September 3, 2013No Comments

Meet up with Table XI at WindyCityRails

017_windyCityRails_logoDo you have your tickets to WindyCityRails? We do. We’re proud to be sponsoring and speaking at Chicago’s biggest conference for Ruby software developers. If you’re also headed to the South Shore Cultural Center next week, be sure to keep a lookout for a team in green jackets, including two Table XIers who will take the stage during the two-day event.

Why are we so excited for the event? We think this WindyCityRails video sums it up well.

WindyCityRails 2013 from ChicagoRuby on Vimeo.

Table XI Speakers at WindyCityRails:

Greg Baugues, our Director of Client Services, will deliver his talk on Devs and Depression, which covers an extremely important subject that has resonated with many in our industry and earned Greg high praise and a global following. He has now spoken about Devs and Depression at MountainWest RubyConf; LessConf in Panama City, Florida; Scottish Ruby in Perthshire, Scotland; and Distill in San Francisco, to name a few. He’s looking forward to taking the stage a little closer to home this time to deliver his message.

“Software development is a good place for people with depression and bipolar,” Greg says. “It accepts the socially isolated. It accommodates irregular sleep patterns and inconsistent bursts of productivity. It seeks out those with the overconfidence to believe that they can solve problems that others can’t. We need to bring depression out into the sunlight, and make it as acceptable as diabetes or cancer. We need depressed developers to know that they are not lazy or weak, but are suffering from a treatable medical condition.”

You can catch Greg speak on Thursday, September 12, at 3:30 pm.

Noel Rappin, Table XI Senior Developer and Agile Coach, will also take the stage for his technical talk “Rails vs. Object Oriented Design.” This year he’s spoken at RailsConf in Portland, Oregon, and led a Rails workshop at MadisonRuby, but says he always looks forward to WindyCityRails.

“There are always interesting people to meet, and I’m excited to deliver my talk,” Noel says. “Over the past year or two, there’s been a lot of conversation in the Rails community about the applicability of Object-Oriented techniques to Rails applications. This conversation becomes especially important as the Rails community is increasingly managing long-lived applications. Techniques and phrases like ‘DCI,’ or ‘Rails is not your application,’ or ‘Dependency Injection’ get thrown around. All these sound impressive, but if you look to Rails for simplicity, then they may seem like overkill. In part, the techniques are about what kind of design is best suited to planning for unknowable future change. My talk shows how these techniques can be applied in Rails, and how they can help you prepare for the future without making the present complicated.”

Hear Noel Speak on Friday, September 13, at 9 am.

To see the full schedule, visit the Windy City Rails website here.

June 11, 2013No Comments

Telling Technical Stories: A Table Talk

Telling Technical StoriesThink technical writing is boring? "Not so!" says our senior developer and Agile coach, Noel Rappin. Rather, young devs learning Ruby experience as much of a hero's journey as Luke Skywalker taking on Darth Vader or Bilbo heading off to fight dragons. As such, writing technical books requires telling a story and taking your readers through interactive exercises that make them feel like the heroes of your tale. With enough learning and experience under their belts, they too can go from code novices to programming Jedis.

Below, watch Noel's Table Talk on "Telling Technical Stories," and see how drawing on timeless narrative techniques can help you craft meaningful and engaging technical pieces.

Our next Table Talks will be Thursday, June 13, and focus on Developer Education. If you're interested in attending, request an invite through our website. For past PechaKucha presentations from our Table Talks series, visit the Table XI PechaKucha channel. You can also follow along at #tabletalks.

June 10, 2013No Comments

Table XI Takes on TechWeek

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TechWeek Chicago is just around the corner again and we'll be back (June 27-29, Merchandise Mart). As Chicago's tech scene continues to grow and thrive, we love getting the chance to listen, learn, and participate in this ever-evolving community.

This year we’ve got two Table XIers speaking at the conference, so be sure to register and get these talks on your calendar.

COO Mark Rickmeier — Mobile Prototyping: TechWeek Lab Coat Series
Fri, June 28 / Bing Stage / 3–3:30 pm

Mobile applications require massive amounts of usability testing and incremental design—nowhere is rapid prototyping more important. We'll explore the best tools for quickly creating functional prototypes that you can use for customer demos, as well as which tools to avoid. If you're still using whiteboards, powerpoint, .psd files, or balsamiq to convey your mobile app concepts, this talk is for you—you'll leave with options and ideas to put to work following your TechWeek experience.

Senior Developer + Agile Coach Noel Rappin — Welcome to Ember.js
Fri, June 28 / Technical Stage / 11–11:30 am

Ember.js is the most powerful of the JavaScript MVC tools. It takes a different perspective on managing changing data in your browser. This talk will discuss the key ideas and concepts in learning and using Ember.js.

May 15, 2013No Comments

Highlights from RailsConf 2013 – Portland

“Head West!” This is how DHH described the pioneering spirit of the Rails community in his keynote that kicked off RailsConf 2013. I recently made my own journey west from Chicago. So it was fitting to attend the conference in my new hometown of Portland.

There were many outstanding sessions, including a talk on Rails vs the Client Side by Table XI’s own Noel Rappin, How to talk to Developers by Ben Orenstein, and The Magic Tricks of Testing by Sandi Metz. Topics ranged from integrating NoSQL with your Rails app to designing social media apps for a world that is not “normalized.”

Now is truly a great time to be a Rails developer, and attending the conference was a fantastic way to discover new resources. Rails 4.0 release candidate 1 just came out. There are good learning tools available, including the podcasts RubyRogues, Ruby5, and Code School. There are also great tools for evaluating the quality and security of your code like Code Climate and New Relic. If your company is hiring or job searching, Developer Auction is a resource that takes a creative approach to connecting employers with job seekers.

With over 1,500 attendees, the “hallway track” was packed. I met some really interesting people and had a great discussion with Chuck from Portland Code School about how to get more women involved in the local Rails community. Women are a strong part of the Rails community and were represented at the conference by groups like Rails Girls and Women Who Code. It was also inspiring to see Sandi Metz and the founders of RailsGirls: Linda Liukas, Pia Henrietta Kekäläinen, and Karri Saarinen recognized as Ruby Heroes.

In addition to the sessions, RailsConf 2013 hosted some of the best lightning talks I’ve ever attended. I highly recommend checking out the following:

  • Nick Quaranto and Miles Forrest both gave talks about launching Ruby meetups. Nick started openHack and the Buffalo Ruby group. Miles successfully started his own local Ruby Brigade. He had been commuting from his hometown of Chillowack, BC, after three failed attempts drove him to commute all the way to the Seattle Ruby Brigade.
  • Chris Morris, in his talk on Technical Intimidation, challenged us not to be intimidated by people who know all the things, but to learn from them.
  • Jon McCartie gave a strong presentation on purposeful code. He challenged us to find ways to apply our skills to tasks we value.
  • Yoshiori Shoji was inspired to use gem-mirror to keep on hacking, even during a 10-hour flight from Japan.
  • JC Grubbs spoke about apprentices, and how to teach and value people.
  • Andrew Harvey talked about shaping company culture.
  • David Padilla really summed it up when he said conferences are about content, but they are also about people.

I definitely came out of the conference inspired to learn more, code more, and become more involved in the awesome Rails community. I’m looking forward to next year’s RailsConf, which will be back in Table XI’s sweet home Chicago!

What were your favorite parts of RailsConf 2013?

March 29, 20133 Comments

Separating from the DOM, a JavaScript Story

In this video tutorial Noel Rappin talks through a JavaScript refactoring session, where we separate our domain logic from the DOM.

Read more

March 22, 20133 Comments

The Boring Software Manifesto

xitoeyeOver the years the term "agile development " has been co-opted to mean something it's not.  "Agile" does not mean the ability to change things at the last minute. In fact, when it comes to development, this kind of excitement is overrated. Sometimes boring is best.

In this edition of XI to Eye I present "The Boring Software Manifesto." In a Boring Software Process, we use continual steady improvement, automated test suites, and an understanding that requirements change to prevent surprises, and allow us to focus on the problems that are actually interesting. That’s it. No heroic measures needed.

Watch this short five minute video to hear more about agile development, the way I see it.

March 15, 2013No Comments

10 Things I hate About Your Conference Talk

xitoeyeYou've been granted a stage, you've assembled your slides, but are you ready? Public speaking isn't easy, but it doesn't have to be that hard.

In his video "10 Things I Hate About Your Conference Talk," Senior Developer and Agile Coach Noel Rappin delivers the straight talk on how to grab (and hold) your audience's attention. He offers tips and suggestions that are useful for both developers and nontechnical presenters.

You can see Noel put his own skills to the test this spring. He'll be presenting at RailsConf in Portland, Oregon, April 29-May 2.

 "XI to Eye" is a recurring video series produced by Table XI offering the straight talk on everything from development to business strategy. You can find more Table XI videos on our YouTube channel here.

November 12, 2012No Comments

Welcome, Noel Rappin!

We're so excited to announce the newest member of our team, Noel Rappin, who is joining us as Senior Software Developer and Agile Coach. Noel comes to us from Groupon, where he served as Senior Engineer and was responsible for internal training.

As many of you know, over the past year we've nearly doubled our engineering staff to keep pace with the many projects we're working on, and we've long been in search of the right senior candidate to help us grow our engineering practice. Josh says it best: “Noel has a long history of teaching and mentoring developers and helping them improve their skills. He’s a force multiplier and an excellent software developer who will help us continue to build great tools for our customers.”

Prior to Groupon, Noel was a senior consultant at Obtiva and Pathfinder. He has a Ph.D. in educational technology and user-centered design from the College of Computing and the Graphics, Visualization, and Usability Lab at the Georgia Institute of Technology. He has also written several technical books, including Rails Test Prescriptions and Master Space and Time With JavaScriptProfessional Ruby on RailswxPython in Action, and Jython Essentials. Follow him @noelrap.

Welcome to the Table, Noel!

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