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Hack Reactor Week 3 Review

Building a Movie List app with React, Express, and mysql

Keegan Leary
Keegan Leary

I'm attending the Hack Reactor 12 Week immersive coding bootcamp from 11APR to 8JUL in an effort to develop my programming skills to offer a wider range of services to my clients. The schedule is jam packed with 11 hours of coding content 6 days a week Mon-Sat. I'll be keeping a journal of my experiences with the program here.

It's week 3 and we are already building some practical apps! I'm stoked!

We dove into React (frontend) and Express + mySQL (backend) in separate two day sprints. As per usual, Hack Reactor teaches content below the abstraction layer first i.e. try to write React, write Express, and THEN gives us the actual tools. Coding out an http server with the http library was very instructive, especially when working with stream buffers, whatever those are 😆 .

I became a lot more comfortable working with chrome's network inspector and the basics of http requests and responses. We tackled status codes, headers, especially Content-Type, and explored passing different data types. We worked a little bit with cookies too.

For React, we started with basic components to render html on screen and immediately started passing props and binding functions. I'm enjoying React and feel like it's a very powerful tool to build full scale applications, but am wondering that styling may be a bit more difficult to work with that my experiences with Flutter or Webflow. Writing CSS from scratch is difficult - especially trying to get it consistent across browsers and screen sizes. I'm a little bit worried that React will be a divergence from what I want to achieve through Hack Reactor but none the less I see great potential with it and will trust the process for now :).

By the end of the week, we had built a Movie List app that grabs movie data from TMDB api and renders information in an accordion-style list. Some features are that the list is searchable, the user can add movies to the list (which is then persisted in a mysql database), and the user can mark movies as watched or not. After writing the http server from scratch, getting to use Express was so nice!

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