Running an Intro to Web Development


For quite some time now, I have seen people become more and more interested in startups and buildings products. There are many reasons why startups are becoming hip but I believe a fundemental one is the sheer reduction in resources needed to get something out of the door. I attribute a lot of my experience to the fact that I stumbled upon the powerful combination of Ruby on Rails and Heroku, so I decided to give back and give people the opportunity to be enlightened as well :)

To me, the greatest thing about Rails is the unbelievably little amount of knowledge about Rails you need in order to make something. The very declarative nature of Ruby, well-thought-out conventions and rich gem ecosystem allows you to just use examples and code snippets online and modify it to your needs. As time goes along, you'll understand how everything works (I'm not quite there yet)

So my biggest priority was to get that point across while having a great diversity in the audience. There were CS seniors with plenty of programming experience on the one side and just curious business students on the other side, finding the right balance was difficult. In the end, I settled on a quick overview of what webapps are and how Rails and other framework fit into the current landscape, followed by a 1-2 hour live-coding session that involves the cloning on reddit. I used to allow the students to read the source code while I was editing it, as well as interact with the web page as we go.

The concepts covered are:

  • Git
  • Gems
  • rails g scaffold
  • Migrations
  • MVC Convention
  • Validations
  • Deploy to Heroku (<3) You can find the slides below and the github repo here.
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