Building The Upcase Community

I was watching “Ask Ben Anything” and @benorenstein mentioned something about building a stronger Upcase community. Then it led me to think why I continue to subscribe to Upcase and why it is a valuable service to me. Like many others here, I really enjoy weekly iterations. But I love that Upcase/Thoughtbot actually cares about their craft, and are generous with their knowledge.

As a subscriber, I really hope to see Upcase continue to evolve… After watching Ben’s video, I am going to propose an idea about “building” the Upcase community other than commenting on forums… I have no experience in building communities, but would like to be part of community that helps each other to be better developers…

Here are some thoughts:

When I think of Thoughtbot, it seems like they value apprenticeship model of training junior developers, giving back to open source projects, and continuously learning to sharpen their software craftsmanship. That made me think, how can that somehow be translated to the Upcase subscribers? Then I thought… rather than practicing modules (although they are great), maybe it will be exciting to build an actual app together. A small application or even a non profit project that will actually help the community in real life.

Maybe through this process, Upcase/Thoughtbot developers can help guide (apprenticeship style) in how to write code, test (TDD), document, agile/scrum project management, and even how to be involved in open source project.

While all of us could probably build an app by ourselves, or be involved in some open source projects, I thought maybe building an app together can be fun…?

Just an idea. I would love to hear if other subscribers have some other ideas.


I’d enjoy being involved in this.

If a group comes together, I’d be happy to act as an advisor/code reviewer/etc.

There are a few good app ideas here: (scroll down to Independent Work Projects). They’re not real-world apps, but maybe that’s okay. It might be hard to get a group to decide on a real-world app.


I really like this idea. I think working on one of the sample projects that Ben points to would be a good place to start. The work could be co-ordinated using a Trello board so that people can pick up stories as they have time.

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I agree. I am up for it. Perhaps we can decide which apps would be a good one to start, and test out the experience. If it was not worth our time, at least we learned from the experience. What will be a good size team you think @andyw8 @benorenstein?

I’m on board. That’s a great idea!

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Sweet, we have three who are interested so far. :grin:

I like this idea too and would love to give it a go!

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Also on board :slight_smile:

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Keeping an eye on this! Great idea.

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Definitely on board with this! I think we need to be ambitious about the scope of the app.

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@andyw8 @paulh16 @treble37 @cored @mrlee_io @gxespino Nice. 7 total. How many people do you think this project should have? I am asking, because I have absolutely no idea. =)

@antwonlee - Hard to say. If the project is “too small”, we could always have 2 or more teams build the same project, then we could do a compare/contrast of the solutions…But I think it’s hard to know until we pick a project and see how everything is going. I will say for other groups I’ve been in (discussion, not coding), people tend to fall away after 3 months and sometimes people aren’t able to show up every week.

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@antwonlee I agree with all of what @treble37 just posted.

Until the project scope is defined it will be hard to solicit more than a “this is a great idea!” from potential contributors.

I myself would love to contribute and will keep an eye on this thread. Need more information people I can promise anything.

Hey everyone,

Wanted to chime in quickly. First, @antwonlee, thank you for starting this thread and line of thinking! We are very much into expanding on the community aspect of Upcase.

As for the particulars, Ben and I have been discussing how exactly we can help structure this, and we have some ideas we think will help make this better for everyone involved. We’re planning to post a more formal summary on Monday, but I wanted to let everyone know that we are very much interested in this idea and the enthusiasm everyone has shown thus far. Stay tuned!

– Chris


consider me in on this as well! interested to see what you and @benorenstein come up with, @christoomey.

if anybody is interested in remote pair programming, perhaps this could be an option as well: A Simple Pair Programming Setup with SSH and Tmux | Collective Idea

of course this method assumes a user is on mac, but I’m sure linux steps are similar (and maybe windows as well? that’s well outside my area of expertise).

I’d love to be a part of this, whether it’s coding or just snooping on the PRs :smile:

First of all, thank @antwonlee for starting this thread. It’s a great idea. I love to involve in the team as well.

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Interested as well! Looking forward to hearing more about the project!

count me in :slight_smile:

Hey everyone!

Ben and I think there is the makings of some great stuff here. With that in mind, we thought it would be fun to experiment with a bit of structure and support from us. For this first pass, here’s what we’re thinking:

  • You have a week to form teams of 2-3 Upcase members
  • Post your team name, and member names to this thread when ready
  • We’re going to limit this to 8 teams to start, first come first served
  • We’ll post the feature summary of the app / challenge on Friday, October 23rd
  • The teams will have just over 3 weeks to build (final submission due Nov 15th)
  • Ben and I will do a code review of all the apps, recorded and shared with all members.

The winning team will get 2 free months of Upcase membership (for each member).

We’ll share a rubric along with the app requirements on Friday, but it will be all the normal stuff, e.g. clean code, tests, simple design, clean git history, etc.

Slack Channel

I’ve added everyone on this thread who expressed interest to an Upcase Community Slack channel where you can discuss teams and planning. Let me know if I missed anyone.

Pair Programming

This is a great chance to try out remote pair programming for those who haven’t. Ben and I have had great luck with tmate + Vim, but there are tons of resources out there for non-vimmers as well. pairprogramwithme has a great collection of resources.