RedDotRubyConf – fun times ahead

RedDotRubyConf could be renamed FunConf (I know there is already one) but this one would rank way up there! Considering there was Robin, Batman and Superman in the crowd, this conference could not have been any better! (Only the aussies can pull that one off!)

There were awesome speakers having varied presentation styles and it kept everyone interested – like Dave’s ‘Ok Lah..” keynote, a live demo by Tom, Gregg doing ‘nervous’ stretches on stage and Ryan taking off his T-shirts! What more can you ask for? I also liked the fact that there was only 1 track. So, as an attendee, I never fear missing out on some really good topic in a different track and as a speaker, I am never concerned about an empty audience 😉

I got to see both sides of a conference – as a speaker and an attendee. On the eve of the conference, there was speakers dinner organized by Andy , Jason and Carl (the organizers) at ‘Din Tai Fung’ – It had really tasty Vietnamese food – the best I have had so far. The Loof that we went to later too I think set the tone of the conference. Loads of beer got everyone talking and interacting as if it was a group of old friends. Sarah Mei had had an especially long day as she conducted her training for a group of about 30 – I am sure the beer soothed her sore throat!! 🙂

Though the conference started on a slightly wrong foot Ian  saved the day by going first up instead of Matz. In retrospect, it seemed appropriate as Day 1 could have been touted as ‘Pivotal Tracker | Agile | Pair Programming’ day and Day 2 as ‘Ruby X | Kick Some Agile/Pivotal butt’ day!  Ian spoke about practices at Pivotal Labs – breakfast, stand-ups, pair programming, the hiring process and co-located clients. Little did he know that ‘almost’ all the talks right through the conf would take a dig at them.

Matz came on next — and boy, Did he get some ovation! It has been people’s dream to see the man himself and the tone was set when he said ‘I do C programming so that you don’t have to!’. Matz also spoke about RiteVM — which he is hoping is the next embedded Ruby VM and could change the world. Yeah! Mikel took the stage by storm in a typical Australian way and went on to talk about how things work and what the best practices are – how he wrote and rewrote Mail and their new product StillAlive. He spoke about how everyone must go ahead and contribute back to Ruby and Rails.

The local speakers Sau Sheong, Tze and Alex spoke on nice heavy technical topics like R, Smalltalk and MongoDB. The talks had excellent content (maybe a tad too heavy on code snippets). Considering that R and SmallTalk are not quite common topics and especially difficult to talk about in 30 minutes,they were really good. It does indeed showcase the standard of the Singapore Ruby community! Well done! Nate spoke about TDD and why only TDD succeeds. He should give talks more often! It was fun, very well planned and evoked lots of participation from the audience. Robert Berger’s presentation on chef was very good and calculated. Maybe a comparison between Chef, puppet and any other techniques would have .

Paul joked about bringing down the standard of the conference talks by “talking about Rails”. Multi-tenancy is a common (and good) problem to have a scalable application and Paul very nicely categories today’s Rails apps, the sector they belong to and how they solved multi-tenancy problems using scopes. The talk was an excellent mix of information and code.

My talk Rails and Outsourcing was well received (I guess) as there were loads of questions being asked and I hope I got at least some change in people’s outlook on out-sourcing. I may have succeeded when at the post-conference party, Tom told me that my talk did get him thinking that ‘maybe’ outsourcing work would have helped out in the github early days after all. I couldn’t have asked for more!

Andrias and Alam spoke about Viki and PlayMoolah and how and why they used Rails for their product. These were precise and practical reasoning and it showed how much they have learnt and want to share that with others! Really inspiring!

Dave talk start Day Two with a ‘Creole Bang’ – the messiness of Ruby and the beauty of its mixed nature. He spoke about his famous m/n/o explanation which is simply awesome. His confident poise and analogies leave a lot to think about. Consider this:

He was asked about ‘ruby internals for beginners’ and he explains that you cannot and do not want to take a car apart just to learn about its internals. Though you could do it about 20 years ago, thats not what is recommended today.. Move on! If you are doing your first jump out of a plane, you dont want a lecture on aerodynamics – just ‘tell me what to pull and when’.

Tom did a live demo to on how git really works. After a minor hiccup (which was hilarious but comforting – good to know nothing is every perfect) – he spoke about not Non-Pivotal Github was and why git is comforting – once you get to know how the objects, refs and trees and commits work. An awesome presentation followed by yet another unique one from Gregg. He had admitted earlier that he was nervous talking just after 2 excellent speakers like Tom and Dave — but did he steal the show!

Gregg was the only speaker to prance all over the stage and even do stretches! Un*******believable and amazing! He took everyone through a deep dive into Rails3 architecture. A code heavy talk but he too could not resist the ‘devil in Pivotal’ joke. When the videos are published– be sure not to miss this one. Hilarious, serious and educative. Mikel took the stage (along with Ryan in the audience) answering questions on Rails 3 with Gregg. The RubyX day began!

Ryan took off seven T-shirts during his talk on how to do Rails, the right way. Though he spent most of the time at the conference writing his book 😉 he was seen all over asking questions, answering them. Matthew and Ryan were among the active and leading participants / winners in the competition conduted at the end of the day. Matthew’s talk on his financial application and his gems (Cashish) and his own custom State machine were really impressive!

“Secret Agent Andy” finished the competition in 7 minutes with his closest rival finishing about 15 minutes later. The guy is a genius (I didn’t need to mention that did I?). Please help me post some more details about him.

The post conference party was a blast — with Gihub sponsoring the drinks! Needless to day, my night ended at 5am in the morning and I think Tom and Ryan just about made their 6 am flight.

Things I missed out on: Pecha Kechu. Somebody please let me know how that went. If you have a blog post, I’d like to link it here!

3 thoughts on “RedDotRubyConf – fun times ahead

  1. I agree. The conference was a blast and full of fun. Got a chance to meet Matz, who said “Hi” to all the Indian Rubyists and promised to come to India for the 3rd Ruby conference. Gregg’s talk, amongst others, was a blast!

  2. Wow….it seems the conference was fantastic..cannot wait for the videos to come out.

    Congratulations for your talk which received max. no. of questions

    I am particularly interested in the talks for Testing and new testing techniques other than Rspec and Cucumber.Please inform as soon as it is out.

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