Herding Code 121: Sara Chipps updates us on Girl Develop It at one year

This episode of Herding Code Kevin and Jon catch up with Sara Chipps to find out how Girl Develop It is going.

  • Kevin jumps right into it by asking Sara about what’s been going on over the past year. Sara goes back to what was on their minds as they were first getting started with their first class, and how that’s grown to 6 cities worldwide, and their original New York chapter offers 20 classes a month with 5 teachers.
  • Kevin asks where the other teachers came from, and Sara spins a tall tale about flamethrower classes. Well, maybe it’s true, but I find it a bit suspect.
  • Kevin asks about where the classes are held.
  • Jon asks about how the money part works out. Sara explains how the class fees, donations, and teacher payments all work out.
  • Kevin asks Sara about about what tools they teach, and Sara mentions Aptana.
  • Jon asks for some success stories and Sara tells a few.
  • Kevin asks how many students go through several classes; Sara says they see about 25% frequent fliers.
  • Jon asks if there’s some measurement of how much the students actually learn. Sara explains that the classes include a good amount of hands-on work and homework, and that she and the other teachers continue to learn how to gage when students are getting lost.
  • Kevin asks if there are some students that just don’t get it, and Sara says that some students have a tough time understanding that a single missing character can break a whole program. Everyone commiserates about this fun part of software development. Jon speculates that young women may be missing out on some of the split between cold logic and reason because they don’t play enough video games.
  • Jon notes that a lot of real world computer programming involves problem solving and support network and asks if students are equipped with those things. Sara talks about how anyone watching her code will see a good amount of debugging; additionally she teaches students about how to use StackOverflow so they can get their questions solved.
  • Kevin asks how the curriculum and courses have evolved over the past year. Sara and Jon talk about the amount of time and effort involved in preparing decent training materials.
  • Kevin asks about changes in teaching approach over the course of the past year. Sara said she’s moved from code-only to using some slides, and that when writing code it’s important to walk through it in pretty good detail.
  • Kevin asks what’s been different from expectations, and Sara talks about both the amount of interest and community goodwill.
  • Kevin asks about how Girl Develop It has spread to other cities, and asks about how much of the content is shared between cities.
  • Jon asks about how the branding and design is handled.
  • Jon asks if there are advanced classes or seminars.
  • Jon asks Sara what sort of projects she’s been working on lately. Sara says it’s pretty much all Javascript lately.
  • Kevin asks if there will be a node.js class (drink!)
  • Kevin asks what’s next for Girl Develop It, which prompts Sara to talk about the first Girl Develop It hack-a-thon. Apparently these are like a guy hack-a-thon except with less pizza and body odor and more resort and catering.
  • Kevin asks if Girl Develop It could develop into a full time gig. Sara says that all the leaders love developing and don’t want to give that up, so they’re still trying to figure that out.
  • Jon asks how listeners can support Girl Develop It. Sara lists a range of options, including book, laptop donations, and meeting space. Kevin asks about cash contributions.
  • Jon and Kevin note that there are no West Coast US branches. Sara mentions that a bay area location may start soon.
  • Kevin asks about the 15% male attendance in Girl Develop It, and Sara explains how that works.
  • Jon asks if there’s potential for virtual events and video recordings. Sara explains that, while it sounds great logistically, it misses out on a lot of the most important aspects of the Girl Develop It classroom experience. They’ve got trial running in the Columbus branch, though, so they’ll see how it goes.
  • Sara teases about an interesting hack-a-thon project they did recently using the Aviary API’s called Stash Your Stash, which removes moustaches from photos because "they’re super creepy!"

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Herding Code 121: Sara Chipps updates us on Girl Develop It at one year

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Herding Code 120: Ryan Stewart on RIAs and All Things Adobe

This episode of Herding Code the guys talk to Ryan Stewart, a developer evangelist at Adobe.

  • Scott K asks about the pricing of Adobe products. Ryan explains why things are priced as they are and talks about the subscription model alternative.
  • Jon talks about the open other free or inexpensive alternatives for beginning Adobe development since the formats are generally open sourced. Ryan agrees and also explains that Adobe’s entire pricing model is built around tools, whereas Microsoft’s includes both tools and servers.
  • Jon asks about the licensing around Flash Media Server. Ryan explains that it’s not something general developers will need to deal with.
  • Scott K speculates around the idea of appliances from Adobe which would be complete video / media processing systems. Ryan says he thinks that’s interesting but he doesn’t expect anything like that to happen.
  • Jon asks about the general trends away from some rich internet abuses in the past. Ryan and Jon talk about the polyfill approach for using Flash and RIA technologies to augment browsers when the features aren’t supported. Ryan and Scott K talk about how developers and the tech press have quickly forgotten that many of the new emerging browser capabilities (typography, media, animation) are modeled after capabilities that RIA technologies initially pioneered.
  • Scott K points out that this is a good segue to the new Edge tool. Ryan talks about how Edge is a designer tool that creates CSS3 and JavaScript animation using the timeline that Flash designers are used to. Jon mentions that this makes more sense to him when thinking about Adobe primarily as a developer tools company rather than a platform oriented company.
  • Jon asks about Adobe support for HTML5 / CSS3 development in Edge with Flash fallback. Ryan talks about how they generally keep them separate, and if browser-based animation isn’t supported it just won’t play.
  • Kevin asks about how Edge affects the accessibility of the underlying content.
  • Jon asks about how Flash Builder 4.5 allows for developing native iOS and Android applications. Ryan explains how it works and clarifies how it complies with Apple developer guidelines. There’s a mention of the popular Mono apps which run on iOS.
  • Twitter question from Chris Edwards: "What are the are the best tools for automated testing of Flash UI’s" – Ryan recommends HP Quick Test Pro
  • Scott K asks about Adobe Air – it seemed great, but seems to have kind of fallen out of favor. What’s the deal there? Ryan talks about how Air was both a great, bold idea, but also a new challenge for Adobe, in that Air applications are much longer running than most Flash apps.
  • Jon asks about some annoyances in installing updates for Air, Flash, etc. Ryan explains some of the reasons for the updates. Jon asks about the possibility to add in more of an auto-update experience.
  • Jon asks Ryan about some of the new features in Flash. Ryan talks about a lot of features, including Stage Video and 3D GPU support and graphics features. Scott K. asks if there are opportunities for leveraging WebGL, and Ryan says that there have been discussions about that but nothing’s in progress yet.
  • Ryan asks the guys what they’re expecting at at BUILD, and they all clam up. Scott K. ask about Flash on Windows Phone. Ryan says it’d be great, but he’d be surprised given the Silverlight support on Windows Phone. Kevin’s happy that speculation will finally stop. Scott K. talks it’s good that developers are having to care about memory and CPU usage again.
  • Ryan talks about the difficulty of bringing richness and creativity to the client without adversely impacting performance.
  • Scott K asks about the current state of Adobe Labs. Ryan points out that the Adobe MAX conference is coming up in October, so Labs will probably be pretty quiet until then.
  • Jon asks about Muse. Ryan explains that really targeted at print designers who want to create web content, so it’s not really a tool for web designers or developers.
  • Jon asks about some Adobe client products which are developed in Air.
  • Scott K. asks about what big surprises may be happening at MAX this year. Ryan and and Scott K. speculate a bit more about BUILD, and Ryan tells listeners who recognize him at BUILD to please say hi. Jon says he might sneak in if he can locate a catering costume.

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Herding Code 120: Ryan Stewart on RIAs and all things Adobe

[audio:http://herdingcode.com/wp-content/uploads/HerdingCode-0120-Ryan-Stewart-on-RIAs-and-all-things-Adobe.mp3]