I am finally back from a week of travel. Funny, it feels like much more than a week - but I guess that's because there were some interesting mishaps with some of the flights.
Last Sunday I traveled to Berlin to attend RailsConf Europe. I arrived kind of late and was really tired and out of it during the Monday. I didn't find most of the tutorials going on that enlightening - though it was fun to see David, Aslak and Dan present on RSpec together. I liked the mind map format they used instead of regular slides. Due to general tiredness and a really bad migraine I went to bed early. But before that I managed to see Dave Thomas introductionary keynote. It was interesting and extremely well presented; the theme was art and how it can help you as a programmer to use this metaphor to understand the things we do more closely. I didn't find anything really new in the presentation and I've heard several people say that they would prefer if Dave had spent some time talking specifically about Rails instead. I tend to agree.
The second day of the conference was really good. DHH delivered a keynote that basically said that there is nothing really new happening with Rails. After that it was time for sessions. I guess none of the first presentations made any real impact on me, since I don't remember what they were. After lunch I saw Nic Williams talk on meta programming; the talk was really fun. I didn't learn anything new, but I had a fun time while doing it.
Charles and Tom did their JRuby presentation. And I also saw Evan Phoenix Rubinius talk. It was very interesting - if I could stand programming in such a low level language as C, I would probably spend more time helping them than I do now. I will write more about Rubinius - probably tomorrow - I haven't really said everything I need to say here.
After the sessions there were more keynotes. Roy Fielding talked about REST. I gotta admit I didn't really hear much of it though, since I was spending time fixing an annoying bug. After that Craig McClanahan talked for a few minutes about Rails. It was very enlightening to know how well regarded Rails is within Sun. Some people seems to have a different view on all this though, seeing conspiracy and dirty dealings in the way Sun is working Rails. I'll need to cover that in a separate blog post too.
ThoughtWorks threw a party after the days session. That was very fun and well attended.
All the JRuby team attending (Charles, Nick, Tom and me) gathered together on the evening and did a JRuby Q&A BOF. Lots of people there, and a very free form of presentation made this one of the highlights for me. I had great fun and I hope the audience did too.
Finally the Wednesday... Cyndi Mithell from ThoughtWorks did a very nice keynote about why Ruby and Rails may be ready to cross the chasm and get a strong hold in the enterprise.
Koz and Marcel did a very good Rails Best Practices session. Down to earth, simple, totally useful advice on things to avoid in a Rails application and what to do instead.
And then it was time for my presentation about JRuby in ThoughtWorks. I think it went very well, but it became a little bit too corporate for my taste. I'll need to make sure that doesn't happen the next time. Maybe some more code in the presentation? =)
Most of the rest of the day was spent networking, hanging out in the exhibit hall and stuff like that. And then RailsConf was over.
My flight to Sweden from Berlin that evening didn't really happen as I had expected it too. Instead I had to spend the night on a hotel in Frankfurt and take an early flight from there to Gothenburg.
Overall I had a very good time at RailsConf this year. It's a worlds difference from RailsConf last year in London, which I felt was a real waste. This year the energy was high, much interesting things going on and lots of nice and smart people. Not as good as RailsConf in Portland earlier this year, but still very well worth attending. It seems that RailsConf has found a good balance in sessions. The only thing I can wish for would be more interesting choices for the tutorial day.