In the 5 years of learning Ruby and Rails, I’ve come to appreciate the community more. This year, I had the opportunity to go to Railsconf in Austin, Texas. It was my first conference – I was excited to say the least.
Because Steve and I had traveled a total of 20 hours from Manila to Austin, the anticipation had built up inside. Entering the conference room for the first time, and seeing a room sprawling with over 1,300 people from around the world was mind blowing. Up until a year ago, I was doing Rails by myself. In the conference I finally got to see the faces to the names I had read countless times before.
In the past, I thought that I didn’t need to pay money to go abroad and learn stuff there. What came to mind when thinking about a conference was just the technical stuff you could learn. Why not learn through my computer? I could spin up Google Chrome and read some news items and learn to be a better developer. While that’s possible, spending time in the hallways (in between sessions) showed me the other side of an open source project: the community. The energy and the excitement you get from people about a piece of software that had so much influence on the web made me feel like I wanted to be part of that movement too.
Leaving the conference hotel left me wanting to give back. It’s easy to listen to friends when they speak highly of you and your skills to “make websites”. But really, I had been standing on the shoulders of a giant community. A project like Rails and the thousands of gems that adorn it don’t appear from nowhere. It’s made by countless other brilliant people who decided to take action.
The community is responsible for that coolness you felt when you created a blog using Rails in 15 minutes, or that eureka moment you get when you find a gem that does more than that library you spent 5 hours making.
It’s this community that I want to foster in the local scene. Local developers should have a community as vibrant. Knowing that the local Ruby User Group is over 600 persons large, do you think we are ready for a conference ourselves?