We are Jayasi and Megha, a.k.a. Team CodeBenders. We were working on the Rails Admin gem, and were mentored by Erik for the same. Benedikt was supervising our work and we had three awesome coaches - Kashyap, Bharti and
To say that these three months were great would be an understatement. We had so much fun, we learnt a lot, we faltered, made
mistakes, and interacted with so many nice and humble people this summer. To be honest, we could have never imagined how warm
and welcoming the open source community would be to newbies like us. Not only our coaches, but the whole RGSoC community was
super helpful throughout these three months - no question was dismissed as small or trivial, and help was always found on
hangouts or on Slack. A very special shout out goes to Kashyap, who took extra efforts to give us Ruby lessons on Google
Hangouts even during his busy office schedule.
To give a brief about what we had been up to - the first half of our summer was about creating a demo app for the Rails Admin
gem, something which could be linked to the Rails Admin website and could be used by people to play around with. While we were
ready with the initial app very soon, we stumbled when the time came to write tests and deploy the app on Heroku. Having no
prior experience of the same, it was challenging at first, but we soon got a hang of things and started enjoying the learning
When we moved to contributing to the core gem, we were introduced to the very encouraging and helpful contributors of the Rails
Admin gem. They suggested us what to work on, and what we could improve in our code - we could not be more grateful to the
awesome people who helped us throughout the summer!
Being a volunteer team, we were only supposed to give 20 hours per week to RGSoC, but hell, we were having so much fun, that we
would often find ourselves over stretching our limits and working on the gem just because we got so engrossed in it.
RGSoC has been an amazing experience, something that we will remember for the rest of our lives. It was great interacting with
the other teams on Slack and reading their status updates and the cool things that they were doing. It inspired us to do more,
and give our very best. Erik has been such a wonderful mentor - he gave us full freedom to work on anything that we liked in
the gem, and encouraged us to learn as much as we could in these three months.
Last but not the least, we are so thankful to the core team - for organizing this wonderful summer. You guys are the best,
thank you for giving us the opportunity to be part of something so great. You have given a remarkable beginning to our open
Our project was to change all of the RGSoC participants lives… aka working on the RGSoC Teams App! If you paid some attention this summer, you might already have noticed some of the amazing stuff we did. Here’s a summary of our milestones:
- The Teams App is now RESPONSIVE! A big deal in the 21st century. Try opening that app on your phone now!
- The readme got a manual for newbies. Next year’s RailsGirls will profit from our startup problems.
- The daily status update entry form is on a way more user-friendly spot
- The activity stream on the root page has avatars and is streamlined
- A “Fork me on Github”-ribbon for bigger screens
- Seeds for the Job Offers
- And for our fellow developers, there is a season phase switch in order to get access to phase-dependent settings
- We left our cheesy mark on the FFaker seeds:
Oh yeah, cheesy lingo FFaker seeds.
###Master proof: Supervisor Dashboard
And let’s not forget about the milestone of milestones… creating a supervisor dashboard!
Under a namespace dedicated to supervisors, there is a brand new supervisor dashboard to enable them to better monitor their teams. This is how it was and how it looks now:
Quite the make-over, don't you think?
Look at all the shiny features. They can make notes, check upon their team, send a message to the organisation, read the latest status update of the students and see if they need some TLC, and that all at first glance. We sure hope the supervisors were as content as we were with creating this :)
###Ready Steady Go!
But…. how did we do this? We noticed that the warming-up period is very important. Installing everything, getting to know everybody, deciding on a (Git) workflow, getting everything working and… finding out that our knowledge of RoR wasn’t by far sufficient to substantiate our project goals.
So, Maud (formerly known as a trainer/coach) came to the rescue and created a learning plan that saved our asses. Big time.
We were like students back in high school and strictly followed the learning plan to get the hang of Rails’ fundamentals. The learning plan consisted of reading stuff, doing tutorials and exercising our new knowledge with playing around in no less than three sandbox apps. And don’t get misleaded by the word “playing” here. This period included bruteless code reviews and hardcore challenges by our coaches.
But we survived and thrived! The third month we worked on the supervisor dashboard agile style. In five sprints, we created the dashboard, in short and quick iterations, delivering working functionality with each sprint. WE DID IT!
Wanna be my screenhero?
- André Medeiros
- Thijs Cadier
- Yorick Peterse
- Hans Gerwitz
- Shannon Thomas
- and Nathan Van der Auwera and Ariejan de Vroom, for filling in for the other coaches during their holidays
You have no idea how much we appreciate what you did for us. Thank you for your time, your lessons, your patience, your support - and the fun we had in between. But most of all, thanks for pushing us to do the best we could and for insisting that the code we delivered was clean code. In a few years, we will probably laugh at the coding challenges of this summer, but the bigger lessons will carry a long way.
Thanks Carsten Zimmerman for being the best and most generous mentor one could wish for. Your instructive code reviews took both our code and our understanding to a higher level.
We earned some decent GitHub credibility :)
Thanks also to Laura, who made herself available for reviewing and merging our many front-end pull requests - and being enthusiastic about it as well. And of course thanks to supervisors Lieke, who was able to fix two extra coaches on a crucial moment - thanks for your support, and Alexandra, who left a lasting impression on us with just two Skype sessions.
And let’s not forget… the organization! The people who enabled all of us to experience this life-changing summer #wecanteven.
All of you THANKS, it’s been AMAZING! <3
Maud & Roos
The Rails Girls Summer of Code program was one of the best experiences we had in our life. By the way we are Team Hackrgirls; Anjaly Elizabeth is a good front-end developer and a passionate designer and Nidhiya - two crazy coders from Cochin, Kerala, India who believe in the awesomeness of “OPEN SOURCE“. Although we have participated in many coding events and all, we never got to work in a project that spans for 3 months. We still remember the wow moment, when we got the selection mail from the RGSOC organization. We never expect that we could be one among the worlds 16 teams who got sponsored for the RGSOC. And with all that enthusiasm we started the project on July 1st. We were working on one of the dream projects we had in our mind – impress.js ( a 3D presentation tool) with the one and only Bartek as mentor. We were literally thrilled to know that we got the great person behind the impress.js as our mentor. Katrin Kampfrath was supervising our project and she was supporting us through out the program. Even though our coaches were not getting sufficient time to help us out, our mentor was extremely supportive. There have been days on which we got stuck with some bugs. And Bartek was more than happy to help us despite of the fact that he was very busy. It was like our mentors and supervisors were just a “slack message” away from us. The remoteness didn’t matter at all. Only thing is we had to convert the IST to CET most of the time. ;)
We were learning many things throughout the program. And we had to admit that we had a difficult time in managing our academics with it. We used to bunk classes, skip food and miss sleeping. But the perks of learning always kept us going. And most importantly we were enjoying the Summer Of Code. Nope. We will call it the Monsoon of code. Coz it was raining throughout these three months. During three months we also had set backs when Nidhiya fell sick because of food poisoning and Anjaly fell sick due to viral fever. But we cooperated well to complete the work. And the disrupted internet services and frequent power failures due to Metro work really made a hard time for us. Sometimes we forgot to update the log and it led to warning mails. With the frequent support from our mentor and supervisor we were able to complete the tasks in time. Towards the last month our supervisor got changed and Laura was given charge of our project. And on 27th we had the final call with our mentor and supervisor and we got chance to pull the code into the original repository of impress.js :D :) We were truly excited about it.
“Why did we sign up for this?”
“Why aren’t the test passing after all the time we put it? Sigh”
“Why all these errors? But my code was running yesterday? Arrgh”
“You mean to tell me no one has ever got the solution to this error since the invention of Stack Overflow?”
These are just but some of the few questions that kept running through our minds each time we hit a snag during the three months. After asking ourselves these questions in several occasions, you would wonder why we have such a hard time saying goodbye.
We had the most intense three months and we loved it. We learnt a lot: testing with cucumber and rspec, internationalisation, even some German. Awesome, right? haha. Great of all, we got to experience the beauty of open source since it was our first time to contribute to an open source project. Last but not least, we learnt to work as a team. Even when we were in different parts of the globe, we braved the distance and shared in the spirit of teamwork. These three months that left us glued to our laptops brings to our minds a beautiful quote that says “The roots [of coding] are bitter, but the fruits are sweet.”
MEET THE TECHYLITES
Resla & Esther (image by Techylite)
The Techylite team starred Resla and Esther as students, Percilla as the coach, Maren as the mentor and Alex as the supervisor. Alex used to check on us frequently through all available methods, be it Hangouts, Skype calls, Slack. These calls taught us several little facts about video calling over the internet. We are grateful to Maren for all those questions and merge conflicts we sent her way, thank you for having our back. We also thank tyranja for always being there to review our code.
Perci, we can’t even count the number of bugs and errors we sent your way every day. Your time, effort and care is much appreciated.
We couldn’t have made it without your support and encouragement.
(image courtesy of giphy)
Our project, Speakerinnen, is a searchable web directory designed specifically for women conference speakers. Women speakers are encouraged to sign up and provide professional information, including their area of expertise, any previous conferences they’ve presented at, contact details, etc.. The aim of the app is to provide a way for conference and event organizers to find and contact appropriate women speakers.
During the three months, we put our focus on TDD and BDD. We were running tests on Speakerinnen using rspec. It was our first time doing testing and it was a challenge to find someone who does testing to help us. We later discovered that very few people tested their applications since testing is an arduous undertaking. We thus found ourselves hanging out on Google, Stack Overflow, Jumpstart lab and Rspec forums. We even borrowed books on testing (Esther who isn’t the greatest fan of books found herself reading the Everyday Rails Rspec by Aaron Sumner). We learnt the pros and cons of both rspec and cucumber. And then there is Github. To think there was a time we thought we knew how to use Github because we could write commits and push code is perplexing. Who knew Git was a whole complicated universe? Certainly not us (at the beginning of RGSoC). There is a whole lot of knowledge about Github that we’ve learnt that is incredible. There was so much inflow of information about git everyday such as git rebasing, git squashing, merging conflicts, cleaning the merge conflicts, creating branches and remote origins, writing good commits, etc.. We also got the hang of Postgres, FactoryGirl, Capybara and lots of gems. It is extremely difficult to summarize the challenges and successes of RGSoC out, but what matters is that we lived it and we loved it. In the end, we know so much (plus we are now asked a lot about rspec) to the extent that the Nairobi Tech Community has nicknamed us “The Rspec Girls” :)
(image by Techylite)
The main setback we encountered was the fact that we had very few people who understood rspec in Nairobi and we had to learn a lot on our own (which took much time than anticipated). Thanks to the Slack helpdesk channel, the late nights and Stack Overflow, we were able to work around it.
Some of the opportunities accorded to us after being part of the RGSoC include being invited to the Africa Hackon Conference in Nairobi, winning tickets to attend the GoTo Berlin Conference and being invited to speak at
2nd Annual African Women In Technology Conference to be held on October 15th 2015 in Nairobi, Kenya. Esther will be speaking at the Women in Technology Conference about her experience at RGSoC and on why more women should join the coding community. We are also looking forward to seeing you at next year’s Rubyconf Kenya, which we are organizing and may speak at.
Esther, Resla and Dorcas at the Africa Hackon Conf (image by Techylite)
Our journey just began. RGSoC has given us the confidence, skills and the attitude required for coding. With the opportunity we’ve been given, we hope to work on projects that are close to our hearts such as lowering the barrier for women/girls who who want to join the tech community. We are currently working on starting a Rails Girls Nairobi Chapter and we hope this goes well.
Dorcas, Resla, Esther & Chris (image by Techylite)
OUR APPRECIATION TO RGSoC
As much as we would want to write a beautiful vignette describing our gratefulness, words cannot express the joy we feel for getting this opportunity. We hope to continue contributing to open source projects and finishing translating Speakerinnen to Kiswahili.
Thank you. (image courtesy of giphy)
So here we are. After excitedly preparing for all of this since November last year, it’s done. Finished. Over. We are no longer RGSoC students. How has this time gone so fast?!
Rails Girls Summer of Code has been a life changing experience. I don’t say that lightly either, in April I was still a kindergarten teacher. Now, not only have I completed Summer of Code, but I have a real job as a real programmer! Watch out for my skills with exit [live] :D
It’s so hard to sum everything up, but I will of course try! This summer would not have been in any way possibly without the help of so many people.
The core orga team from RGSoC.
Your countless hours, your unfailing enthusiasm, your ability to keep quiet all that day where teams were being announced and not let slip to us, even a second before the emails were sent out while we hung out together at JSConfBP. You cruel and wonderful people! <3
Our coaches and supervisors.
Markus and Laura, you were assigned to us so it’s not exactly like you had a choice in the matter but you helped so wholeheartedly and were always available to us! While we didn’t call on all of our coaches as much as they might have expected, or more than they might have expected (as might happen when you live with one of your coaches waves at Igor) the fact that you were all there willing to help us as much as we needed, was a massive boost in and of itself. Thank you for believing in us enough to dedicate time to us. <3
While Jan and Ola were the “official” mentors on our application, it was so wonderful to see every one of the hoodies help us at different points throughout the programme. We learned so much from everyone, and from what we have worked on over the course of the summer! Our daily standup calls made everyone (even Gregor all the way in Boston!) feel so much closer. When we were confused or frustrated with things (which happened often for me admittedly… Damn HapiJS) we knew that we could yell for help in the hoodie slack, and before long there would be someone who at the very least would point us where to look for the answers.
Jan, Ola, Gregor, all of our hoodies, we want to thank you from the very bottoms of our hearts for helping us to learn all that we have learned this summer. We learned more than just coding. Thank you for welcoming us into your family <3
Thank you for providing the Tessies with a home this summer! Sektor has been a special place for team tessie - it’s where we were first introduced and where we began to plot our world domination plan for summer of code. You haven’t seen the last of us now that summer of code is over (especially now that the AC is installed!) but even more so because thanks to the sektor slack (and networking using giphys), Shelly has a job as a real programmer! Actually by the time this post is published, Shelly will have had this job for a few days. <3
If it hadn’t been for the people and companies who donated to the fundraiser, I would never have been able to dedicate so much time to learning how to be a developer. I am not the only one to whom this applies. I hope you all realise what a real difference you have made to the lives of the many people who took part in RGSoC 2015.
The Other Students.
It was lovely to chat to you all on Slack and Twitter, sharing cat gifs and frustrations! Also sharing super handy tips and tricks that you also learned <3
We weren’t just helped by the people I listed above. People were also so fast to jump in with help whenever we were stuck and yelling in frustration on Slack or Twitter. It is very humbling when so many people come together just to help us reach our end goal.
I’m looking forward to next year when the next batch of students begin, and when I can be that old cat lady who comes along to dispense advice and reminisce about “back in my day”.
I always find it a bit hard to list out all the people I’m grateful for, not because I’m not grateful, but because of the worry that I may forget to list someone and hurt their feelings! There are so many incredible people who I have to thank for everything this summer, so I’d like to do that here:
Thank you. Thank you so much. You’ve changed my life, you know that? Before this summer I was kind of a mess. There was a lot of personal stuff going on and there was a lot of growing up I had to do. I needed this summer, and I’m so grateful you were there with me.
If you read that, chances definitely are that I’m directing that to you. You may not know it but even just by being your awesome self, you were there for me this summer.
It’s been such a fantastic summer. We definitely plan on continuing our work together so keep a look out for awesome Team Tessie projects in the future! We’re extremely excited for our journey ahead and we’ll never forget all the amazing people that made this possible!