RORO Hack Night 26/07 - A Newbie Perspective

I had the pleasure of attending my first ever Sydney RORO Hack Night last night and it was a great experience for a newbie for me. Place, pizzas and beers were provided by the kind folks at Ninefold (@lachlanhardy was the host of the night) - thanks guys!

I went there with Filippo and Ronaldo who are (ex) colleagues and friends. I also finally met Glenn (@glennmartin76) in person.

Glenn like me is new to Ruby - not sure how he found my blog and my RORO meetup post - but he did. And he contacted me via my blog asking questions about Sydney RORO.¬†And then we exchanged emails couple of times - he’s got some good questions about all things Ruby (note to self: I should create a list of things that helped me get started and “stay” motivated to learn Ruby).

Hopefully I did some part to encourage him to come on the night.

Ok about the night itself - the night began with food and beers and casual chat.

I took a quick glance on people’s machines - the three newbies have Windows laptop (hey I do my Ruby dev on Ubuntu VM - so not that bad!) and the rest is on their shiny Macs.

And then Lachlan asked if people have interesting projects that they are working on or need help on. Some people put their hands up - some interesting stuffs being mentioned - Backbone.js, MongoDB, XML/XSLT(?) etc.

I then put my hands up for my dailymile-ruby gem fork that I am working on, I basically wanted to someone with more Ruby experience to review my code and to provide some feedbacks.

And I was fortunate enough to get Ryan Bigg (@ryanbigg) to help with that. Working with someone with Ryan’s experience was really cool - I got some good feedbacks and good tips on coding standard as well.

I got to ask questions like how would certain things be done in Ruby, like the good practice for raising exceptions, parameter type checking (I am a bit paranoid with type checking coming from ColdFusion/Java background).

I then asked Ryan on how to build a test for the feature that implemented. I did actually have a stand alone Ruby script to test but I wanted to make a proper Test Unit out of it. And he showed me exactly how to do that - and as bonus point I was pointed to to WebMock which looks like to be very handy for API testing.

So hopefully another few hours worth of work and my work is ready for a pull request (oh that elusive first pull request.. ).

I then sat with Damien (@its_damo) - he was working on fixing a bug on his somanyfeeds app and he was kind enough to explain how he implemented the app. I was quite impressed on the effort and the thoughts he put on this - things like JavaScript minification and fingerprinting, caching and queues using RabbitMQ.

Somanyfeeds is an Sinatra app by the way and he implemented some of Rails-inspired features to his app. Do check the app’s code out on GitHub - he showed me some documentations that he’s written for the app which looks like a solid piece of work as well.

And just by talking to him - I got free lesson on Ruby symbol. I actually haven’t got to the part of learning symbols yet and I always wonder what they are. Ruby symbol behaves like Java string - they are immutable while apparently Ruby string is not.

At some point - an accident happened - Ryan accidentally spilled beer on Ron’s Mac. But Ron was complaining about his old MacBook before the hack night started - so I am slightly suspicious that this is staged so that he can upgrade his Mac :)

I then sit with Filippo looking at his Python project. He kept on telling me not to mention Python loudly - and I don’t understand why :) Filippo was working on an app similar to Got introduced to TipFy library and stuffs.

Went home around 10pm - some people were still hacking away. So yeah I had a great time last night - meeting great and friendly people from the Ruby (and JavaScript) community.

I think if you are new to Ruby - all the more reason to attend the hack night.

Photo from the night courtesy of Lachlan.