Post Railsconf Wrap Up

May 20th, 2011

My first railsconf was a wild blur of code, sushi, new friends and t-shirts. You can check out my conference tweets here. But with the keynotes being livestreamed and the sessions being mostly hit or miss, the clear stand out for me was @bohconf.

If you can’t afford a ticket next year (and lord knows that it’ll take that long for me to pay off this year’s trip), then save your dough and just sign up for @bohconf. Really, you won’t regret it.

@bohconf was created by local Baltimore ruby group folk who created a space where devs could meet up and hack together with geek snacks and t-shirts readily available. This is where I hung out with @sandimetz, @BlueBoxRenee, and @narwen chit chatting about Sandi’s work on her new book and learning more about best practices than I would if I had attended some of the sessions I was missing.

It was a safe space where devs of all levels were sitting at tables learning new stuff and coding together in peace and harmony. And all the rockstars made an appearance at one point or another.

I complimented one on his oh-so-FAB yoda packpack before I realized it was @coreyhaines just practicing being awesome. …And while I was banging away at some mysterious problem installing mysql with homebrew, @wayneeseguin sat down beside me and hijacked my computer installing redis and mysql using his new project called BDSM. Beat that system into submission, baby!

I know there are some who will consider the lewd reference unfortunate. Get over yourself. You can’t get much sillier than a penguin in a corset and @wayneeseguin and I traded ridiculous innuendos while giggling like we were in jr. highschool.

And this is how I ended up going to dinner with the inventor of RVM, the organizer of MoutainWest RubyConf and a senior member of my favorite consulting company of which I am a major fangirl. Srsly, @bohconf rocks.

But since I had sacrificed a trip to the Bahamas with my girlfriends to afford my conference ticket, I felt an obligation to attend all the sessions on Testing, Scaling, Redis and Javascript to get my money’s worth. I came to railsconf specifically to level up my skills, so I decided to pass on the more visionary talks by the usual suspects.

I appreciate that you have strong opinions on the direction of our framework. And there are lots of folks who want to hear those opinions. But honestly, I just want to look at code. And I want you to explain that code to me with context and examples. So that when I’m alone with my laptop, I’m not googling for blog posts but rather I have enough exposure to a new concept that I can work it through myself.

So my favorite tutorial was the Rails Best Practices presentation. I realize that they were selling a new product that had been well polished before arriving at the conference, but this tutorial from Envy Labs was the best technical presentation I have ever attended. @greggpollack is a great speaker and I fully appreciated his vintage Atari game references. Check out to level up your Ruby on Rails best practices. Sure, you have to pay to play, but I promise it’s worth it.

And tied for favorite session are two talks that I saw on the last day back to back. Both were code heavy in a new technology for me but gave me a strong base to go off on my own and learn more.

Indexing Thousands of Writes Per Second with Redis from @pauldix will help bring me up to speed on something that I’m going to use this morning. I can’t tell you how much I appreciated that he took five minutes to go over the basics of Redis and what it does before talking about the advanced topics. Thank you, Paul. …And by the way, you look hot in a suit.

Building Pageless Apps with Rails and Backbone.js from@mkelly12 was hilarious and chock full of code. For example:

Javascript === Ke$ha

Javascript is a lot like Ke$ha. At first, you’re like WTF? But then you realize that:

function () {} === lambda {}

And Ke$ha is just a vessel for vomiting glitter and baby unicorns.

Honestly, this talk flew by me so fast that I felt like I was run over by those baby unicorns…. but if they could just circle back a couple of times then I think that I too could vomit glitter. I *really* hope that this talk ends up on the net somewhere.

But I wouldn’t be true to my #glee roots if I didn’t mention @aslpeenic (a gentleman and a funny bastard) and the music jam on Wednesday night where everyone participated at varying levels of musical talent. Honestly, I really wish I had contributed to the github setlist with a few Journey or Pat Benatar tunes. I did get a chance to wail on Proud Mary in the wrong key, but next year I’ll have more tunes in my backpocket.

So, I’m actually quite grateful to my delayed flight that has allowed me to finish up this blog post before returning back to real life. Srsly, I felt like I was 20 again in New York City with so many exciting things to experience and discover that you just can’t take it all in. Which is fun… but exhausting.

Entry Filed under: Professional,Ruby on Rails

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Charles Feduke  |  May 20th, 2011 at 4:16 pm

    Regarding your general overview of the sessions, I felt the same way. I regret not skipping some of the architecture astronaut sessions for bohconf – I think I would have gotten my money’s worth doing so. There were some really great presentations, the keynotes I thought were all good, and then there were just some disappointing talks. (Really 37signals? A full room and this is your presentation?)

    Next year I will definitely look for more talks that include more source code in the slides. Thoughtworks abstract architecture astronaut stuff is great in books but presented… not nearly as interesting.

    I think probably the talk I learned the most at was Ryan Bates’ CanCan 2 BoF. It was interactive and exactly like watching a screen cast except Ryan IRL.

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