Ruth John

Simplicity, creativity, and community, with Ruth John


Ruth loves creating art with code, and spreading the love for MIDI! She’s also a serial conference speaker, a skilled wielder of the Web Audio API, and leverages her skills as a developer for VJing. If you haven’t visited Ruth’s codepen and experienced her awesome audio visual pens, what are you waiting for?!

Time Stamped Show Notes

1:04 – Ruth uses Codepen to experiment on what techniques do and don’t work for audio visual effects in the browser.

1:57 – “People do a lot of things that are final, and brilliant, and we really get intimidated by that, and I always wanted to expose, ‘hey, this isn’t great, but I’m doing it anyway'”.

3:07 – Ruth is passionate about the the creative aspect of programming. It’s more the simplicity of creating things using the fundamental building blocks than the code itself.

5:20 – Being a female in the industry can make your work life a struggle, and some of the worst experiences are when you’re not being taken seriously.

7:35 – People assume that toxic work environments don’t exist because they’ve never experienced them. Until you’ve experienced it, you never see it.

10:18 – A pen and piece of paper are Ruth’s foundation for getting things done. Every morning Ruth writes down a list of what she needs to get done that day, blocks out time for admin, and allocates times for her tasks for the day.

12:06 – Ruth is a part of a few communities that are excited about WebGL and VR. She’s excited about Audio Workers. This is Web Workers for the Web Audio API, which are on the roadmap.

13:47 – Ruth filters out what to learn and what not to learn by focusing on the things that excite her.

14:08 – She finds it tricky to filter out what to learn and what not to learn. Ruth spends a lot of time learning about WebGL, rather than learning new frameworks.

14:38 – With a lot of scan reading you can tell within the space of a few months whether a technology is going to stick or not. Based on that, Ruth will then put time into learning a technology if it’ll benefit her.

15:38 – Ruth prefers understanding how the APIs work before working with libraries that abstract. It’s good to know how the libraries are structured once you have an understanding of the library they’re abstracting.

16:33 – Learning things from the ground up, and getting help from her community have had the biggest impact on the way Ruth writes code. Her community is the best tool in her belt.

Quickfire Questions

17:37 – Best advice about programming
We all write bad code. Don’t worry about it. Just carry on.

17:47 – Habits for writing better code
Determination and being stubborn.

18:18 – Book
Hardboiled Web Design by Andy Clarke.
Addy Osmani’s Learning Javascript Design Patterns. It’s been a big help in expanding Ruth’s Javascript knowledge.

19:27 – How to learn code from scratch
Ruth teaches a three month intensive developer course that makes learning development less costly than going to university, and would do a course like this. The instructors try give students a broad but comprehensive range of skills. The students are given work placements at the end of the course. Ruth says the course gives students a good grounding.

20:27 – How to work smart
“Don’t beat yourself up, relax!” Keeping making things, that’s what’s important.

Tools, Tips, and Books Mentioned

Contact Ruth

Larry Botha