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Dev Day

Saturday, September 13

Whether you're new to programming or wanting to sharpen your skills, Dev Day is your day. Attend these workshops for lessons on today's most used languages and programs.

  • Select 1 focused workshop track. You’ll spend the afternoon with 5-10 of your peers digging deep into your selected topic.
  • Enjoy breaks, lunch, and happy hour as a group, with opportunities to network with other workshop attendees!
  • Hear "Big Ideas" presented by local companies solving complex problems

Workshop Tracks

Select one:

  • Intro to Database Theory & SQL
  • Intro to JavaScript
  • A "Rails Prime” Primer
  • Intro to Node.js


  • 11:00AM: Doors Open with Coffee and Networking

  • 11:30AM: Workshops Begin

  • 1PM: Group Lunch

  • 2PM: Workshops Resume

  • 4PM: Snack break and Big Idea Presentations from

    • Chris Wink, Technically
    • Kyle Fritz, Order Up
    • Flip Sasser, Backforty
    • Chris McFadden, Message Systems
    • Sam Stump, AOL
    • Cliff Casey, Agora
    • Erik Hummel, PayPal
  • 4:45PM: Closing Remarks, Thanks for Coming

  • 5-7:00PM: Dev Day After Party and Super Meetup with drinks and networking

BYO Laptop (no tablets)!

Workshop Descriptions

Intro to Database Theory & SQL

Taught by: Doug Lay

Databases are a critical component of most Web and mobile software applications. This workshop begins with a short explanation of the relational database model; the theoretical underpinning of many of the most widely­ used database management systems. We'll then dive right into hands­ on work, covering the following:

  • Data modeling with the entity­ relationship model.
  • Logical and physical database schemas.
  • Manipulating data: SQL and the CRUD model.
  • Achieving performance gains: Indexing, caching and denormalization.
  • Accessing the database from your applications: database abstraction layers and object-relational mapping.

We'll close the workshop by taking a step back and discussing some alternatives to the relational data model that have emerged in recent years, including document­ oriented databases and key­ value stores. We'll discuss when it might be appropriate to consider these alternatives instead of the relational model (or in addition to the relational model) for certain applications.

Who Will Benefit:

Junior developers and aspiring developers would benefit from this course, along with technically minded product managers, designers, and content specialists. No previous experience with programming or database development is assumed. Some sort of basic experience using spreadsheets or tools like contact management software would be helpful.

Intro to JavaScript

Taught by: Jonathan Julian

So you know HTML and CSS, but want your web pages to be more interactive? Maybe you've done a little JavaScript but don't really understand how it works? This workshop will help give you the groundwork to really understand how JavaScript fits into your application, and how to use it right away. With a mix of discussion and hands-on-learning, we'll explore the world of JavaScript in the browser. Topics will include:

  • JavaScript in the page
  • Chrome Developer Tools
  • Functions, Variables and Loops
  • Logic: truthy and falsy
  • Data structures: objects and arrays
  • Loading external scripts
  • The DOM - modifying the page
  • Browser compatibility issues
  • jQuery
  • Modifying HTML on the fly
  • Modifying CSS on the fly
  • Handling events
  • Ajax: sending and receiving data


Knowledge of HTML and CSS; comfort with editing code; Chrome browser installed on your laptop. Experience with another programming language would be super-helpful for you, but not required.

A "Rails Prime” Primer

Taught by: Flip Sasser

Description: We all know Rails is about convention over configuration, but most of the “approved” documentation on Rails doesn’t scratch the surface of how pros manage large projects. This workshop will serve as a demystification of the advanced strategies we use to prevent bloated Rails apps. We’ll cover the “Rails Prime” stack that the veterans in the community have cobbled together, including:

  • Rspec, Capybara, and Poltergeist
  • PostgreSQL and full text search
  • Slim and HAML templates
  • Decorators and presenters
  • Correctly separated services and concerns


Basic familiarity with Rails and its conventions. Also, a desire to dig deeper into best practices used by the pros.

Intro to Node.js Workshop

Taught by: Jason Rhodes

Course description: In this Intro to Node.js workshop, we'll be working together to complete the open-source nodeschool lesson called "Learn You the Node.js For Much Win!". After a short introductory overview, we'll break into pairs to work through the hands-on command line workshop, starting with a basic "HELLO WORLD" and moving on to more advanced exercises covering synchronous & asynchronous I/O, filesystem operations, TCP and HTTP networking, events and streams.


Attendees should have a good grasp of JavaScript basics (knowing what a for loop is, how to write functions) or some other programming language and at least a very basic understanding of how to use their command line/prompt. Before arriving, attendees should make sure they have the following installed:

  • node, version 0.10.*
  • npm (usually packaged with node but not always), version 1.4+
  • the "learnyounode" workshop GitHub link, installable via "npm install -g learnyounode"
  • be sure you can run $ learnyounode on your command line (check permissions, etc) and get the welcome screen similar to this screenshot.

Dev Track Presented By


Dev Track Supported By



400x400 (2)




1111 Light Street


  • Doug Lay

    Doug Lay

    Doug Lay is a software engineer and technical project manager with over 20 years of experience with database management systems. He is currently Vice President of IT for, a baltimore-based meal planning startup. Prior to this he spent 11 years at US News and World Report, where he was instrumental in building out most of their Web-based applications. He holds a master's degree in Computer Science from Johns Hopkins University and a master's degree in Library and Information Science from the University of Maryland.

  • Flip Sasser

    Flip Sasser

    Flip Sasser A Baltimore almost-native, Flip is Head of Product at OrderUp where he focuses on translating transforming problems in delivery and customer experience into awesome software. He also has a family and a dog and a VW TDI he may have to return.

    When you need a product team (and, incidentally, what it should do) The need for a product team usually becomes clear only after it's been met - which kinda sounds like business as usual at a startup. BUT, a growing company that waits too long is missing important opportunities to move their offering to the next level. This talk will introduce you to the idea of Separation of Product & Technology and discuss when and why it should happen for your startup. If you dream of a world where the customers' needs are always met and your engineers get enough sleep at night, this talk is for you. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, you should still attend for the Office Space references.

  • Chris McFadden

    Chris McFadden

    Chris McFadden is a technology professional with experience leading teams in various environments including commercial software, SaaS, e-commerce, and digital media. Mr. McFadden held several Director level roles at Discovery Communications for 11 years before moving to Message Systems in 2012 to lead product development initiatives as Director of Software Engineering. Chris holds a BS in Computer Science from George Mason University and a MS in Information Systems and Technology from Johns Hopkins University. Chris is an advocate for lean/agile product engineering processes, practices, and tools and is passionate about helping organizations successfully adopt better ways of delivering value to customers.

  • Kyle Fritz

    Kyle Fritz

    Kyle directs engineering at OrderUp. He’s passionate about building people-centric and real-time technology. He worked previously at Vigilant Medical and Infinite Biomedical Technologies. Kyle studied biomedical engineering at Johns Hopkins.

  • Jonathan Julian

    Jonathan Julian

    Jonathan is a technologist working for 410 Labs in Baltimore MD. His specialty is web development using Ruby on Rails and JavaScript.

  • Cliff Casey

    Cliff Casey

    Cliff Casey is a Software Engineer with 10+ years of Java and PHP experience. He brings sector-specific experience in e-commerce, Federal Government / DoD, marketing, education, non-profit organizations, transportation, IT infrastructure management, workflow / process management, and civil engineering. He has been the Lead Engineer of the OPIUM system for the past two years, and has recently moved on to become the Development team's Solutions Architect. In that role he has been exploring the use of new and alternative technologies to solve our Ecommerce needs in Publishing Services.

  • Jason Rhodes

    Jason Rhodes

    Jason Rhodes is a JavaScript engineer at SparkPost, the most extra-supertastic API-driven cloud email service in the world. Jason is also a founder and co-organzer of CharmCityJs and Baltimore NodeSchool, as well as the creator and instructor of screencast tutorials for and the upcoming "Intro to Node.js" video course from O'Reilly.