ArrrrCamp Belgium April 2nd, 2009

We have been talking between ourselves about hosting a Belgian Ruby conference since the last Railsconf Europe, and we have finally decided to proceed with the idea. Colleague Joren put things in motion and today we’re proud to announce Arrrrcamp, which stands for “About Ruby, Rails, Radiant and Rum Camp”.

The event will take place on friday, May 8th, in Ghent, Belgium. The idea is to have a barcamp-like organisation of talks, where everybody is encouraged to participate by either doing talks, taking pictures, do some hacking, … You can read all about the event on the website.

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RubyEnRails 2008 June 11th, 2008

Because the RubyEnRails conference was in Amsterdam, and I live in Ghent (which is in Belgium.. which is in Europe..), I had to get up really early this morning. Our train left at 06:05, so I had to get up at 05:00. I normally wake up at about 8:30, so I had quite a hard time. After some train delay we finally got in Amsterdam at 9:30, and Zed Shaw was already speaking.

Zed Shaw

Because I was late, I kind of had to pick up the general idea of Zed’s talk along the way. He was talking about EaRing, his groundbreaking answer to all those VMs like the recently announced MagLev, which he wrote in only 2 Weeks! It had all kind of fancy features, and was OpenSource, as it should be! EaRing was Zed’s way of criticizing hardware and operating system vendors. The problem with parallelization is not the programmer, we are not to blame, we don’t need Virtual Machines to make our programs faster. The Operating System and the Processors need to support dynamic languages better!

Obie Fernandez - The worst rails code you ever saw

Next up was Obie Fernandez, the writer of The Rails Way (which he plugged shamelessly). He talked about a lot of WTFs. He showed some very bad code on how not to use Ruby and Rails. Obie wasn’t that a good talker in my opinion, but the code he showed spoke for itself most of the time. I shared his conclusions though: * Learn the Patterns of the language * Pair up with senior developers * Read books!

He also announced that he was working on a new book, together with the people from Thoughtbot, and Chad Fowler, about Rails Antipatterns.

Norbert Crombach - Ruby Patterns

Norbert Crombach seems to be a local hero, as he was announced as the upcoming star in the Ruby world. When he started his talk he looked quite nervous, and the talk wasn’t very structured. To my neighbour it all went too fast to. He was talking about Ruby Patterns, like the Proxy Pattern, the Decorator Pattern, … He also did some metaprogramming and had something about splats. Didn’t see anything new there, and was quite disappointed about the patterns we saw.

Phusion Guys - Passenger

After lunch the two mod_rails heroes were up. They didn’t tell anything new, and just went over the past (Passenger 1), the current (Passenger 1.1) and the future (Passenger 2.0). They did talk about the way they preserved memory, which did seem nice, but I’m sceptic about the memory saving in shared environments. The talk itself wasn’t that entertaining to me, but the rest of the crowd loved it, so I guess that’s just me.

Charles Nutter - JRuby

Next up was Charles Nutter, the JRuby guy. He did an interesting JRuby sales pitch, convincing us all that JRuby didn’t have anything to do with Java. He gave some pretty cool demo’s (eg. ruby-processing demo which responded to sound), and told us about the advantages of doing JRuby. He also made a bold statement, saying that if you find anything in JRuby that is slower then in regular ruby, you should file it as a bug. They claim to be a lot faster then regular ruby, which is something I’d really like to test. All in all it was a good talk.

Roderick van Domburg - Rails Software Metrics

Roderick van Domburg talked about measuring code quality through metrics. He talked about Code to Test ratio, rcov, heckle, flog and something that checked for Cyclomatic complexity. The talk was technical and went in-depth, and concluded that complexity should be avoided, and a test coverage of 80-90% should be achieved. In the Q&A there was someone who was afraid of testing too much, but he was called back by the whole room.

David Heinemeier Hansson - Q&A

The Q&A session with David Heinemeier Hansson was the last event of the day. Setting up a video conference through iChat with America worked very well, and soon we had David on the big screen. The questions were varied between Rails and his view on entrepreneurship. I don’t feel like adding the whole Q&A here, maybe I’ll post about that later.

All in all RubyEnRails 2008 was a good conference, with cool people and a lot of interesting talks, I really enjoyed myself and hope I can make it again next year!

PS: I got defeated in the Rails Quiz by Obie Fernandez (beat me by time), but hey, it’s f*cking Obie Fernandez right? #2 at Finalist Competition

tags: l 6 comments »