• May 5, 2014 » April 2014 Rails Girls Meeting Getting Started With Pry

    I wasn’t initially planning to give a talk at this meetup, but I was asked to give a lightning talk on Pry since my last talk was six months ago, and we had a smaller group than usual since it was scheduled around the holidays. I’m glad I agreed because I was able to think about what I should talk about with the time constraint due to it being a lightning talk. Pry is really awesome, but developing in a Pry session is a big jump for new developers.

    I decided to focus on a few uses that would help everyone now. The first one was the view-source method. Being able to view source code while inside a REPL is really cool and helpful. Sometimes when I’m experimenting with code, I don’t remember which method to use or what it is actually doing (compared to the behavior I’m seeing). The second usage is related - gist allows me to grab the code I wanted to see with view-source and save it in a gist on Github.com to view later or share with someone. The third topic I wanted to cover was placing binding.pry in the code to make a breakpoint. This one is pretty different, but it’s more important and complicated than the first two commands. When I first heard about binding.pry it changed my life. Being able to debug my Rails servers is so helpful, and most of the people at the meetup had never heard of it. I hope it saves everyone a lot of frustation and time, and at some point encourages them to learn about more Pry features as well as other interactive debugging gems.

  • March 27, 2014 » March 2014 Rails Girls Meeting

    It’s the last week of the month again, so last night I went to the monthly Rails Girls Atlanta meeting. We’ve been switching between a few different locations recently, and this meeting was at the new Big Nerd Ranch office. I was very curious to see what the office would be like since I used to work at BNR, and I really liked their previous offices. There was still some construction going on, but I was jealous to see that there were individual motorized sitting/standing desks everywhere. Maybe someday I can have one at home, but my Ergatron is pretty great though I wish I could keep my coffee nearby without crowding my keyboard.

    Our monthly presenter was Kylie Stradley. She gave a two part talk on a) the Ruby gem called railroady and b) contributing to open source.

    Railroady sounds really helpful because it generates model and controller diagrams showing inheritance and relationships between them. I like looking at diagrams more than making my own, and it would be useful to get an overview of the database when working in a new app or double check my own apps to make sure everything was diagrammed the way I expected. Getting another view of the app would help me think of ways to improve it or cut unused relationships.

    Kyle transitioned to talking about contributing to open source by talking about how she had an issue with setting up the Railroady gem that other people experienced as well. She noticed that the fix would be a one line change to the source, so she submitted a pull request to address the problem, and the gem maintainer merged her commit. She explained that anyone could do this - you don’t have to work on something big to make a difference, and even if your change doesn’t get merged, you’ll learn something by going through the process.

    I still haven’t used Railroady in one of my projects, but I plan to, and Kylie’s talk reminded me that I need to release an Octopress theme since I changed the one I used for my knitting blog quite a bit. I need to refactor the styling (at least partially), and separate my styling from my blog so other people can use it. I may change the colors and background a little so my blog can stay slightly different. I submitted a pull request to fix a bug with the theme I forked, but the maintainer hasn’t looked at it as far as I know. I wish he’d accept my fix, but I think my theme is in better shape than the original in more ways since I’ve worked on it so much.

    I’m going to the Great Wide Open Conf on April 2nd and 3rd, so I have open source on my mind. I’d like to get more involved in a long term project, but it’s hard to find the time with all the other things I want to do.

  • March 12, 2014 » March 2014 Women Who Code meeting - GitHub Pages

    The theme was lightning talks on workflow tricks and tips. There were three speakers scheduled: Laurel, Adrienne, and me. I originally didn’t sign up to speak because I had trouble thinking of a topic, but after the meetup was rescheduled for March due to ice in February, I decided to make the effort to participage.

    Adrienne went first and talked about becoming friends with the command line. I’m not new to using it or dealing with Unix systems, but her talk was a good reminder that I should be trying to continue adding new commands to the ones I already know. I get nervous sometimes when I need to do something, and I am unfamiliar with the commands I need.

    When she was finished, I gave a short introduction to GitHub Pages. You can see my slides here. I was lucky because almost everyone at the meetup uses git and GitHub, but no one had used GitHug Pages before. I was also relieved when my short demo showing how quick and easy it is to update my blog was a success. I was worried because the GitHub site was unreliable for most of the day, and some repos were unreachable.

    I hope some of the people at the meetup decide to try it. I think it would be fun to try to host documentation generated by yard or another gem on a gh-pages branch of a repo with a lot of code, and I’m sure other devs have ideas that I haven’t thought of yet. Even if I don’t use GitHub Pages for many different reasons, it’s a solid choice for this blog, and I really appreciate the convenience.

    The third talk was on Meteor. Laurel explained that Meteor allows her to build quick prototypes as well as full apps for production. There is a screencast and a tutorial she recommended called Building an App in 45 Minutes with Meteor from Smashing Magazine. Since I’d like to have more experience with Javascript (preferably experience that isn’t too painful), I’m adding this tutorial to my ‘things to learn’ list.

    At the meetup, Erica also talked about adding some new study groups and events for learning to code. I’m looking forward to seeing a more active group. It’s nice to meet women who are developers and work on a lot of different things, not just Ruby.

  • March 11, 2014 » Hello World

    Posting from the WWC meetup!

    Edit: This was a demo for the lightning talk on GitHub Pages I gave at the March WWC meetup. You see my full post on the meetup here.

  • January 15, 2014 » January 2014 Women Who Code meeting

    I attended my second Women Who Code meetup last night. This month’s meetup was a ‘Javascript Study Group.’ I’ve been meaning to work on learning Javascript for a long time, but there is still so much to learn about Ruby and Rails.

    The study group was very informal; we were given some resources and expected to work on our own. I decided to work on the free Codeacademy Javascript course. The course is really easy. I think I need to find a course meant for programmers who want to learn Javascript instead of a course for programming beginners, but it’s a good starting point. Code School has a Javascript course too. I might work on that one next. Of course I also want to go through the HTML/CSS tracks on both sites as well. I need to devote some time to learning more about front end development.

    For now, I plan to continue working through the Codeacademy course and start the “How to Learn Javascript Properly” study group on Reddit which happens to be starting this week. I have a few app ideas that require Javascript knowledge, so I hope I learn a lot!

    Quite a few more people attended this meetup compared to the December meeting, and I met some lady developers who seem really cool and knowledgeable. I hope to see them again soon because it’s really nice to talk to people from different backgrounds.

  • January 13, 2014 » Rails Girls Etsy Treasury

    Back when it was closer to Christmas, I was thinking about Rails Girls stickers(!), and searched Etsy for other Ruby, gem, computer, and nerdy science related items. After exploring the tons of results I got back, I wanted to save some of my finds, so I made a Rails Girls themed Etsy Treasury

    I have a feeling we’re going to need some Ruby cookies at a Rails Girls Atlanta meetup soon.

  • January 9, 2014 » January 2014 ATLRUG meeting

    Last night was the monthly meeting of the Atlanta Ruby Users Group. I’ve been involved the ATLRUG community for about a year now, and it’s always fun to see all the nice people in the area and hear about what they are working on. Each meeting, we eat pizza, listen to a couple of presenters, then go to a bar and catch up on what everyone has been doing since the last meeting.

    The first presentation was on “Apache Solr and how to use it with the Sunspot gem” by Harold Dorst. There was a presentation last month on Asari/Active Asari that compared Asari to some of the other search options, so I’d heard of Sunspot before the talk started. This presentaton was especially interesting becaue Harold talked about how he uses searches for the benefit of the developers. I’ve always thought of searching as something the application’s users would use, but there are many reasons for an app to need to search through data to prioritize it or present it to the user in the best possible way. I also like the idea of facets and nested searches to get relevant results. I’m often frustrated when I’m using a retail site, and I can’t look at a category of items that match what I’m looking for, but now I know that searching is more complicated than I thought, and some fields may not be available for searching in specific contexts or are unavailable in general.
    (Harold’s slides are available for download here.)

    Next, we listened to Ernie Ellingson introduce OpenShift by Red Hat. I’d never heard of OpenShift, so I was happy to hear about another deployment option. Ernie said he chose OpenShift because he had an app using Ruby 1.8, so I don’t expect to be in that situaion, but it’s interesting to compare the scaling options that different companies offer. Another notable thing about OpenShift is that it deploys new code as soon as you push it to github. That seems risky in production, and it doesn’t make sense to me for the developers to restart processes in the app during peak usage, but it would be convenient for a staging environment.

    As usual, I’m looking forward to finding out what we’ll be learning next month.

  • December 19, 2013 » December 2013 Rails Girls meeting - Interactive Ruby Using Pry

    Last night I gave a talk at Rails Girls Atlanta meetup on the Pry gem. My slides are available here.

    I originally volunteered because I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to work with a deadline to learn about more Pry features. When I first learned about Pry, I mainly used it to use the binding.pry command to put breakpoints in my Rails apps.

    It was actually kind of surprising to see how well documented the gem is. I’m used to looking at documentation for other languages where the information is minimal, but the maintainers have a plentiful list of videos, tutorials, and blog posts to explore created by the Ruby community.

    Based on my experience with binding.pry, I expected Pry to be a tool for breakpoints, but working in the Pry REPL has a lot of interesting commands to offer. After my talk, I did some experimental live coding and tried using Pry to explore a Rails project based on suggestions from the audience. It was fun to cd into Rails models and other classes including ones with database relationships and see what happened. I think the main downside is keeping track of where you are in the code, but it should get easier with more experience.

    My next goal is becoming more familiar with pry-debugger. The base Pry gem wasn’t as helpful for plain debugging with breakpoints as I thought, but I learned about a bunch of commands and features that I didn’t know existed, so my time was well spent. I’d also like to learn about other gems that extend Pry functionality.

  • December 15, 2013 » Global Day Of Code Retreat 2013

    Yesterday, I attended my first Code Retreat. I wish I went to the last one in Atlanta, but I wasn’t sure I was ready at the time. I think my Ruby skills would have been fine based on what I heard about it later, so I was eagerly waiting for the next one. I signed up right away when this Code Retreat was announced.

    The code retreat was split into six sessions. We worked in pairs implementing Conway’s Game of Life each time, but there were special instructions for most of the sessions. Working with constraints was kind of tricky when I worked with someone who didn’t know TDD or Ruby.

    I never got far enough to work on the actual rules based on the neighboring cells in Conway’s Game of Life, but I had a lot of fun working with different people.

    At the end, we were asked to answer a few questions.

    What did you learn today?

    I learned that everyone had different ideas about design and different approaches to the problem. I’m not sure what the best design is, but talking about design was really interesting.

    What will you take away?

    I worked with a couple of people who tried to write the least about of code possible to make a test pass, and I realized I knew how to write good tests, but I don’t normally write great tests on the first try. I want to improve the quality of my tests in general, now that I’ve noticed this.

    What would you do differently?

    I’d definitely like to learn to do TDD in another language and pair with people from other backgrounds. My only experience with testing is with Ruby.

    Thank you Big Nerd Ranch, Mandrill, and Toolbox No. 9 for sponsoring!

  • December 13, 2013 » Making a Jekyll site

    I wanted to make a portfolio, but a Rails or Sinatra site seemed like overkill. I decided it was a good opportunity to try making a static website using Jekyll and Github Pages.

    I did some research and chose Jekyll Bootstrap as a base project. First I disabled the blog-related pages and figured out how to display my own pages in the navigation bar. After adding some content, I decided that having a blog isn’t a bad idea.

    I’m still having a little trouble getting everything the way I want it, but it’s really easy and satisfying to be able to deploy to GitHub so easily.

  • December 8, 2013 » Introduction

    Hi! I just finished my Ruby/Rails/backend internship at the Big Nerd Ranch on December 6, 2013. I was hoping to get a full time job while I was interning, but nothing worked out. Since mid December isn’t the best time to look for interviews, I’m going to keep a record of what I worked on during this time. I’ve never kept a blog long term, but I’d like to try it!