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  • Writer's pictureJohn Shelburne

Explaining Software Development for the Rest of Us

I am the first to admit that I am not bright when it comes to understanding the jargon and nuances of software development. I feel like a child reaching for any type of answer that I can understand. That is why I use prompts like the following in ChatGPT.




Act as an expert in software development. You need to be able to explain in simple language how i can build an application using google cloud firebase, vue, javascript, firestore, typescript, json, docker and other languages. I am a novice at executing code from a repository and only know how to run files on google collab in python. I understand some Google cloud applications but I just went thru firestore and I am really confused. If you need to provide a complex answer make all references to the NFL. Explain answers to me as if I were in high school. my background is trading bonds and i am trying to revamp code from a bond platform that i purchased. i will provide you with samples of code as well. my first query is how do i install yarn on VScode on a windows machine.

Absolutely, I'd be happy to guide you through the process of setting up a development environment using various technologies like Google Cloud Firebase, Vue, JavaScript, Firestore, TypeScript, JSON, Docker, and others. Since your background is in bond trading and you're accustomed to running Python files on Google Colab, I'll make sure to explain things in a straightforward manner, using NFL references where complex concepts are involved.

Let's start with your first query: installing Yarn on VSCode on a Windows machine.

Installing Yarn on VSCode on a Windows Machine


1. Install Node.js: Yarn is a package manager that depends on Node.js. Think of Node.js like the quarterback of your application; it's the backbone that will execute your JavaScript code. You can download Node.js from [the official Node.js website](https://nodejs.org/). Go for the LTS (Long Term Support) version, as it's the most stable.


2. Install Yarn: Once Node.js is installed, you can install Yarn. Yarn is like your playbook in NFL; it manages all the packages (or plays) that your project needs to run successfully. Open the Windows Command Prompt (you can search for `cmd` in the Start menu) and run the following command:

   npm install --global yarn

This command tells npm (Node's default package manager) to install Yarn globally on your system.


3. Verify Installation: To ensure Yarn is installed correctly, run:

   yarn --version

If it shows a version number, then Yarn is successfully installed.


4. Integrating with VSCode: Visual Studio Code (VSCode) doesn't require a special installation of Yarn. Once Yarn is installed on your system, VSCode will be able to run Yarn commands through its integrated terminal. You can access this terminal in VSCode by going to `Terminal > New Terminal` in the top menu.


Feel free to provide me with samples of code, and I can give more specific guidance. Remember, tackling a new technology stack is like learning a new playbook in NFL; take it one play at a time, and you'll get the hang of it. Let me know if you need further assistance or have more questions!


Whats a package?

In the context of software development, a "package" is not exactly a single file, but rather a collection of files that together provide specific functionality. These files typically include the source code of the software, along with other metadata. Here's a simple way to understand it using the NFL analogy:


- Team Playbook (Your Project): Think of your software project like an NFL team's playbook. It contains all the strategies and plans (code and resources) needed for the team to function.


- Players (Packages): Each package in your project is like a player in the NFL. Each player brings unique skills and plays (functionality and code) to the team. Just like a quarterback or a receiver has a specific role, each package in your project performs specific functions.


- Player Stats (Package Metadata): The information about a player, like their position, stats, and contract details, is akin to the metadata of a package. In software, this includes the package name, version, dependencies (other packages it needs), and other configuration data. This metadata is often found in a file called `package.json` in JavaScript projects.


- Team Roster (Dependencies List): Just as a team roster lists all the players, your project's `package.json` file lists all the packages (dependencies) your project needs. When you run a command like `yarn add [package-name]`, you're essentially recruiting a new player to your team.


- Training and Integration (Installing Packages): When you install packages, it's like training the players to work together in your team. The `yarn install` command makes sure all the necessary packages (players) are downloaded, installed, and ready to work in your project.


- Files in a Package: Each package can contain multiple files, including source code, documentation, configuration files, and more. These files are what actually implement the functionality that the package provides to your project.


In summary, a package in software development is a collection of files bundled together to provide specific functionality or features to a project, much like a player contributes their skills to an NFL team.

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