San Francisco
March 19, 2015

Turn your Ideas into Web Applications

We're kicking off a new set of beginner courses in Charlottesville, so bring a laptop, a desire to learn, and some ideas if you've got 'em.

In this beginner course, you're going to build a project that's meaningful to you. If you have some ideas of fun projects, or problems you have that you think technology can help solve, then we'll show you how to use the Ruby on Rails framework to build out those ideas, deploy them publicly, and show them off to others.

If you don't have any ideas, but want to come learn, then first, try to think of some ideas... still drawing a blank? We've got a bunch of good ideas to choose from.


  • bring a laptop
  • install ruby and rails on your laptop. Don't get discouraged if this is too confusing or doesn't seem to be working -- we've all been there. Just come with your laptop and we'll help get you set up.
  • read What is Rails? from the rails getting started guide. Admire how great the documentation for rails is :) If you feel up for it, see how far you can get in this guide, but we'll assume you just read about what rails is.

Lesson Objectives

  • Students will have a clear understanding of the projects they'll be working on for the next several weeks.
  • Students will start to grasp how they'll be using rails to solve these problems.
  • Students will have sketches of their initial sites, and have a cursory understanding of how HTML and CSS will be used to implement those sketches.

Lesson Details

  1. Pick Ideas - We'll go around the room and discuss the ideas we want to work on. We'll also have several good ideas on tap for those of us who can't think of anything, but we'll try to get you to think of something first.
  2. What is an MVP? - We'll discuss the concept of a Minimum Viable Product, and help narrow the scopes of our solutions so that they'll be feasible to build within the next 8 weeks.
  3. Introduction to Wireframes - We'll start sketching out part of our solutions using wireframes drawn on good old pen & paper.
  4. Introduction to HTML and CSS - We'll introduce the view layer first, showing how to turn our wireframes into websites, and how to begin styling them.


  • Code Editors
    • Sublime Text - a multi-platform, versatile general text editor with syntax highlighting, some great keyboard shortcuts, and a completely usable free version.
    • Emacs and Vim are more hard core. They take a concerted effort to learn, and involve new ways of navigating around text, but they pay off in the long run in terms of speed and not needing to use the mouse at all.
    • If you're used to using an Integrated Development Environment (IDE), you might enjoy Rubymine for your ruby and rails needs. It understands your code, so will help you by autocompleting variable and method names for you, as well as running tests and other rails-specific tasks.
    • If you're on windows and using notepad, and for some reason don't want to use Sublime Text, then at least use Notepad++
    • has a code editor built into it, and it'll also give you a development environment capable of running rails applications.
  • Wireframes
    • nothing beats pencil and paper
    • but for digital forms, check out Cacoo or Balsamiq
  • References
  • HTML Boilerplate - if raw html is just too ugly for you to look at, you can start with a simple style from Initializr, just choose Responsive or Bootstrap (recommended)


Contact us at [email protected] or check out the FAQ

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2:30pm Pacific - 4:30pm Pacific on March 19, 2015 at Coshx Labs
16 students were there


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