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RedDotRubyConf 2013: A Journal of a First-time Attendee

  |  June 29, 2013

It’s that time of the year again for the annual RedDotRuby Conference. It started 3 years ago but this is the only time I was able to fly to Singapore to attend. Thanks to Aelogica, the third time truly is a charm.

RedDotRubyConf 2013

RedDotRubyConf 2013

As a first time attendee, I can’t help but be amazed by this conference’s large turnout. Ruby enthusiasts, not only from the neighboring Southeast Asian countries but also from all over the world, gathered together to talk about Ruby and why we love the language so much. I also had a rare chance of meeting some of my Ruby HeroesAaron Patterson and Jose Valim, which made the event more exciting. Aaron talked about Refactoring Rails while Jose gave a presentation about Concurrency in Ruby: Tools of the Trade.

with Ruby Heroes

with Ruby Heroes

From all the presentations, I’d like to share five of my favorites.

1. Ruby 2.0.0 On Rails in Production by Akira Matsuda

The new version of Ruby finally came out. It’s fast, stable, comes with refinements and cool new features like Module#prepend, keyword arguments and lazy enumerables and most importantly, compatible with 1.9. Also in this presentation, Akira humbly introduced his fellow Ruby committers and the exact feature they worked on. I gave that a thumbs up because it gave me an idea of how Ruby is being maintained. Akira gave his presentation with a hint of Japanese humor that we all ended up making a swarm tweet to one of his Ruby co-maintainer asking for ‘debugger’ to be debugged.

Swarm Tweet _ko1

Swarm Tweet _ko1

2. Code Kata and Analysis by Jim Weirich

Practical application of TDD is very common for Ruby developers. We don’t code without specs. However sometimes let’s be honest we tend to forget it especially when writing tests becomes very tedious. Jim, with his presentation, changed that perspective. He put fun back to TDD. He explained that in testing we should know…

…where to start
…where to continue
…to let the solution drive the tests
…what to skip
…to recognize duplication
…when to leave duplication
…the edge cases

3. Keep your ActiveRecord Models Manageable the Rails Way by Luismi Cavallé

One of the reasons I like the project where Steve recently assigned me is the very adaptable culture of the team to deliver confident codes. An example of such code is separating the responsibilities of a method into different classes aka ActiveSupport::Concern in Rails. Luismi gave a more in depth explanation and examples of responsibility extractions with his presentation.

4. Ruby – The Hard Bits by Paul Gallagher

Will I still be a Rubyist in 5 years?

Will I still be a Rubyist in 5 years?

‘Will I still be a Rubyist in 5 years?’ is the bold question Paul asked at the start of his presentation. This is very interesting because he gave a clear idea of how can Ruby keep up with the ever-changing technology. In the end, his presentation made me answer the question with a, ‘Yes! I will still be a Rubyist in 5 years.’

5. Identical Production, Staging and Development Environments Using Chef, AWS And Vagrant by Christopher Rigor

Now with vagrant, ‘It works on my machine’ reasoning is unacceptable anymore. Vagrant with Chef recipes can make managing multiple (and almost identical) environments easy. Topher explained how to do that in his presentation. Two thumbs up to fellow Filipino for doing a great job of representing the Philippines.

What about the swags? Of course there are shirts, stickers, pens, notebooks, good food, and limitless supply of drinks. But the most important of all is the feeling of fulfilment at the end of the conference for being able to attend an event that is well-attended by people who share the same passion for Ruby.

RDRC Swag

RDRC Swag

In attending RedDotRubyConf 2013 I gained not only technical knowledge but l also had the opportunity to be introduced to some of the active Ruby communities in Asia such as Japan’s Asakusa.rbSingapore-RBMalaysia-RB and Hong Kong’s Codeaholics. I believe Ruby communities exist in in Vietnam, Indonesia, China and Taiwan as well. Unfortunately I didn’t have the chance to meet their representatives. Hopefully when they read this they’ll let me know. I would love to travel the world and visit these communities in the future. Ruby communities are the best in the world! Do you guys agree with me?