience. I hope to share topics related to this course, to the field of computer science in general, and maybe some insight to my perspective as an adult college student trying to transition to a new career path.

From the blog CS@Worcester – Alan Birdgulch's Blog by cjsteinbrecher and used with permission of the author. All other rights reserved by the author.