Rails Girls Summer of Code

Eurucamp Days


Last weekend was eurucamp weekend and I sort of promised to write a recap for you summery coders. So here we go, my personal highlights and other (fun) stuff:

Friday was dubbed ‘workshop day’ and a Rails Girls course was hosted, next to sessions for the more advanced conference attendees. I attended the beginners course as a coach. Txus was my co-coach and he drew the most comprehensible MVC - webserver - browser graphic I have ever seen, for our incredibly eager team. We even figured out a way for one of the girls to attend the eurucamp conference for free, so she could continue to learn, how cool is that?!

hello, MARS! (borrowed from RubyMonsters’ super fun intro to the terminal)

Joseph Wilk’s Creative Machines keynote was up after the workshops. He’d take the talk descriptions of eurucamp’s speakers and have a machine create haiku’s. We then needed to guess which one was his, and which one was from the machine. You guess*:
Philosophers talk
Humans boil ruby for fun
Clickety click love

I loved how Joseph, senior developer at SoundCloud, stressed the social aspect to recognizing and defining what creativity is. After the keynote all of us rushed to the SoundCloud party, for an evening of BBQ, drinks and good tunes.

###Day 2 My favorite talks on day one were by Arne Brasseur, Ashe Dryden, Matt Patterson, Piotr Szotkowski (and his crazy keyboards), Joanne Cheng and Roy Tomeij, with his marketing-intelligence talk.

Arne is a Rails Girls Berlin regular (coach). His talk was basically a call to “stop using strings to handle structured data”. Why? Well, Arne referred to the The science of insecurity talk of the 2011 CCC conference, saying how much of a security vulnerability it really is. Thank glob, Arne is working on his pet project HEXP, a Ruby API for creating and manipulating HTML syntax trees. You can check it out on GitHub.

Ashe’s talk was titled ‘Programming Diversity’. Ashe is known to be vocal about the lack of diversity in tech. And with diversity, she means more than just gender (like age, ability, sexuality, language, race). She got the attendees to realise how priviliged we all are, and how harmful stereotype threats (‘wow you’re bad at math’ vs ‘girls are bad at math’) and marginalizing are. On the bright side, Ashe mentioned that in Bulgaria 73% of the women graduating, do so in (computer) science. Pretty cool, huh? She also had som nifty tips for people who want to increase diversity in their teams. Like: take a look at 100percentmen.tumblr.com and review your about pages, make sure the interview is as close to the actual day-to-day workflow as possible and offer mentoring.

Matt Patterson showed us how he parsed real-world ‘fuzzy’ dates with Ruby, transfering it from unstyled Word documents and turning it in a website. Say WUT?! Well, Matt struggled to order 31 march 1933 versus 1930s vs c1973, early 1946, from, by, after… But he solved it (and he promised to publish his slides shortly). Matt co-coaches the Ruby Monsters, a study group born out of Rails Girls Berlin, with Sven Fuchs.

lauratryingoutkeyboards.tumblr.com (just kiddin’)

Joanne Cheng is a developer for thoughtbot in Denver, CO. In her spare time, she runs Colorado Code for Communities, an organization of developers and designers dedicated to making important local government data easily accesible through better interfaces. And: she plays arouns with Ruby-Processing, a simple wrapper for the Processing framework that combines the visual-driven environment of Processing with the fun of writing Ruby. Joanne pulled of some live coding, showing us a basic example of Ruby-processing. It certainly got me hooked! And though you’ll definitely not be asked to do this at your day job, Joanne claims she notices more she gained more confidence and code fluency, and she adapts the trying-out-first-and-refactoring-later at the work place.

###Day 3

My favorite talks on Sunday were by Ellen König, Harry Brundage, Joshua Ballanco and Jan Krutisch. And it was lightning talks day!

Drawatars, it’s a thing (this one is from RGSoC mentor/supervisor/hero Andy)

Ellen König tought us to take all the cool stuff we learned during the conference and take it to our hobby projects and day job. Ellen is a professional software developer and part-time psychology student. She loves learning and teaching about technology-related topics, having learned more programming languages and technologies than she cares to remember. She has taught them to others at various opportunities such as university, work and most recently as a Rails Girls student and coach. She put her slides online ♥

Harry Brundage leads the Performance Team at Shopify! They have an “enormous Rails application who’s traffic at least doubles every year and processes a whole whackload of money for real people running real businesses”. Harry talked about what happens when a user is mashing the f5 key and how they (barely) handle cyber Monday, the online equivalent of retail craziness Black Friday.

Joshua Ballanco shared how one can get their Ruby EGOT (Emmy Grammy Oscar Tony). How? By submitting patches (that then get accepted) to MacRuby, IronRuby, Rubinius, JRuby, or some other Ruby implementation. Slightly unrelated: Joshua recommends to read a surplus of code than what you’re writing on a daily basis. Because it will help you become a better programmer, as you learn from others (mistakes).

Jan Krutisch, a freelance web developer from Hamburg, summed up (at least) 10 things you didn’t know your browser could do. Did you know for example that your browser can make music (and I don’t mean by playing back sound files)? I’m definitely going to play around with the CSS Filters and CSS Regions he mentioned!

###Lightning talks

There were some super fun lightning talks. Like about this difficult machine called baby (really!). Or about ‘Fuby’. It’s a thing. Or at least according to Txus - who had hand-drawn ALL his slides! Tobias would encourage everyone to start using Shoes (4), as it’s as fun as “putting sunglasses on your dog”. And Laura Wadden talked about Rails Girls Summer of Code, Rails Grrls, their work on Rubinius and their plan to write a new programming language! Which is the coolest thing ever.

So. I guess that wraps it up. I got little sleep. And I did not once come close to the lake. I was too busy blogging, I guess. Anyhow… on to the next conference! ;)

*This one was by the machine! Crazy huh?!

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