APIs & Boulder Startup Week

Yesterday the gSchool crew headed up to Boulder for startup week. Uber was generous enough to send us in style on a limo party bus, and we had a very long, full day up there. 

We toured several startups and development shops, and I was able to pair with my mentor for a bit on the Pivotal Labs rooftop deck. In the evening I attended the Boulder Ruby Users Group, also at Pivotal. One of our instructors, Franklin, gave a great talk about using Ruby to build games. I've never been interested in building games, but after seeing his talk I'd really like to try to make something and I think it would be a great learning experience. If nothing else, it would be fun to use Ruby very differently than the projects we've built in class.

I think the most important thing I got out of the day was meeting people and seeing all the offices. At the crawl they gave us each a map, so now I have a handy way to see all the companies in Boulder I might want to contact about a job. At one startup, a UX designer asked for my card, interested in having more technical women join their team. These are exactly the kinds of connections that are hard to make without a social event  to bring people together, and I'm encouraged that several offices said they are hiring or would be in the near future.

API Project

The current group project I'm working on is focused on integrating various APIs. We're creating a site where people can create custom photo feeds, pulling from 500px, Flickr, etc. It's more design-heavy than others we've built, and we're using Twitter for log in authorization. It's really nice to have such a different project after three e-commerce sites in a row. 

We're using gems to integrate with the APIs, but I would like to learn to do some manual http requests too, to better understand the process. I'm not sure I would prefer to use manual requests moving forward, but it would still be nice for learning. 

After this project is over, we'll finally have our first individual project. I've done a little brainstorming on what I'll build, but am not spending much time thinking about it until our instructors roll it out and give us the project requirements. I'm excited to do it but a little nervous that I won't have the benefit of pairing except for some mentorship here and there. I'd like to go back and finish Michael Hartl's Rails tutorial before I start my own project, and do some more JavaScript exercises.