Posts from February 2015

How do you support the ecosystem that supports you? By giving away your expertise.

This is the story of our Scala Study Group: an experiment in training and community building.

Scala Study Group
Tests vs. Types

Scala is our go-to language for our back-end services because it’s proven, reliable, and performant (and it’s really fun to work with). It’s a young language that is still gathering traction in universities, colleges, and industry so our interest was in trying to grow our local community of Scala enthusiasts through experiential education: free hands-on mentorship and social learning.

The Experiment

We ran the free Study Group using the “flipped classroom” model popularized by Khan Academy: students watch the videos at home in preparation for coming to our office once a week. To keep it simple, we opted to piggyback on existing course material and parallel Coursera’s Functional Programming Principles in Scala.

At each session, participants took part in group code reviews and worked through their challenges or the assignments in a group setting. They drove the questions and the agenda, and received guidance from their fellow students and their mentors: Hootsuite Scala software engineers who are actively writing code.

“Nice! I was signed up for the Coursera already. But now I am glad to find a bunch of folks to sync with!” – Johnny H.
Read More …

“An error occurred, please try again.” Hmm – PC Load Letter? This perfectly nondescript error message came up only in Production, and only in a specific scenario. What do you when faced with limited information and a bug you can’t reproduce locally?

This was my first significant challenge as a co-op student. Fixing it involved equal parts debugging tools, intuition, and continuous delivery. Today, I’m sharing how I reached the root of the problem and resolved it.

Default Template Error
Generic errors are the best

Read More …