Silicon Valley Ruby Conference

  • Posted by Mike Naberezny in Ruby

    Thanks to the nice folks at Zend, I attended the Silicon Valley Ruby Conference on April 22nd and 23rd. This was a first-year event hosted by SDForum.

    Despite being a long-time Python programmer and now working at “the PHP company”, my interest in Ruby has been increasing exponentially over the last few months. This began some time ago when Zend asked me to study Ruby on Rails. Since then, my interest in Rails has exploded and Rails has quickly become my favorite platform for web applications. As my proficiency in Rails has increased, it has fueled my interest in the Ruby language. Ruby itself is most certainly the best feature of Rails.

    One of the best discoveries of the conference was seeing Ryan Davis’ presentation of Autotest. This is a neat little program that continuously scans your project files and reruns your tests when your files change. After only a few days, it now runs almost continuously on my machine.

    Jason Hoffman gave an excellent presentation on scaling Rails. The “is Rails scalable?” question was most certainly the loudest background noise heard throughout the conference. Jason’s presentation was informative, entertaining, and helped squelch a lot of the FUD.

    Building Domain Specific Languages (DSLs) with Ruby was the most prevalent topic in the presentations. Both Chad Fowler and Joe O’Brien spoke on the topic in good detail and I learned some new techniques for building DSLs. David Pollack presented a talk called on “Metaprogramming, Building Class on the Fly” that also had a lot of discussion about DSLs. Unfortunately, I think that one missed the mark because it went into preprocessing XML files and other odd topics. For me, Ruby’s power lies in using its rich and expressive syntax to build DSLs in Ruby itself.

    The Silicon Valley Ruby Conference was my first real introduction to the Ruby community and I had a blast. Everyone I talked with at the conference was smart, friendly, and grooving on Ruby as much as I am. I’ll certainly be attending future Ruby events whenever I can.

    Update: I’ve written an article on Autotest, which has since become one of my favorite utilities.

    Update: The second annual Silicon Valley Ruby Conference has been announced. I’ll be there!