Always Read the Docs 📓

Sophie Gill · 27 May, 2020

I’ve been in my new role at Cleo for 3 months now, and I’ve found backend development a complete mix of enjoyable and frustrating.

Having been away from full-time coding for a couple of years, I often find that I know what I want to achieve but I’m not totally sure what code to write. That’s been compounded by this being both the first Rails app I’ve worked on, and it being the first established app rather than greenfield project for me professionally.

There have been a few days where I’ve felt completely overwhelmed, despite having helpful colleagues and not being pressured to take on more than I feel comfortable with. I am constantly expecting more from myself - it’s tough to be the weakest link in a team but that’s also where growth happens.

And this week I’ve had something of a breakthrough - I’ve started slowing myself down and really reading the documentation when I’m trying to do something new. Most notably for me, I’ve been digging a bit deeper into the Ruby Docs and they really are a delight.

I’m the first to admit they are not that easy to navigate, but it’s worth taking the time to get to know them if you’re learning Ruby. I had always been a bit mystified by error handling in particular, but spending just 5 minutes reading through the Exceptions Syntax and Exception Class sections of the documentation really helped me feel more confident about when to raise bespoke errors, and the options for handling errors.

It was a nice reminder to me that while programming might be complex, it isn’t magic. Ruby has a wonderful community that takes time to write such clear documentation, and it’s there to be used.

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