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Jun 11, 2008

Rails Conference 2008 Review

Well I meant to write this last week, but have been busy with work since I got back.

First let me state right off that when it comes to Rails, I'm still a noob. I have dabbled with it a bit, but I have not done a project in it yet. In my opinion, writing a tool or something is the only way to really learn about a technology. My JPA and Dojo projects have taken all my time since January, so there was no time to spend on Rails before the conference.

The attendees seemed to be mostly independent software consultants or employees of startups. Very nice people and very friendly. I definitely got a backend/database sort of vibe from folks. Let us just say no one wanted to to discuss the in and outs of Dojo. lol.

The main focus of the conference seemed to be scaling. That is understandable since Rails seems to get a lot of grief about not being scalable. The good news is, based on what I saw, that Rails does in fact scale fine with the right know how and equipment. The best example is probably The lead developer for that project gave a presentation on their setup. Sadly, that was the only scaling presentation I found all that useful or informative.

The highlights for me were:

  • Creating Successful Side Projects - This session was hosted by Geoffrey Grossenbach. A panel discussion by some people who have turned some side projects into full time jobs. It seemed like all of them were trying to solve a problem they had and it turned out other folks had the same problem. Thusly, sites and businesses were born.,, there were others, but that is all I can remember.
  • CRUD doesn't have an S in it - By Stephen Midgley a developer of a travel site Talked about searching with Rails when you have a non trivial dataset. Very interesting talk.
  • JRuby - A couple of presentations on this. Enjoyed both of them.
  • Keynotes - DHH and Kent Beck are great speakers. If you ever get a chance to hear them speak, go.

That pretty much sums things up. I don't think I will attend another conference for a while. After having time to reflect, I think my time would have been better spent renting a cabin someplace, spending half a day hacking code, and half a day hiking. lol.

P. S.,
Before I wrote this post, I Googled around a bit to see if there were any other blog posts on Rails Conf. All I found was some posts about the GemStone S64 VM. I didn't attend that session, its probably a great product. The link is to the SlashDot story on the product. Check out the comments, some of them are very funny. :)

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