2013-04-23

Railsberry 2013

The Railsberry 2013 conference took place in the nice old tram depot in Kraków. After last year's conference earned a good reputation and the company I'm working for sponsored this year's conference, I got the chance to attend this conference. It lasted for two days (with sponsored parties in the evening ;-)), and nearly 500 attendees travelled to Kraków.

The first day:
The conference started with a decent keynote by Chad Fowler about not getting stuck, but staying curious and keep on experimenting. Experiments lead to data-driven decisions and more confidence. BTW, he used tpp for his presentation - which was an experiment for him.
That one was followed by an entertaining talk by Fred George about a measurement system that helps you understanding how agile you/your project/your team/your company is. He uses categories like who can deploy, how many tools you use, how are your processes defined, how many deployments you perform etc. and adds or subtracts points from your score depending how agile you are in each category.
Then Eric Redmond talked about distributed patterns like consistent hashing, PubSub, vector clocks - concepts you also find in Riak.
After that Agnieszka Figiel talked about common table expressions and windows functions in PostgreSQL and showed applications within the field of the animals's taxonomy system.
Followed by Mathias Meyer and his talk about about message queuing systems and their basic concepts and patterns (task lists, PubSub). He also dealt with capacity planning, error handling in message queues (drop vs. retry) and building an API around a queue.
After the lunch break Elliott Kember talked about bridging the gap between native MacOS applications (mostly written in Objective-C) and Ruby applications.
Alex Koppel's talk was about the consequences of sleep deprivation - which is quite wide-spread among IT people. So, being short on sleep over a couple of days impairs the brain function significantly, and you can't catch up even if you sleep all the weekend long.
Chris Kelly talked about some object-oriented design pattern (separation of concerns, DRY etc.) ending up in some ideas about how REST APIs should look like.
The first day's track of regular talk was finished by Joseph Wilk. His topic was creativity - human creativity and machine-based one. He also showed some computer-generated sounds and haikus based on mathematical functions, generational algorithms and fuzzy logic.
The first day closed with lightning talks. Topics presented in a 5-minute timeframe were Extremist Programming, Rails Girls Summer of Code, RVM, Wagons, CSS Outlines, GitLab, SmartProperties and Cloud Foundry - all very entertaining.

A site note: The team of designers who are responsible for the conference's design also designed underwear - here you can get an impression about them.

The second day:
The next day started with a talk by Geoffrey Grosenbach about the art of coding and its continuous improvement - tools and their customization, workflows, processes, habits, re-thinking. And: Learn from others!
So, the following talk by Gregg Pollack was some kind of a perfect match for the talk before. Gregg talked about e-learning, its motivation (e.g. save costs, learn at your own pace), what its makes special (e.g. diversity of communication channels, collaboration, instant feedback) and what it's heading to (e.g. more interaction, gamification). He also showed a bunch of e-learning platforms. BTW, give VIM Adventures a try.
After that Katrina Owen talked about testing code. There is no doubt about that tests are needed, but often not the behavior is tested, but the implementation itself. She introduced a schema about how to decide when to test what with the help of assertions, mocks and stubs.
Then Paolo Perego gave a talk about web penetration tests based on the OWASP top 10 including detection of entry points on different layers and how to use some Ruby code to automate this.
As Ben Orenstein couldn't make it to the conference, his talk was substituted by a session of power posing lead by Chad Fowler - fun.
After the lunch break Marcin Bunsch & Antek Piechnik talked about the current trends concerning mobile devices, handling users changing their online status from time to time, data gathering and natural interfaces of apps.
After that Andrew Gerrand gave a good introduction into Go with some examples and demos.
Then Keavy McMinn talked about internal tools to increase transparency, team happiness and productivity.
The final talk was held by Felix Geisendörfer. He introduced the NodeCopter community, a sort of hardware hacking project, including some really cool live hacking for controlling a drone. He also mentioned the Summer of Drones.
And again, this day also closed with lightning talks, but this time with a timeframe of just 3 minutes: Shoes, Makerland, Teaching Ruby Basics, HackKRK, Using Instance Variables in Views, Reading Files In WebApps, Just Ruby (The Extremist Programmer Way), Mehackit, eurucamp, Rails Security Releases, application performance in general, Media Queries for Sass and Tropo/GeeksWithoutBounds.



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