There is just so much going on at RailsConf 2006 that I can’t wait until the end of the day. I need to do a brain-dump now to make room the afternoon stuff!
First off, let me apologize for being a little too brief with yesterday’s post. I was running on one hour of sleep and I needed to get that post finished so I could get to bed. On the other hand, I really can’t do much more that whet your appetite without writing something way too long and figuring out how to be in three places at one time.
This is why you really should buy the audio recordings (synchronized with the slides) of the presentations. No one knows yet precisely what you need to do to order this, but Chad Fowler promised to post the information on the front page of the RailsConf website when its available. Also, for those of you who missed RailsConf 2006 because it was full, there is still RailsConf Europe which will be September 14-15 in London.
Before I start on today, I’d like to say a little bit about Martin Fowler and Paul Graham’s keynote talks last night. They were completely different from each other, but excellent and well worth listening to.
Martin Fowler talked about what he sees as important issues in software design and how Rails has become a catalyst and driver for moving the industry forward and out of the complacent doldrums that had been all to common in the Java world. As you may know, Martin Fowler was the originator of the Active Record pattern which is one of the core simplifications on which Rails is built. But in a stunning admission, Martin said that he had all but dismissed the Active Record pattern as not being interesting enough to be useful, and that no one was happier than he to be proven wrong by its use in Rails.
Paul Graham’s highly entertaining talk ostensibly had nothing to do with Rails… except that it did. It was titled “The Power of the Marginal” and explored the concept of insiders vs. outsiders and the advantages being outside on the margins. My notes for this talk are completely blank because it was so engrossing that I forgot to write anything down! Please do listen to the audio when it’s available.
The first timeslot for this morning had two talks that I really, really wanted to attend. Obie Fernandez’s talk was an experience report on ThoughtWork’s use of Rails for its client’s projects. I missed this one (thank goodness for the audio recordings), and Justin Gehtland’s talk was Ajax on Rails (hmmm… that title sounds familiar!).
I went to see Justin’s talk, and I’m glad I did because there was a hidden gem (no pun intended) at the very end of his excellent presentation on using Ajax in Rails applications. Justin and his partner, Stuart Halloway, have developed a Rails add-on that puts scaffolding on steroids. Unlike the built-in Rails scaffolding, it handles relationships between tables, makes full use of Ajax, and looks professional!
It’s called Streamlined, and the views that it generates are fully customizable. Instead of throw-away scaffolding that merely serves as a placeholder while you build out your application, Streamlined creates a fully functional application that you just need to tweak. They are going to open source this under the MIT license sometime in the next month.
I’m really blown away here, this is big–real big! You have to check this out:
Damn, I’m already running out of time. I need to hightail it to the next session.