It’s been a little while Medium.

On Friday night I officially graduated from Makers Academy.

For the last two weeks we have been hard at work on our final project. I was on team Snow Angels, working for a charity to build an automated system for managing their lovely volunteers. It has been an absolute pleasure to work on the project, and that it will actually go live and help people is something I never thought I’d be able to acheive.

We used the following technologies for the project:

  • Ruby on Rails
  • Javascript
  • HTML
  • CSS
  • PostgreSQL
  • Unix
  • RSpec
  • Capybara
  • Google…

We emerged from the Makerthon and went back to a more standard week of learning Rails.

Our task for the week was to rebuild the Yelp website. I learnt more about the Model, View, Controller set up. I’d heard the term MVC thrown around, and now see how this is used.

I quickly learnt that there is a LOT of Rails magic going on under the hood. You type a few lines of code, boot up the server, and bang…everything appears as if by magic.

Another magical gem is Devise, used for easily creating user accounts and handling signing in/out…


It was already time for the Makerthon!

I didn’t feel ready going into the week. The prospect of completing a project from scratch in three days was daunting.

We split into teams on Tuesday after voting for our favourite projects (they all sounded awesome so it was a difficult choice!). I was placed on the board game team.

We had a lecture to introduce us to some tools that would assist us during the week; Kanban, scrums etc. Our first job was to create “the vision”, which we spent a fair bit of time on, but in hindsight was time…


This week has been all about the hot beverages. Which is fine, because I am from Yorkshire, where tea solves everything.

We moved on to looking at Node and web servers, which got me in a real muddle. I was trying to create an exact map of what I’d learnt in Ruby/Sinatra and then apply that to JavaScript/Node. But then I learnt about Express and realised I’d gotten things a little confused. Queue my husband giving me an hour lecture on web architecture at 10pm last Tuesday, and me pulling lots of faces a bit like this…

After a couple…


I decided to use my reading week to pursue more JavaScript.

I designed a program that you can use before going to view a property to make sure you are fully prepared, ie what you should be looking for and why. ‘NestCheck’ allowed me to explore using JSON data and Ajax so that only part of the page is refreshed on click.

This then lead on to me thinking that I could turn the site into a one page wonder that automatically scrolls to the next section on click/entering some information. …


We left Ruby behind this week.

At first I was a little apprehensive as I was getting to grips with Ruby and Sinatra, and I’d been pleased with my Twitter clone program. As everything was starting to fall into place, I was wrenched out of Ruby mode and thrown into a new language.

However, I now have a new love (sorry Ruby!).

We spent the week making a thermostat application that allows a user to control the temperature of a room/house. We created the logic in JavaScript and used Jasmine to test the code. …


This week it was time to move on to databases. After quite a few arguments with my laptop, we got PostgreSQL working, and then we were off!

We spent the week making a bookmark manager application, and en route we got to play with SQL and BCrypt. In order to make a secure user account, we learnt about password security using salts. This was right up my street, having done a project on Cryptography as part of my university degree.

I had so much fun over the weekend working on my challenge; making “Chitter”, a basic clone of Twitter using…


This week we have been working on battleships for the web. We used the Sinatra framework as well as a new testing tool; Cucumber with a hint of Capybara (sounds appetising). We learnt how to use sessions and assign these to our users.

It was a challenge to use two new things at once, but by the third day we were getting there. What held us up was usually something really small that we hadn’t spotted. My new rule, if I get stuck for more than 20 minutes, step away from the laptop. Make tea. Ask for advice. …


I cannot believe it is 2015 already.

I have been trying to make the most of our two week break, which is now coming to a close. I have experimented with a few different things:

  • The code challenge was to make a takeaway app that allows a customer to view a menu, place an order and then receive a confirmation text to let them know that their order is on its way. The code was written in Ruby and I used the Twilio API for the text message functionality.
  • I played on Code Wars to try to cement some Ruby…

Our pairing challenge before we left for our Christmas break was to make a battleships game!

After refreshing our memories on the rules and a mini trip down nostalgia lane, we launched into planning out our classes and methods.

We had a great week, and I think we both learnt a lot. By the last day, I was feeling more confident about what Ruby can actually do.

Our lectures focused on class methods and meta programming, both of which we could then apply to our battleships game.

There were so many ways to tackle this project, so I think I’d…

Steph Oldcorn

I like Vogue, sewing and maths. Married to this one @conradoldcorn. Student @makersacademy.

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