The second day of MWRC has passed, and I’m sad to see the conference end. It was really a great time, preserving the feel of RubyConf while having a local flare to it.
Again, I took spotty, horrible notes, so I apologize for the entirely reactionary post, but I do want to provide a comprehensive report of the conference.
Saturday was largely a day of low level bits, featuring talks from John Lam on RubyCLR, Charles Oliver Nutter and Thomas Enebo on JRuby, and Michael Hewner on Ruby USB. Unfortunately, Kirk Haines was ill and didn’t get to talk on IOWA, but the replacement code review by Marcel Molina and Jamis Buck was actually pretty neat.
John Lam : RubyCLR and Ruby .NET
This talk was mostly similar to the one John gave at RubyConf 2006 in Denver, but I enjoyed it then, so I re-enjoyed it now. Code heavy, showing lots of neat stuff like proxy classes in .Net so that you can pretty much extend your apps with Ruby seamlessly. John is an excellent presenter and is super familiar with his materials. The only unfortunate thing is there didn’t seem to be a ton of new developments since last October, but that’s far more complicated an issue than it might seem. Since I occasionally need to beat my head against C#, I am excitedly watching RubyCLR as a way to really limit that kind of work.
Michael Hewner: Ruby USB
This talk rocked. My favorite line was: “Japanese Character, Japanese Character, Japanese Character, MOUSE!”, in reference to USB self-description. The talk was fairly code heavy, a bit low level but seems like it’d be manageable for anyone with some decent programming experience. It’s exciting to me to think of the wild hacks that can be done with this, and Michael proudly mentioned that he started this for fun. In the Q&A, I had asked him what his coolest hack was, and he had mentioned gluing together two keyboards so he could have one in insert mode and one in edit mode for vim. I nearly passed out laughing. Great talk overall, Michael was very animated and I could tell the hacker spirit ran deep in this project
Jamis and Marcel: Code Review of Ozmozr
It’s a damn shame we didn’t get to see IOWA. But seeing two rails core folks refactor an app taught me a lot about what would be a nice way to do Rails. I got a little pedantic about the semantics of Integer(). I actually talked to Marcel later on and he said that he really thought the code review was improved by the input of the audience. I couldn’t agree more. COSL put up this app at the last minute for review, so mad props to those folks for being brave and giving us all something to poke at.
Thomas and Charles talked on JRuby. I forget what diverted my attention, but I was hacking all day long on various MWRC related projects and I felt a little bad that it distracted me from their talk. Highlights were that they were getting really successful results with running Rails on JRuby, that they had plans to make it a hell of a lot faster, and that things seemed to be really moving along. I have to admit that I find Rubinius a lot more sexy in terms of hack value, but pragmatically having a compliant 1.8 implementation of Ruby that I can deploy onto the JVM will be extremely valuable some place or another.
After the talks
Got lost on the way to lunch. Talked a bit about Ruport in a sandwich shop to some hackers. Went back to the SLC Library and worked with Adrian Madrid on optimizing a report against the tattle data, which is now using our acts_as_reportable plugin, but Adrian helped me with the SQL at first. Went out to dinner with the Phoenix crowd. They bought it. Thanks guys! Over dinner we discussed a lot about the conference, especially the keynote. It was interesting to hear different perspectives on the state of our community. It seems like we all agree that we want Ruby to stay a community that respects MINASWAN, but we also agree that we need to explore other communities and languages so that we can continue to steal… err… be inspired by other people’s smart ideas.
All in all, the conference was wonderful. Thanks to all the Utah folks who made it happen, hope to see ya next year!