Last year, regional Ruby conferences burst onto the scene—yes, there were a couple that occured before 2007 but they seemed like isolated incidents. This year, the regional orgainizers have been coordinating their efforts to ensure that 2008 is an even better year for regional Ruby conferences.
The MountainWest RubyConference has published its 2008 speaker list. It looks like a great line up of presenters and topics: there’s a presentation on CouchDB (written in Erlang, but useable from a variety of languages) by Jan Lehnardt, one on Ruby Internals by Patrick Farley, and one by Philippe Hanrigou which follows up on his book Troubleshooting Ruby Processes to teach more about using system tools to keep your Ruby or Rails application running happily.
For a quick look into this conference, I’ve asked Giles Bowkett a couple of questions about his upcoming presentation, Ruby, and the 2008 MountainWest RubyConf. If you like what you see, why not register for the conference yourself? The conference is only $100, it's a great way to support Ruby in your area. (Of course, if you don't want to travel to Salt Lake City, you should plan to attend a regional conference closer to you.)
Giles, your session is entitled “Code Generation: The Safety Scissors Of Metaprogramming”, why should people be excited to come see it?
I’m going to evangelize a very powerful strategy for solving problems, which is very fun to use. You can use it to program Lego Mindstorms robots in Ruby and or cut months and months off your development time on enterprise EJB projects by programming Ruby which writes Java for you. I’ve also used it in the past to automate pre-CSS sitewide redesigns, reformatting over 750 files in less than two weeks, and for SCM hacks. I’ll probably be able to demo it generating dance music and there’s a slim chance I can demo it controlling iPods as well. The cool thing about speaking on a strategy for writing code is that you can draw on a wide range of examples to make your point. I’m also going to show you an easy way to spec or unit test metaprogramming, which people think is impossible.
What’s your Ruby/RoR background?
I’ve been programming both Ruby and Rails since late 2005. (Very late, practically December 29th.) Before Ruby, I worked in Java, Python, and Perl (mainly Perl). I came into Ruby via Rails, like a lot of people, but generally I’m more into Ruby than Rails.
Which session are you most looking forward to seeing?
Well, Devlin Daley has the best title: “Enough Statistics so that Zed won’t yell at you.” No contest there. I think it’s actually the combo of Patrick Farley’s “Ruby Internals” and Jeremy McAnally’s “Deep Ruby”. At Ruby East people were saying that we need to see more deep/advanced topics at conferences – even though we still have a lot of newbies coming in, a lot of Ruby programmers want something they can sink their teeth into. I think Joe O’Brien’s talk on DSLs will be good, too.