A Scala Love Story: The Annotated Prologue

I coded in Python for a long time and it was my first love. To be honest with you though? Scala just hits different. I’m definitely riding the high of a new toy and it’ll take some time to return to the equilibrium of “pick the right tool for the job”. For now, I’m just excited to get to know Scala because it’s going to open up doors to tackle fun and challenging problems. We’ll begin with the first challenge of any programming relationship: how to install Scala on your machine.

By Yusuph Mkangara

October 27, 2020

Fortune at the Flood: I’m So Lucky To Have Done K-12 State Reporting

As I’m writing this post, I have a lot of feelings. As influential as the books I read in high school English classes were, I feel like it’s high time to start building a new post-college folklore of literary references. Metaphors are my jam and I’m going to need this new base when I’m a true sophistaratchet in my mid-30s. I’m feeling a rich blend of joy and gratitude. I’m feeling sad and incomplete. I’m feeling apprehensive about the future, but also like pleasantly anticipatory. In sum, I feel really fortunate to have taken K-12 state reporting at the flood when the tide came in the Fall of 2018.

By Yusuph Mkangara

June 30, 2020

Divergence Into Networking and the CALPADS Web API

The grind of life post COVID-19 had taken its toll on my existence. Gratefully, I did not have any serious issues, but I could tell something about this new era of living was wearing me down. I was less energetic in odd ways, but most notably I just felt less creative. I even started wondering if this is what burnout feels like. In some ways, maybe I did need to step back. Fortunately, it didn’t last long before a magnetic creative energy was pulling me in a different direction. This time, it was a winding educational journey to a pretty exciting rest stop.

By Yusuph Mkangara

May 19, 2020

Validation Value Addition: Adopting Target’s Data Validator

I really enjoy watching Python/data related presentations/conferences etc. The topics are a boon and my latest inspiration is from the fascinating work happening at Target with their data validator ( Video of Presentation). There were a few things I was looking for when developing an approach to data validation:

  • A Framework: something that would give structure to the raw, ad-hoc way of doing things
  • Reproducibility: something that could prove valuable in other spheres of influence
  • Iteration Ease: something that is low-lift to iterate on

By Yusuph Mkangara

April 30, 2020

Function Follows Form: An Approach to Dynamically Parsing and Filling HTML Forms Using Selenium

For this post, I’m writing about a process in which I pieced together puzzle pieces as I went along.

I talked a little about defining larger dreams for oneself in the previous post, but I can’t emphasize enough how much programming has unlocked my imagination. About a year ago, I was working on an automation workflow that relies on Selenium and Python. At the time, the slickest trick that I knew is that on Chrome, you can Inspect an HTML object and copy its xpath value into your script to make magic happen.

This trick did wonders for my work and I leveled up quite a bit. We were often working with websites that didn’t always use IDs on their HTML elements and their class attributes were too general. However, as time went on, I was hitting the limits of copy-pasting xpaths and needed to learn how to generalize my approach. The little that I have picked up over the course of the last few months have led me here.

By Yusuph Mkangara

March 26, 2020