Back from RailsConf Europe 2008

September 6th, 2008

I got home yesterday from RailsConf Europe 2008 in Berlin, and am very happy to say that the event was a major success.

It was particularly gratifying to hear from many attendees that they found the program content more advanced and more instructive than last year. It’s always hard to fine-tune the level of talks across a big program like this, and I’m really glad to have evidence that people overall felt it had gone in the right direction.

Highlights included keynote addresses by David Heinemeier Hansson and Jeremy Kemper, as well as a Rails core team panel discussion with David, Jeremy, and Michael Koziarski. DHH led us through some very interesting thoughts on the notion of “legacy” code, and how that concept plays out with respect to one’s own development and growth as a programmer. Jeremy talked about performance, and masterfully expanded the horizon beyond the shop-worn “Does Rails scale?” stuff to some very specific and powerful techniques for evaluating and adjusting performance.

We also held a “Symposimi” (the name is based on a misspelling in the program; it should have been “Symposium” but came out “Symposimi,” and I decided that sounded really cool!) on the subject of Ruby versions and implementations—who’s using what, what’s targeting what, the pros and cons of moving to 1.8.7 and/or 1.9. A symposimi is a town-meeting-like gathering of people who want to ask and answer questions about a topic. It’s more audience-based than a symposium, and less hierarchical.

The symposimi was fun for me because I got to do some live code demos, which I usually don’t at the conferences I’m an organizer of!

Lots of people asked about next year. We don’t know yet where RailsConf Europe will be in 2009. Probably not Berlin, just because we’d like to move it around. If you have suggestions (and a rationale other than that you happen to live there :-) by all means let me know.

Now that RCE2008 is over, I’m looking forward to RubyConf. Stay tuned for announcements of the program and registration!

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