I spent the day today in Bath at the UK’s first Rails Girls event. It was run as part of Bath Digital Festival by some lovely, friendly coders.

RailsCake

Rails Girls started in Finland, and is a one-day event to teach women of all ages the basics of coding in Ruby and using the Rails framework to create web apps. From the starting point of no knowledge whatsoever, the goal of the day is to make a simple web app using the skills and tools learned along the way.

We started the morning using TryRuby.org┬áto learn the very basic elements of coding in Ruby. I found most of this quite logical because I’ve been learning a bit of JavaScript so some of the concepts transfer even if the syntax and language is slightly different. This taught us how to create and manipulate strings and arrays, using objects and methods and creating a simple blog template at the end.

The friendly coders were always on hand to answer the “Wait, why did that just happen?” questions and keep everyone motivated. There was also cake, which I’m pretty sure helped a lot. After pizza lunch we moved on to learning about the Rails framework, using the Rails Girls tutorial to create a basic app.

I wish I could show you the app that I made but due to the wifi limitations of the college we were in, we couldn’t get our apps to the point of publishing them online. That’s probably a good thing because there’s quite a bit of css work to be done before it looks as pretty as I’d like it to.

I had some lovely moments during the day when I finally got things to work, a concept ‘clicked’ or I figured out how to make something happen without just following instructions. Each time I felt that excitement of having actually achieved something. Ruby on Rails is a really good framework for seeing what you can achieve really quickly. From a few Terminal commands you can see something you’ve created in your browser straight away, whatever it looks like at that point, and that’s really motivating when you’re just starting out with a programming language.

I’m hoping to carry on learning and create some brilliant web apps. Please feel free to offer tips, suggestions or pointers.

During the day, thanks to the wonders of Twitter, I was also part of a conversation about bringing a Rails Girls event to Cardiff. I’m particularly excited about this, so watch this space for more news about that.