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A cartoon depiction of the author, wearing a hoodie and smiling


HI #

I’m going to sponsor a programming festival this weekend. From my apartment. With you all in your apartments/houses/cross-Europe sleeper cars. We’re all going to make TWO (2) things. Using SHOES, a fun Ruby toolkit for making computer things that work on Windows, Mac, and Linux.


"Shoes?" you find yourself saying. "Cross-platform GUI toolkits are so dumb. Write once, run anywhere, yeah right. What a headache." You’re probably right! I’m sure Shoes does all kinds of horrible things and I’m sure that some things that you think you want to do don’t work in Shoes! We could spend all weekend arguing about what the best way to program is and what environment you should write it in and which color scheme you should use in your text editor. But how about this? This weekend, instead of doing that, you write 2 things, just because you can. There are lots of things that Shoes can do, like make an arcade game or turn some internet meme into a goofy interactive  .exe/.app/.i_wish_you_linux_nerds_put_an_extension_on_the_end_of_your_binaries_right_now! So do that and show me what you’ve got!


"Shoes? Ruby? Programming? MAKING COMPUTER THINGS?” you find yourself saying. "I’m not some kind of magical wizard that can just turn lines of text into an interactive marvel!" But guess what! I’m here with good news! YOU TOTALLY CAN!

Shoes is relatively simple to use. You write your programming code into a text file (in Notepad! or TextEdit!) and then open Shoes and point it at your code and it just magically turns your lines of text into an interactive marvel!

If you fancy yourself a fairly analytical person, by browsing the Shoes website and The Shoebox, looking at example programs, you could probably piece together a simple program without too much effort. Will it be fancy? No, probably not! But you’ll have a runnable program that you can share with everyone, right? And you’ll go “I WROTE THAT” and that’ll probably feel pretty good! If you’ve never done it before, you might find that you like it!

If you’re not an analytical person, but you’re a creative person, try Hackety Hack! It uses Shoes to teach you Ruby and then you also know Shoes! If you work through the Hackety Hack stuff on Saturday, you still have all day on Sunday to make two things! And that’s all you have to do!


I’m not sure if this is really going to work. I’m going to make my two things and I’ll post about them here on Monday. If other people do it, they should definitely email me about it (and feel free to put it on your own blog too). I’ll share whatever people do here as long as they tell me it’s okay to.

The key is to make two things before Monday morning. You can make more than two things, but I want to know about the first two things you made (don’t cheat!).