Greane Tree Technology Software Engineers Matthew Gerrior and Chad Calhoun attended the Burlington Ruby Conference, “a boutique conference for extraordinary Rubyists,” on August 3rd and 4th. The conference was held in beautiful Burlington, Vermont, within view of Lake Champlain. The conference featured talks by respected Rubyists from across the United States. One of these speakers was our neighbor David Czarnecki from Agora Games right here in Troy. The conference was a single track event, meaning that everyone was able to attend all of the talks. This reinforced the sense of community that the organizers aimed to create. The tight-knit group of around 150 Ruby enthusiasts spent two days learning about improving their code, and their lives as developers.
The conference started with a Keynote presentation by Mark Bates (@markbates) on leveling up as a developer, which focused on the fact that we must Always Be Coding if we want to be the best developers we can be. The talk was followed up by a presentation on zero down-time deployments from Agora’s David Czarnecki (@Czarneckid). Carina Zona (@cczona) taught us how we can improve our local Ruby community, or even start our own if one doesn’t exist yet. Brian Cardarella (@bcardarella) spoke on the topic of Real Time Rails, specifically in relation to streaming responses to the user over time. Nick Cox (@everydaytype) lightened up the mood in the afternoon with an engaging conversation about incorporating rest into the life of software developers, requiring us to join him in breathing exercises aimed at relieving stress. The first day ended with a presentation on mRuby, a lightweight Ruby implementation aimed at embedded systems, by Andrew Nordman (@Cadwallion), which helped to shine a light on Ruby’s uses outside of Rails.
The second day kicked off with a presentation from Richard Schneeman (@schneems), who characterized the typical mistakes that Rails developers make, culled from the millions of apps deployed to Heroku. Danielle Sucher (@DanielleSucher) followed up with a presentation aimed at helping developers better negotiate everything from salaries to landing a new client. A glimpse into the Ruby Standard Library was provided by Zachary Scott (@_zzak) which illustrated ways to accomplish tasks without adding additional gems to a project. Bryan Helmkamp (@brynary), founder of Code Climate, followed up with a very instructive presentation on how developers can help build a culture of code quality within their organization, benefiting them and the clients they serve. We were pleased that he recommended regular code reviews and regular lunch-and-learns, both of which we practice here at Greane Tree Technology. Dan Gebhardt (@dgeb) helped to shed some light on building scalable and useful APIs, demonstrating the different serialization options available, as well as how we can make our APIs as open and easily explored as the web. The conference came to a close with a keynote presentation by Steve Klabnik (@steveklabnik) on Functional Reactive Programming, which makes it easier to handle time varying values and which has recently gained popularity for developing graphical user interfaces, including those found in client-side web applications.
The conference successfully achieved its two goals of fostering the Ruby community and teaching vital lifestyle and development skills. We met some amazing developers and learned a great deal. We’d like to thank the coordinators for putting on such a wonderful conference, as well as the speakers for the time they spent preparing their presentations and delivering them to us. We would love to make it back again next year.