Amelia Bedelia Learns to Code, by Kylie Stradley


"Did you really think you could make changes to the database by editing the schema file? Who are you, Amelia Bedelia?"

The silly mistakes we all made when first learning Rails may be funny to us now, but we should remember how we felt at the time. New developers don't always realize senior developers were once beginners too and may assume they are the first and last developer to mix up when to use the rails and rake commands.

This talk is a lighthearted examination of the kinds of common errors many Rails developers make and will dig into why so many of us make the same mistakes.


This talk will examine some (surprisingly?) common beginner mistakes I've collected from my own experiences as well as those I've gleaned from working with other new Rails developers.

I'm going to use a storybook style where I'll present the programming requirement, such as a request from a client to add some parameters then show Amelia's implementation.

Amelia's client Rogers Inc requests some new parameters to be added to an existing model, so what does Amelia do? She does exactly what they ask for and adds them to the params hash. They'll be so excited!

Whoops! A client can say 'parameters' which seems like a general term but that word has more meaning in a Rails project, turns out what the client really needs is just a new table column to save records to. No problem though, because Amelia's workplace has code review so the mistake is caught and corrected before being deployed!

This is a great opportunity for Amelia to learn to push back on client requests and for a semi-technical client to learn a little about Rails architecture. Good work, Amelia.


Remember the first time you realized you had been doing something unnecessary because you didn't know a better way? I certainly do! It was not so long ago that I was attempting to make edits to the schema file directly or hearing friends realize they didn't need to 'rake routes' to ‘activate’ new routes.

By sharing my experiences, and the experiences I've collected from my peers, I will show new developers that they are not alone in their mistakes. And along the way, these stories will hopefully remind more seasoned developers of their own early, silly mistakes to better engage with and help their junior colleagues.


Kylie is a Web Developer at Big Nerd Ranch in Atlanta, GA. Untrained in computer science, she first taught herself Visual Basic as a survival tactic and then Ruby on Rails in an attempt to switch careers. As a recovering Visual Basic developer & business major she defaults to using while loops with embarrassing frequency.

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