Charity Workshop

Improve your Ruby skills and support local charities

Wednesday, September 19th

Join us for a chance to learn more about Ruby and raise money for local charities. We're bringing back our pre-conference training day on Wednesday September 19th. Just donate to one of our selected local charities and you're in -- no conference pass required. Help us top last year's total of $3100.

We will be offering four separate tracks of workshops, each with a morning and afternoon session. NOTE: conference registration is not required to attend the charity workshop. This is open to anyone to attend. These workshops span from beginner courses in Ruby to advanced topics in the testing and Ruby realm. Through the generous support of Haught Codeworks, Bing and Techstars we're able to offer these sessions all to support local charity. Please look over the sessions below to learn more about the content and any prerequisites there might be. All locations will be in Downtown Boulder, within walking distance of the Boulderado.

Each session will have its own registration form. We do this as each room has a limited number of seats. AM sessions start at 9am and run until noon. PM sessions start at 1:30pm and end at 4:30pm. Please show up 15-20 minutes early to get your seat, settle in and make sure you're ready to start.

Donation Required

These workshops, while free to secure a ticket, are all about raising money for local charities. You will need to make a donation to cover the sessions you wish to attend. You can do this at the event or ahead of time. If you are making a donation beforehand you will need to bring your printed receipt of your donation. Most sessions require a $30 or more donation. There are special reserve tickets for supporters that donate $100 or more for a session. We are offering a few seats at this level as a way to encourage those to give more than the minimum and be recognized for it. For instance, if you wished to attend Play with Ruby and The Hashrocket Way, you could make a single $60 donation to cover both sessions as the minimum.

Our overall goal is to top $5000 total. Please be generous and help our meet our goal! Here is the list of our local charities:

Morning Sessions: 9 - Noon

Sara Snider

Nick Howard

RailsBridge: Intro to Ruby and Rails

In this workshop, we'll take you through building a complete web application using Ruby on Rails. By the end of the workshop, you'll have an application on the internet that connects to a database and reads and writes information. We'll meet up Tuesday night to install all of the software you need, and then spend workshop day (Wednesday) learning and writing code.

Total programming novices, system administrators, developers in other languages, and folks who attended our previous workshops are all welcome.

We'll be using the RailsBridge format and materials for this workshop. You can find out more about RailsBridge at and

Once you register you'll be provided with more details on the workshop as well as asked a few questions about your operating system, level and type of programming experience. NOTE: This workshop runs the entire day (both morning and afternoon sessions).


Each participant will need their own computer. We will have an installfest Tuesday night for each participant that you should plan on attending. The installfest is a crucial part of the workshop, even if you’ve already gone through the instructions independently. If on OS X, you will need to install Xcode from your home network as this will take a long time and must be done before the installfest or the workshop. There are a ton of moving parts when setting up a development environment, and the reason that we’re able to get through the curriculum on Wednesday is that every single student has had their dev environment checked and has been awarded a sticker for their successes. There are also enough changing parts that even if you’ve been to a workshop in the past, you should attend the Installfest to get re-verified.

If for some reason you can't make it to the installfest on Tuesday night, we'll help get you set up! Just let us know beforehand if you won't be able to make it.


Sara is an aspiring programmer and is spending as much time as possible digging into Ruby and Rails and making stuff. Her background is in public libraries and she otherwise spends her time in fabric shops and sewing up cool things.

Nick works at Gnip, writing code that processes ludicrous amounts of data. He's one of the maintainers of Mirah, a JVM language that uses a Ruby-like syntax. He's an active participant in the Boulder Ruby Community and is known for helping organize BugMashes and Code Retreats.

Playing with Ruby

Ask any software developer how they first learned to program. Maybe at some point they read books or attended classes, but ultimately they had to learn by trial and error: by typing in some code and seeing what happened. You learn your first programming language by playing with code, just like you learned your first spoken language by playing with sounds.

In this workshop you'll work with some Ruby code that draws an image on the screen. Your job is to change the image by changing the code. The goal is to give everyone first-hand experience with variables, loops, branches, and the command line. You'll figure it out faster than we can explain it, so let's get started.


Please bring a computer or be ready to share. If it has Windows, please download and install Ruby from before the workshop.


Daniel is a back-end web developer at Quick Left in Boulder, CO. He has about five years of experience in Ruby and a passion for strengthening communication between developers and domain experts. This summer he enjoyed coaching novice programmers at DaVinci Coders and RailsBridge.

Jessica Dillon is a software developer at Quick Left in Boulder, CO. She specializes in front-end development but enjoys writing Ruby on Rails and Javascript. When not coding, you can find her walking her dog or playing Roller Derby.

Front-end Architecture with Sass 3.2

Front-end architecture is hard. Structuring your code for long term maintainability, optimizing for speed & retina and handling this thing called "mobile first". During this workshop we'll focus on front-end architecture from a back-end perspective for modern day, responsive web apps. A high level overview, driven by your questions with hands-on exercises to get the most out of Sass 3.2.


For demo's I'll be using a Middleman app ( with the source code for the demo's on GitHub. I suggest running Ruby 1.9.3, but older versions should work too. The demo will come with a Gemfile that requires Middleman, so setting things up should be trivial. If you don't like surprises, install Middleman beforehand and create and run a new project. If that works, you're golden.


I'm co-founder of Ruby consultancy 80beans in Amsterdam (The Netherlands), where we build awesome products for our international clients. We also founded SliceCraft, the only company globally that offers PSD-to-Haml/Sass services. In addition I try to blog and am a contributing author for You can find me on Twitter (@roy).

Vim Masterclass

In this masterclass, we’ll work through a series of exercises, finding at least two solutions to every problem. In response to the question “which is best?” we’ll see that the answer is always: “it depends”.

Vim is optimized for repetition. We’ll study a few examples of how to use the dot command to repeat the last change. Then we’ll develop a strategy for composing repeatable changes, and meet the optimal Dot Formula: a two step solution with a thousand uses.

To level the playing field, we’ll be using bare Vim (not vi - we’re not savages). You’ll be asked to leave your .vimrc at the door.

The material is presented as a series of interactive lessons, picking up where the Vimtutor left off. It ties in with my book, Practical Vim.

Is it for me?

This workshop is not for the Vim novice. It is assumed that you are familiar with the basics. If you still depend on using the arrow keys to move around, you'll be out of your depth in this class. Nor is it for the Vim master. If you already use the `:normal` Ex command daily, and compose recursive macro quines for fun, then I can’t promise to teach you anything new.

This workshop is aimed at the intermediate user. Come and see how Vim can blow your mind!


Bring your own laptop, with an up to date installation of Vim (version 7.2 or later).

The learning resources for this workshop are hosted in a private git repository. Please supply me with your github username, so that I can grant you access to the repository.


Drew Neil is an independent programmer, writer, and trainer. He runs workshops around the world, speaks regularly at conferences, and specializes in making educational screencasts. At, he publishes articles and video tutorials about Vim.

Afternoon Sessions: 1:30 - 4:30

The Hashrocket Way

Take a step away from the technical side of things and learn about the process behind developing software. Paul and Brandon will walk you through how Hashrocket takes a client's rough idea and guides them to an MVP. From story carding to pair programming to feature development, they will share how Hashrocket approaches these problems and what works for them. They will also share their philosophies on open source contributions, blogging, and apprenticeship programs.




Paul is a senior developer and consultant at Hashrocket in Jacksonville Beach, FL. There he leads teams to build large projects for external clients. He has been working professionally in technology for over 10 years and dealt with stakeholders of all shapes and sizes. He is passionate about consulting, TDD, and motorcycles.

A natural problem solver, Brandon enjoys working with the high-caliber Rocketeers and building great software for clients. When he’s not coding at work, he’s coding at home. Brandon also enjoys puzzles, video games, chess and spending time with his wife, Katy.

First Steps testing JavaScript with Jasmine

Last year, I came to Rocky Mountain Ruby to encourage folks to start testing their JavaScript just as thoroughly as they test their Ruby. If you haven't yet had the opportunity, here's your chance! This workshop will cover the basics of getting started with Jasmine for Ruby & Rails, focusing on getting participants in a place where they're comfortable:

  1. Adding Jasmine specs to a Ruby or Rails projects
  2. Executing Jasmine specs in terminal, in a browser, and as part of a CI build
  3. Writing simple specs in JavaScript and CoffeeScript
  4. Leveraging helper libraries (like jasmine-fixture, jasmine-stealth) to make it easier to write clean specs


Bring your own development laptop. Have a Ruby/Rails environment ready to go such that you can create a new rails project. If you're interested in running Jasmine specs in a terminal without a browser, pre-install the Qt library.

- on Mac OS X, that's as easy as installing homebrew and then running "brew install qt"
- on other platforms, follow the setup instructions for capybara-webkit


Justin Searls has two professional passions: writing great software and sharing what he’s learned in order to help others write even greater software. He recently co-founded a new software studio called Test Double , where he’s currently helping clients build well-crafted user experiences for the web.

Ruby Meta Programming

Although mastering metaprogramming doesn't mean mastering Ruby, an understanding of it, and of the object model underlying Ruby that enables it, is a necessary step on that path. Practically speaking, a solid understanding of these concepts is relevant to every Ruby and Rails programmer daily. We'll look at Ruby's object model, its relevant APIs, and common patterns.


Ruby 1.9 running on your computer, preferrably 1.9.2 or higher.


Matt is a trainer with JumpstartLab and an instructor with Hungry Academy, LivingSocial's accelerated Ruby and Rails training program run in partnership with JumpstartLab. He has worked with and taught Ruby on Rails for boutique development firms for several years.

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