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StripeGirls getting ready for the workshop

Remember in September 2015, StripeGirls told you what they really really wanted? Check out what they have been up to over the last few months, and what's next for them.

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StripeGirls is still alive. Yes, yes—even though I haven't written much about it, we are still very much alive and going about our business.

What have we been doing over the past few months?
As I said before, we wanted to learn by doing stuff, so we are building our own website. That's easy, right? Just spin up a fresh SilverStripe installation, add some prettiness, and done. Almost the same recipe for creating Powerpuff Girls. Easy. Well, yes, but only if you have already defined a lot of things previously, like logos and color schemes and what kind of information you want to display. We had to do all of that, and also include everyone in the process, so they can learn how it's done. That is a slow and ongoing process.

We have crossed a few things off our list though. Setting up the repo, check. Learning how to work with SilverStripe Platform, check. Breaking the repo, check. Design… I'll get back to you on that. Content, yes. Cat pictures, yes. There have been a lot of small wins. And a lot of code learning for the beginners.

So the website is still the project we have at hand. For a fast-paced developer, not having "something" already is nerve-racking. Here at SilverStripe, we do big big projects in just a few months, and small projects in less than a week. But StripeGirls is very different from that. We never intended to mass-produce girl coders. StripeGirls at its core are not developers. We are a community that wants to learn and do tech. We need to teach a lot and share tons of resources, explain lots of things that, for a developer, are just faster to do by themselves. But that's not the idea. We teach, and that doesn't leave much time for actual development. So while some of us have been checking Trello, moving tasks around, coding away, we still have to figure out the other parts of web development, like designs, branding, content, testing, and all the things in between. We have covered those subjects on our meetups by choosing the best topic depending on which pressing matter we are tackling next.

Don't get me wrong though! There's been coding going on. A few beginners have been css-ing and php-ing. There have been a lot of broken commits, peer reviews, refining task definitions and removing debug lines from a committed code, all that. It might sound like I'm complaining, but I actually quite enjoy it. I imagine that for the beginners that want to code but are not sure what's the best way or what to do, having a safety-blanket and someone to bounce off ideas with and give them direction must be at least somewhat helpful. We pretty much know we learn best from experience, and the idea of having a project to work on without the pressure, but with the incentive of finishing, is refreshing. How do we do this? Well, we have our repo, and any StripeGirl that wants to try to code can just do it. A senior dev reviews the code and merges it back to the main branch. If it was just a learning experience, that branch will disappear eventually. That does mean we end up with a lot of messy-name branches that go stale, but it's part of the process.

We must be doing something right because we still have girls attending and very active on Slack after 6 months. It must be our charming personalities. And the free food. For every meetup, we have new people checking out the group, and we keep in touch via Slack if they want to. And for every meetup, it always feels like we don't have time to talk about everything we want to talk about.

What’s next?
Since last year, there have been several requests for a weekend workshop to get a lot of things done. So we are going to do it.

We are preparing for the workshop on Saturday 20 Feb 2016.

We need more StripeGirls’ time. An hour and a half every 3 weeks just isn't enough. So we will have 4 hours of uninterrupted (except for the frequent pizza break) brainstorming, designing, coding and teaching.

As always, we welcome everyone, even beginners, so if you want to pop in and check what this is all about, just go to the Meetup page and sign up now!

Header photo by Lars Plougmann.

About the author
Denise Rivera

Denise is a developer at SilverStripe, working with both front end and back end and whatever comes her way.

She likes to make everything as pretty and functional as possible (code wise). She always thinks of new IT projects to work on alone in her spare time, but usually gets sidetracked by something else.

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