Rails Girls Summer of Code logo

Rails Girls Summer of Code 2018

Rails Girls Summer of Code is a great way to practice your code skills after attending to one of the Rails Girls workshops. You can work on an Open Source project during the Summer, having a whole team to support you: teammate, a mentor, coaches and a supervisor to support you during this journey. I still get excited when I remember that this program is totally funded by the community (and also some cool sponsors!).

I am so happy to say that my team, Brazilian Housewives coding, was accepted this year! They recently posted my team Introduction blog post from the official blog in Rails Girls Summer of Code. Check it out the other team’s posts there too, they are all amazing!

About us

Hello! We are Stefanni and Camila, two junior software developers from Brazil, based in Vancouver, Canada. We didn’t know each other before the RGSoC and we are more than happy to introduce our team!

Stefanni

I am a millennial that likes to cook, coding, cats, playing sports and eating chocolate. I moved to Vancouver in January because my husband received a job offer to work here and we brought our two cats with us.

My history with Rails Girls began in 2015. Actually, Rails Girls is the reason I decided to start Computer Science college in 2015 ( I only did 1 year and a half, now I am studying by myself). I went as a student in the Rails Girls Sao Paulo 2015 workshop and since then I wanted to join the RGSoC, but I never applied. I was also a coach on the 2017th edition and it was an amazing experience.

The other coach of my group introduced me to the CTO of a Brazilian fintech where later I did a brief software internship before moving to Vancouver. So imagine how happy I was when Ana and Vaishali surprised us announcing that we were selected, Rails Girls has been playing an important role in my tech career!

Camila

Hello everybody, my name is Camila! I’m a Brazilian living in Vancouver with my husband. After finishing our master’s degree in Computer Science last year we came to Canada with our two cats – the flight was a great adventure!

During graduation I worked with Recommender Systems, characterizing the consumption over time in recommendation domains, and in social network analysis. In my master, I was interested in understanding how sociological aspects are reflected in current technologies, such as the existence of racial bias/stereotypes in search engines, and what is the role of the algorithms on the propagation of these bias/stereotypes. I’ve been working with academic research since my first year as an undergrad student. And my plan was to finish my master’s degree and then apply for a Ph.D. But for now, I feel the need to apply my knowledge to something that is really going to be used by several people and not only in the academic environment.

I learned to code in my early years of graduation and I have a good experience with algorithms. I have good knowledge of Python, C, R… But I have almost no experience in software development, software engineering, testing, etc. So I think the Rail Girls program will be a great opportunity to be part of the Open Source community and learn a lot!

How did we meet?

Because we are both relatively new to Vancouver, it was difficult to find a teammate here. So we used the RGSoC google groups to search for teammates and there was where we met each other. We went to a coffee shop and discussed our application and we soon got along, especially because we both have cats =).

Thanks, RGSoC organizers for providing these mediums for us to find a teammate 🙂

How is work going?

This week has been great! We are reading and collecting information from the Public Lab codebase and the API docs/tests. Also, we focused on learning more about Git, RESTful API’s, and how to document code changes.

We also want to thank the Predictable Revenue for letting us use their space to work. Thiago, one of our coaches, works there and we asked if we could work there. The office is great and it’s located at the historical site of Vancouver, a central location in the city.

Camila, Julio, Stefanni and Thiago on our first day! picture taken by Stefanni Brasil

Camila, Julio, Stefanni, and Thiago on our first day! the picture was taken by Stefanni Brasil

Meet our Amazing Team

Coaches:

Thiago Araujo and Julio Albinati. Thanks for being our coaches, we couldn’t be part of this amazing program without your help.

Mentor:

One of the reasons we applied to work at Public Lab is because it’s a very inclusive and supportive community. Jeff Warren is always helping us and we are happy to be part of it.

Supervisor:

Mayar is our RGSoC’s Buddy and we want to thank you for all your support and advice for us to have a great summer of code.

Thanks, everyone for helping us and for being part of our team, you are amazing! 🙂

About our Summer Project

We are working as a part-time team on the Public Lab app, more specific on the API feature. We have a Planning Issue here with the Timeline and a Github Project page if you want to check out and/or give some help and tips 🙂 We don’t have much experience working with API’s so we are really excited to learn everything that we can this summer.

So, why Brazilian housewives coding?

We are junior developers and have only been living in Vancouver for a few months. We were both beginning our career in Brazil when our husbands got a job offer to move to Vancouver so we were having a hard time finding opportunities for juniors here. We thought it would be a good name to play with our status here! 😛

What do we expect for the RGSoC 2018?

  • Understand more about modeling an API
  • Become more familiar with SQL queries
  • Be experts on Ruby on Rails
  • Learn more about JavaScript and Tests
  • Improve our documentation skills
  • Be just the beginning of this amazing Open Source adventure
  • Have a great Summer!

Github guide for Open Source Contributions

I’ve always wanted to contribute to Open Source projects and I am proud to say that recently I achieved that by doing my first code contributions to some cool projects! There are lots of resources online about contributing to Open Source Projects, especially from Github, but it doesn’t hurt writing another one, right? And writing this Guide will help me because now I don’t have to search the commands every time 🙂

For me, the hardest part was finding a project where I felt welcomed as a beginner and comfortable with the technology used. I was looking at the Rails Girls Summer of Code projects and after some days, I started doing contributions to Public Lab and If me organizations.

If I am in any position of giving an advice, I’d say to look out for projects that you feel comfortable and that makes sense to you and to your learning path. It probably isn’t a good idea to start contributing to the Linux kernel, if you are learning how to program, for example.

You can take a look at the open Issues and choose one that you want to work. If you think you can work on an Issue, for example, but need to clarify some things, go ahead and ask the team! 🙂

Another thing that is helpful in this discovery adventure is to read the documentation. Providing a careful documentation usually says a lot about the team communication and organization.

I like to follow these two guides from Lucas Mazza and Thoughtbot to help me with Git in my contributions. I recommend you to read these two before going further.

Setting our application

Now that we have selected the project and selected an Issue to work on, we must go to their repository and click on the ‘Fork’ button:

This will create a new repository in our Github Account with the current state of the application. You can see it by clicking on your account’s repositories. That’s the repository where we’ll add our changes, instead of playing with the original. This is good because it guarantees that we’ll never affect the original repository, so we won’t be afraid of breaking something and focus on our work 🙂

Now, on our local machine, we clone our forked project (remember to modify the personal info with yours):

git clone git@github.com:stefannibrasil/plots2.git

The next step is to make sure everything is running okay, following the project Installation guide. After that, we can go ahead and create a new branch in our forked repository:

git checkout -b 'my-new-branch'

It’s up to you if you want to create a new branch or work on your local master. I prefer always having a branch for each new feature.

Now we have everything ready for our actual work! Remember to write good commit messages and provide good context for the reviewers while doing them. This post helped me a lot with that 🙂

Submitting our changes

When we are done with our changes, the next step is to open a Pull Request to say that we want to merge our changes into the original code. Normally, visiting the Github project page after pushing changes from a local branch will put a notice with the branch name.

I find it easier to open the Pull Request just clicking on ‘Compare & Pull Request’:

But if that doesn’t happen, you can do that by clicking on ‘New pull request’ and search for your branch there.

Note: If you aren’t done yet but you want to know if you are on the right path, you can always open a new PR to get some feedback. Just add a ‘[WIP] – Add new feature’ to its name and ask for a review.

Keeping our forked repository updated

Because other people are making modifications to the code at the same time, our forked repository needs to get these changes frequently, so we will always have the updated code to work on.

We can do that by adding the project repository as one of our remote repositories. We can copy the link provided in the original repository ‘clone or download’ button and run the following command:

git remote add upstream git@github.com:publiclab/plots2.git

Now if we run

git remote -v

we should have two remote repositories listed, ours and the project’s:

origin git@github.com:stefannibrasil/plots2.git (fetch)
origin git@github.com:stefannibrasil/plots2.git (push)
upstream https://github.com/publiclab/plots2.git (fetch)
upstream https://github.com/publiclab/plots2.git (push)

Now run these on master:

git fetch upstream # to retrieve new work done by ther people
git rebase upstream/master # to rebase upstream into your master
git push origin master

If that ran smoothly, you must see that your forked repository is even with the original:

If you’ve created a branch as I did, run the following command to also rebase your branch with the updated master:

git checkout my-new-branch
git rebase master/my-new-branch

Now we have our repository updated and that will decrease the number of conflicts in the future. If conflicts happen, it’s not the end of the world. Git usually provides helpful messages about the errors to guide you while solving them (and Google, always).

Some notes

After doing your first Open source contribution you’ll likely find out that the code that you change is just half of the work. You need first to communicate with the team, see if you understand the problem and ask for help, for example.

But don’t worry if you don’t feel ready to do any of this. Don’t let that hold you back. If the project you choose is beginner-friendly, the team will help you with anything that you need. Besides, you’ll learn a lot from this experience, trust me.

Another note that I want to share is this video from Eileen. She talked a little about her Open Source experience developing a feature for Rails 5.1:

And that’s it for today. I hope you find this Guide useful. If you have anything to suggest or add, please, add a comment below 🙂 See you next!