Where RailsConf is growing to become a spectacle, RubyConf still has that special, small feeling of sharing. It is like the difference seeing a really great band perform at a small club before they get "discovered", and then seeing them again in an arena. Still the same band, but a much different experience. Being here at RubyConf 2007 brings back the joy of hacking Ruby code for its own sake, not just creating the latest and greatest social web application. Although Rails is Ruby, Ruby is not just Rails.
As I arrived for the opening address, I immediately ran into many Ruby friends, starting with Michael Hartl, author of the popular Rails book, RailsSpace. Michael had kindly saved me a seat up front and center. Wow, thanks Michael!
Despite losing our electrical power (due to the ultra-powerful toasters outside interacting badly with the dozens of daisy-chained power strips?), the proceedings were ready to get underway. For those who have not followed the history of RubyConf, this is the 7th annual Ruby conference! According to David Black, who gave the brief introduction, the attendance this year is 15 times the size of the first conference. That is a lot of toast.
And this is going to be a lot of text. Thanks to feedback from many of you, my wonderful friends, I am splitting my RubyConf 2007 in-depth coverage into separate smaller postings. I will post links to each individual session, as soon as I complete them. Here is what I attended on day 1:
RubyConf 2007 - Day 1 Sessions
"What Makes Code Beautiful" - Marcel Molina
"Advanced Ruby Class Design" - Jim Weirich
"Controlling Electronics with Ruby" - Ben Bleything
"Hurting Code For Fun and Profit" - Ryan Davis
After the day's sessions, I went to a very nice dinner with a group of new friends including "The Ruby Way" author Hal Fulton, and David Koontz, creator of a slick new tool for programming Swing entirely in Ruby called Monkeybars. Thanks for a nice time everybody!
We then hurried back, just in time to catch the "town hall" with Matz. Perhaps it was all the rushing around, but to me, the town hall was too chaotic. I'm sure the Ruby Central people had a good concept in choosing that particular format, but I just think it worked out so well. Perhaps doing a town hall on the second night of the conference? Or perhaps just scrap the idea... I'm not sure, but it just wasn't that good, especially after some of the strong sessions we had seen earlier in the day.
Let me be clear that this was no fault of Matz, who was very gracious thru the whole thing, but I think there were too many people with too many different agendas and lines of questioning to pull it off.
After such a very full day of Rubyism, I went back to my room and crashed out, certain that Matz's keynote address the next evening would be much more satisfying.