Last week, I had the privilege of attending my first RubyConf. I really enjoyed it. There were a lot of great talks, and I got to meet with many friends (new and old). I went with a group from Zeal, my new employer, which was an interesting change. In the past, there might have only been one other person from work with me at a conference.

As I announced earlier, I spoke this year. I did a reprise of the Affordances in Programming Languages talk I did at Mountain West Ruby Conference earlier this year. The video will be up on Confreaks soon. The slides are on SpeakerDeck.

Here are some random thoughts and observations:

  • It was really cool to have that many Rubyists together in one place. I think attendance was something like 850 people.

  • Other than keynotes and lighting talks, there were four tracks running for the entire conference. This allowed for a good variety of talks, but it was really hard to decide which talks to attend. Often, there were more than one per time slot that I wanted to see. Fortunately, Confreaks recorded everything, so I’ll get to see what I missed later.

  • I am amazed by how many people I knew at the conference because I attended Ruby DCamp last year. There were at least 10-15 DCampers there, and they all felt like old friends.

  • I was excited to hear Matz talk about the future of Ruby. After 20 years, it would be tempting to call Ruby “feature complete” and leave it at that. But he’s not doing that - he’ll continue to look at how the language might evolve to meet a changing world. He spent the most time talking about adding some form of static typing to the language. I’m not sure I’m fond of the idea, but he seems to be aware of the need to let Ruby keep being Ruby. If nothing else, it will be interesting to see where he goes with it.

  • The lightning talks were almost universally excellent. To me, that’s very rare. There are usually some mediocre talks mixed with one or two gems. Here, the ratio was completely the opposite. The funnest talk was Aaron Patterson’s Homeopathic Code Optimizations talk. There was a video of the talk floating around, but it is now “private” according to YouTube. I asked Aaron if he was going to post his code but he told me, “that’s closed source”.

  • Long-time readers of this blog know that I’m a big fan of Sandi Metz. I finally got to meet her in person, and she’s every bit as gracious and friendly as I expected from seeing her talks.

  • While out looking for a restaurant one night, we stumbled across the Chuck Jones Gallery. Chuck Jones was the artist behind Bugs Bunny and friends. In addition to his work, the gallery had work by Dr. Seuss, Charles M. Schulz, and many others. It was such a fun place.

  • I was also able to tour the USS Midway, an aircraft carrier that was retired in 1992. Incredible!

I’d like to thank my fellow speakers and attendees, and especially the organizers and volunteers, for a wonderful conference. Thanks for all you do to continue to make the Ruby community awesome!