Working late at night after office work means, I can’t put in my best effort on this challenge. So I wanted to change my schedule into coding in the morning as soon as I wake up. But yesterday, after writing the post, I continued and worked on supporting markdown for the entry text and adding Jinja support for email templates.

Flask-Markdown and Bleach

Flask-Markdown does a pretty easy job of integrating markdown in your flask app. But I wanted to support only a subset of the tags, like ordered and unordered list, bold, italics, etc. I don’t want a h1 tag included in an entry.

To strip out such tags and allow only a specified list of tags, there is a python package called bleach. You specify which tags are allowed and it encodes it into HTML entities or even strips out those tags.

So I had to pass the entry’s text through a markdown filter and then through a bleach filter. I also used Markdown package’s nl2br extension instead of my custom template filter. Less number of code means less bugs.

Jinja Email Templates

For the emails, I was using normal python formatted strings. I was constructing the string using complex loops and lists. I wanted to use Jinja templates as I already use that for the HTML pages. Replacing with Jinja means there is a single template string/file and I can store it in a config table in a database. For now I have it embedded in the views.py file. But later I will move it to a file or DB.

Beautified Text Area

HTML Text areas are always an eyesore. The width and height are fixed and doesn’t adjust based on the window width. Bootstrap makes it easy to beautify it. All I had to do was add a form-control class to the textarea.

Fixing Bugs Live

Today during the call, I typed out all the text and pressed he save button waiting for a beautiful email in my inbox. Instead I saw an error screen and couldn’t understand why. All my changes were simple and not in the actual business logic. Why an error suddenly.

Remember how I was trying to beautify the textarea? I added one more feature where I set a jinja variable so that I can reuse it for the name of the textarea and the label tag. The way I constructed the variable was wrong and it caused all the text areas to not have a name.

I made two mistakes:

  1. combine two fixes in one commit. One commit should always be for fixing 1 bug/issue. Don’t combine multiple fixes into one commit. Hard to debug and hard to revert back too.
  2. Didn’t have test cases for saving entries via the HTML templates. I had basic test cases which tested the views, but no test cases to add a day’s entry via the HTML templates.

So I had to rush and fix the code during the call and it was slightly panicking.

This is a lesson that I think will have to be etched into my brain (and many other developers’ brains).

BTW, I will be travelling for the next 3 days and may not have a good internet connection. I will have to try to commit something and try to finish the milestone over the weekend.