Today was the first day of RubyFringe here in Toronto Canada. The conference put on by Unspace and they have done a great job. Last night we enjoyed a get-together at the Amsterdam Brewery with free wine, beer and finger food. I think everyone had a great time.
I am here partially for my own interests and to do some interviews on Sunday for InfoQ. InfoQ has a large presence here at RubyFringe because they are a Toronto-based company and to support the local Ruby community. InfoQ is videotaping all the sessions and will have all of the sessions in full on the InfoQ web site very soon, so please look for those as each session is well-worth viewing.
I missed a couple speakers so I can only give a little bit of information on the ones I watched.
Jay’s talk was about writing telephony applications with Ruby. He is the creator of the Adhearsion framework for creating VoIP applications with Ruby. The story of his success with the VoIP and the creation of the framework was really interesting. I don’t personally have clients asking me for VoIP work but this framework look like a good place to start.
Jay has a great personality for presentations and makes the content very interesting.
I have never seen Dan talk and was not familiar with him at all but after his talk I was inspired to look at ideas and execution differently. Dan talked more about how to approach creating applications from a business standpoint rather from a technological one. He explained how his approach to finding a winning idea is to try many things and see what sticks because you never know. An idea may be successful by surprise as he did with PayMe.
Tobias is known as a developer of Shopify but came to RubyFringe with a talk about using Memcached with black belt style and the talk was right on target. He showed the crowd the basics of using it with Ruby but dove in right away to show us how to use it hardcore and take advantage of this great caching mechanism.
This is one of the Engine Yard guys who is focusing on Merb and all of the great smaller projects associated with it. I think this was a great overview or preview of one of the many things Engine Yard is doing with their funding. Y
Luke’s talk focused on how a developer can go overboard with testing and how not to let this happen to you. The talk takes on all of the excitement there is around Test Driven Development (TDD) and the ways developers get themselves so involved in testing that they can unnecessarily test too much.
The importance of testing is covered but Luke brings up the idea that we may be doing more than we have to sometimes and for some people not using tests and get by with it that it’s OK.
Look for an interview with Luke on InfoQ coming shortly as we took time with Luke and tried to get some deeper incite into his ideas.
This was one of the talks I looked forward to most as Obie is one of the more prolific personalities in the Ruby community but I also knew this was not a technical talk. This talk was about taking the proper approach from the sales side of consulting. We too often get over involved with being a good technical person but neglect sales.
This is a good talk even for people like myself who has a good sales background and makes sure we don’t forget what’s important. Things to keep in mind is:
- Always be closing.
- Make your hourly rate more than you think you are worth as clients will try to negotiate down.
- Know when to say no and don’t take all work that comes along.
Any chance you can get to hear Obie speak, you should do it.
Matt claims he is a nobody and is dumb and uses it to his advantage. His talk was a really good one and made a lot of sense. Although it did not include specific technical content, it has great advice. In short Matt tells everyone to get out there, try stuff, fail and try some more.
It is commonsense and a well-known fact that if we don’t try and fail that we will not achieve success. Matt works with the fine folks at Highgroove Studios so he must be doing something right.
Jeremy who is the author of the Humble Little Ruby Book which is available for free from InfoQ is a good place for people to start learning Ruby. His talk was a good talk giving developers perspective using frameworks that maybe a bit too big for our needs. Jeremy explains it may be better just to create your own framework for you needs instead of being forced into the way large frameworks make you do your job.
Everyone in the community knows Zed, he is likely the most outspoken among anyone but he does have great points and is a really good speaker. This is his last Ruby conference talk and he says he will not be doing any more Ruby or Rails development.
This was Zed’s sendoff from the Ruby community and he did it in style. He talked briefly about Ruby and moved on to music, a current passion of his. Zed involved his audience in creating music on stage with a small guitar and sound machine into an HP subnotebook.
Zed gave a fair well song which included references to DHH and Chad Fowler. The audience enjoyed the talk and cheered often. Zed seems like a really bright guy and it is sad to see him go. The songs will be available for download and free distribution.
The talks have been really good so far and I am confident this will continue tomorrow.