RubyConf 2009

Attending RubyConf was a lot of fun because I was able to combine a personal vacation ahead of the trip, then meet my coworker at the start of the conference.

My coworker had scheduled a dinner meetup with the founders of Get Satisfaction and I joined him and met them and a couple other employees for dinner.

Confreaks

Conference sessions are available free online thanks to Confreaks. Confreaks makes high-quality recordings that include video of the presenter and the slides at the same time.

Sessions

I attended Tom Preston-Werner's session on BERT and Ernie. The gist I got was that Github has multiple services as part of its infrastructure comprised of multiple programming language environments (Erlang for example). They serialize data as binary data to move it between systems.

Flying Robot: using Arduino for unmanned aerial vehicles. This was the first demonstration in person I'd seen of a project using the Arduino library which lets you work with electronics in Ruby code, and simplifies working with electronics for beginners and hobbyists. I think this topic is a big hit with web programmers who typically don't get to work with hardware. The presenters flew their blimp around the room.

NoSQL talk with Ben Scofield. I had seen the majority of this talk at WindyCityRails just a couple months earlier. I can see the development speed advantage in the prototyping stage of a project.

MacRuby: Laurent Sansonetti presented MacRuby, which is an exciting project for desktop Cocoa application development. I haven't built an application with it but it looks like fun.

SOLID Ruby: Jim Weirich is a great instructor and presenter. He is dynamic and makes the content feel urgent, relevant, and exciting. His talk looked at some principles for writing better code.

Rippin' off Python: Chris Wanstrath looked at some nice features and design decisions from Python and proposed introducing some of them to Ruby.

Mobile Applications with Ruby was a presentation given by Sarah Allen. I didn't attend it but met her and a friend of hers in the hotel lobby and they were very nice.

"Synchronous Reads, Asynchronous Writes" by Paul Dix. Paul seemed to very interested in high performance queue based systems and data analysis, this talk was interesting. Paul has since released a book called Service-oriented design with Ruby on Rails that looks very interesting.

On the Edge of Rails Performance was the last talk of the day I attended, with Gregg Pollack. Gregg gives excellent presentations. He had a number of great recommendations for scaling an app and looked at some of the new features in Rails 3.

Startup Crawl in SF

A highlight of the conference was the first ever Startup Crawl where various startup companies in SOMA and the South Park neighborhood opened up their offices.

I got to see the offices of Scribd, Pivotal Labs, Engine Yard, Yammer, ZenDesk, Heroku and more. It was also fun to be able to attend a Github drinkup, where I met Chris Wanstrath and others. I caught up with Leah Culver and met Cal Henderson and talked with them about their projects. I also met a guy working for Image Movers Digital (acquired by Walt Disney) who had worked as an animator on the animated "Christmas Carol" movie!

Conclusion

I had a great time visting San Francisco. The conference was great, I enjoyed meeting new people, and I'm looking forward to doing it again!