We Held Introductory Sessions on Ruby and Ruby on Rails for International Members

SAWADA Tsuyoshi

In this article, I would like to report about a series of introductory sessions on Ruby and Ruby on Rails targetting international members that we held this year.

It took place initially in India in August 2023. It started as face-to-face sessions spanning for about ten days, and then moved on to online sessions between India and Japan through August.

Prior to traveling, we applied for Indian visa through the online system. It required us to upload several documents in electronic (photoed) form. There was a pretty strict upper bound for the size of each file, while we have also heard that an application would be rejected if the images were not clear. I had to try compressing the files several times to get just the right compression rate to satisfy both the size and quality. In addition, we had read that we needed to present the original physical documents at entry to India, although it turned out on our way that that was not the case.

At the airport, the security staffs were dressed in military uniforms holding weapons, which I personally felt was a bit scary. I understand it’s inevitable due to the current political circumstances.

Right outside the airport and on our way to the hotel, through the windows of the taxi, I could see lots of dogs and cows walking around or taking a nap here and there along the street, blending into the city so naturally. People took their existence as granted, not as something to be reported, captured, and detained. I recalled Mahatma Gandhi’s words: “the greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”

The attendees had received their computers, but we had some techinical difficulties, that is to say, not all of the attendees had been granted the required privileges to do the environment setup on their computers. Initially, we expected this to be resolved the next day, but actually the situation continued to the very last day of our stay in India. I am pretty sure that it was difficult for the corresponding attendees to keep up with the sessions under such condition, but they shared their computers and showed good team work in supporting each other.

I presented the materials mostly on slides projected on a large screen, while ocasionally demonstrating some things on the IDE or the terminal. I experienced a few technical difficulties regarding the presentation.

One has to do with the angle of my torso against the attendees. I had one workspace on my computer not synched with the large screen, and another workspace that was only displayed on the large screen. I had to continuously switch between reading things out on the slides in the large screen while manipulating my computer, and facing the attendees to discuss the materials. The former requires me to face the front of the room while the latter the back. That is different from the style of presentation adopted in conferences in my academic major, which I am used to, and so it was awkward for me. I got a neckache.

The second problem was that when I was not presenting the slide in full screen mode, I had to click somewhere on the slide to grab the focus before changing the page, but that occasionally caused accidental movement of the text field in the slide.

Another problem was that I often lost track of my cursor when I was moving it back and forth between the workspaces. Especially when it was on the large screen, the cursor was too small for me to find.

Overall, it was a great oppurtunity to teach and interact with the Indian engineers.

As expected, food was mostly curry. The Indian engineers took us to several local restaurants, and we even had an occasion to try some home made lunch that an attendee’s spouse has kindly cooked for us. There were many types of curry and curry-ish food in the area, and I liked them, but could not remember all their names.

Per my request, we went to a nearby temple. It was fascinating, and I enjoyed it. There were many gods to pray to.

One night, we all went to a bar. On our way, we rode on a small truck/cart. The seats were layed out in a few steps, each level being higher towards the end of the cart. Together with other passengers, there were about ten people sitting in such a small cart. It was amazing that so many people can fit.

Before leaving India, we went to a supermarket, and I learned that plastic bags are prohibited in order to avoid cows accidentally swallowing trashed plastic bags. I observed that cruelty-free products are much more common than in Japan. Again, I felt respect to how Indian people are natually concerned with animals.

After my colleague and I came back to Japan, we continued our sessions through Zoom. And currently, the attendees are playing active parts in their respective development teams.

Separately from this, in November 2023, we had another series of sessions against new graduates who are scheduled to work in our msb office in Tokyo. The attendees were not necessarily planned to use Ruby on Rails in their coming duties, and the sessions were held only for two days, so it was not as extensive. Still, I showed them some aspects of Ruby and Ruby on Rails.

In conclusion, we are growing our expertise in accepting and training international engineers.