10
Dec
09

Ruby**Fun, part 1

This fourth challenge looks like a fun one. It’s the kind that is pretty simple, but you know a super elegant solution exists. I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a pretty simple one-liner for this. I’m excited to give this a try:

You just started working for CoolNewCompany which is developing mathematics related software. Since you are new to the team, your boss gives you an easy task to test your abilities. Write a class that pretty-prints polynomials, following some simple rules:

  • if a coefficient is 1, it doesn’t get printed
  • if a coefficient is negative, you have to display something like “- 2x^3″, not “+ -2x^3″
  • if a coefficient is 0, nothing gets added to the output
  • for x^1 the ^1 part gets omitted
  • x^0 == 1, so we don’t need to display it

Here’s a couple of usage examples:

puts Polynomial.new([-3,-4,1,0,6]) # => -3x^4-4x^3+x^2+6
puts Polynomial.new([1,0,2]) # => x^2+2

Don’t concern yourself too much with error handling, but if somebody tries to create a polynomial with less than 2 elements, your program has to raise an ArgumentError with the message “Need at least 2 coefficients.”

Please check the provided unit tests for more examples and make sure to use them for verifying your solution!

Requirements: This has to be a pure Ruby script, using only the Ruby Standard Libraries (meaning, no external Gems). You do not need to build a gem for this. Pure Ruby code is all that is needed.

This seems like a fun time to use RSpec so I’ll go ahead and make the first test:

it “should create a polynomial object”

This is simple, you just make a new class, run spec and it passes! Let’s make the next test do something that requires code:

it “should throw an ArgumentError if there are less than 2 elements in creation”

Again, this is straightforward, expect an argument with len > 2. This is where I really like Ruby’s syntax of

do this if this. It makes everything look super clean. Great, it passes two tests! On to the third:

it “should ‘puts’ the correct term for each value”

This is where it gets tricky, it’s so easy to just brute force it, but I’m trying to learn the proper “Rubyist” format.

It’s late though and I’m off to bed. Until next time!

10
Dec
09

back

After a small break (a bout of swine, a dab of work drama) I’m back to work on the 4th challenge!

14
Oct
09

Average Arrival Time For A Flight, part 1

To be honest this was a bit of a disappointment when I first read it, but upon starting the challenge I realized there are way more subtleties than I first gave it credit for. My initial thought was to take a base time as milliseconds then convert all inputs to milliseconds, find the difference, average and put it back into regular hours. I started reading Date classes and found a pretty easy way to do this.
After working on this for a while I realized that I would have to use more than just DateTime. As usual, it was pretty much in the instructions to use Time. Once I brought that class in, this problem becomes pretty trivial. I’ll post my solution once it ends, but I think it’s pretty good. It’s only 18 lines, any tips on how to make it more Ruby-like would be much appreciated.

06
Oct
09

Shift Subtitle, Results

The first round is finally over! I received some great feedback from several people on the RPCFN comments section. AkitaOnRails says “Worked right off the bat, correct results, but it was just too brute force for my taste.” Michael Kohl says “A bit too complicated and repetitive for my personal taste, but definitely not bad for a Python coder coming over to Ruby-land.” And ashbb says “Ran the code with Ruby 1.9.1 and got the output file well. It was converted correctly. With Ruby 1.8.6, need to treat the message – undefined method ‘each_char’” These are all helpful comments and a good starting point. Now I know that each_char was called something else (or didn’t exist) pre Ruby 1.8.6. The other comments are a helpful starting place to learn what to look for in other code. Look for elegance and DRY principles. I don’t think I know enough Ruby to be elegant quite yet, but hopefully there will be improvement in round two.

Looking at AkitaOnRail’s last post congratulating everyone, he summarizes what the common problems were and styles of coding. Overall what I took away from that post to use in the next challenge is

  1. Naming conventions
  2. Gists on GitHub
  3. Project folder structure
  4. Attempt “Ruby-like” code

So I’m going to need to look up Ruby naming conventions when the next challenge starts/I have more time. All I’ve seen in Ruby code is an excess of underscores and verbose names, but I’m sure there are cases to learn when to use what. Honestly, I thought the goal was to make it all be in one file and not have a project structure, but now that I know that is what they are looking for, that is what I will do. Hmm I’ll have to look into gem specs as well. I think that will answer my question about executable programs.

Taking a look at other solutions I can clearly see a good project structure. Keep class files in the lib/, the binaries in the bin/ and the tests in spec/. I also picked up some ruby syntax, the delimited input! There are a ton of functions I need to look up, they seem like pretty basic ones. I’m liking the general feel of the Ruby code I’m looking at. I’ve only had a chance to read through a couple of solutions and would like to read through more before attempting to comment on any ones that I particularly like.

Definitely looking forward to the next challenge! This is a fun way to learn Ruby. Thanks to all people who are reading/test/judging the code. It seems like a lot of work and you guys are doing a great job!

01
Oct
09

to RSpec or not to RSpec

I took another look at RSpec today. I tried to re-write the script using a test driven development method but am finding it harder to use than expected. I think I just have to shift my brain into programming TDD style. I really didn’t come up with any good code, I must have started over at least 10 times. I started with things like it “should accept a parameter –operation that takes either ‘add’ or ‘sub’ as it’s value” Then I would read RSpec docs and try to test tha…needless to say it’s a good way to learn about RSpec albeit rather slow. Hopefully I can move my brain to this new style of thinking. It seemed so easy at first but once you try it, it’s actually kind of difficult to do.

Here is the list of requirements I’m going to be working off of.

  • it “should accept two parameters, an operation that is either add or sub and a time value formatted at least with one digit. It should also accept two arguments, an in_file and na out_file”
  • it “should add or subtract time based on the set operation”
  • it “should modify the time by the amount passed in as a parameter of –time”
  • it “should read times and all other lines from the first file”
  • it “should write modified times and unmodified other lines to the second file”

IF you can get these tests to pass, then you’ve got yourself a working program and RSpec test to go with it as well as some documentation!

Until next time…

29
Sep
09

Shift Subtitle, RSpec

Sometimes it’s just nice to have everything you need in your apartment and you can just sit around and code :]

I decided today to try my hand at some unit testing using RSpec, as was suggested at the end of the challenge. I haven’t done much testing before so this seems like a good way to get started. The code I submitted includes a class definition as well as some imperative programming all in one. It would have been nice to separate that out, but this was supposed to be one script that works using the standard library. However, since this is beyond the challenge I’m going to test the class I’ve made, SubtitleTime. You can see it in the pastebin. It takes two parameters, a string in the format of HH:MM:SS,mmm and a ‘modifier’ that is either add or sub.

So starting off with RSpec first you have to ‘describe’ the class. Then you use a function named ‘it’ and write what the class should do. For example:

describe SubtitleTime do
    it "should be able to add another timestamp to itself" do
    end
end

Once that part of the code is written, then you just have to add some filler lines to actually test the code. This code above could be expanded to look like this:

describe SubtitleTime do
    it "should be able to add another timestamp to itself" do
        subtitletime.should add_time(another_timestamp)
    end
end # note: this has been crossed out as after reading more about RSpec, this just doesn't make sense.

Well after having written a few test cases and finally understanding what RSpec is all about, I feel like I should do this the right way and see what happens to my class if I built it using TDD (Test Driven Design). It initially seems very difficult to build up a test suite on an already existing piece of code. So let’s get started with some test cases.

First off we want the class to have a time that, before altered, is equal to the initial time. The code for that would look like this:

describe SubtitleTime do
    it "should have time equal to the initial time before the class is altered" do
        subtime = Subtitletime.new(:initial)
        subtitle.time.should == :initial
    end
done

Then When you run this test with the command <spec subtitletime_spec.rb> it will fail saying there is no class SubtitleTime. Simple. The idea behind TDD is that you make a test case, have it break, then fix it. An occasional (or after each iteration) step of refactoring your code should also be included in this process. So now I’ll make a class SubtitleTime

class SubtitleTime
end

This fixes the first error but we still get another error as the test is run. But that’s all I have time for right now, I was using an ibm guide to rspec. That should make things fairly clear. There is a lot to go over and a lot to do, but I’ll get back to this hopefully sooner rather than later and then finish up this challenge’s extras!

28
Sep
09

Shift Subtitle, part 4

Well now it’s just a matter of debugging my code. I suppose writing tests would be the ideal thing to do, but I think there is just a stupid typo in there somewhere that I’ll have to look for.

Ok. I had some ideas while I started working. It pretty much went like this:

  1. Reading in the times is working but assumes they are always in full format (ie 00:00:00,000) and does not handle 00,000 situations.
  2. the to_s method is terrible, I’ve only used sprintf once or twice in PHP so it’s no wonder I didn’t think of it right off. That cleaned it up quite a bit.

So after figuring out a way to read in the times and account for partial time entries, I did a bit of refactoring and testing and found out that it’s working now, horray!
I just thought of another, probably easier way this could have been accomplished. If I had taken the file times, converted them to milliseconds and then added/subtracted the converted input times then spit them back out as HH:MM:SS,mmm it might have been less verbose code, but I think this was a good exercise to learn a bit about Ruby classes. And anyways, my code works and that’s all that counts, right?

http://charpcfn.pastebin.com/f594e4212

That’s my submitted code!

Can’t wait for the next challenge :]

edit: If I find myself with some extra time I will probably go back and write some unit tests and maybe try making it a Gem as practice since there is still a while before the next challenge starts.




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