Hello from RailsConf

Of course if you’re reading this you’re probably at RailsConf so hello from here. I’m right next to you actually, to your right. Yep that’s me, hi. There’s a coffee stain on your shirt.

I plan to blog as much as possible from here, and hopefully bring a little of the experience back home to those of you that couldn’t make it. I just came out of my first tutorial, “your first day on JRuby on Rails”, and found it quite enjoyable.

Admittedly we’ve been playing with JRuby for a little while know here at 8th Light, so much of it was stuff I already knew, but it was great to talk to Charles Nutter and get some of my questions answered directly.

Some highlights

Deployment with JRuby on Rails is a snap, assuming you’ve already got some sort of existing Java Enterprise setup. Using the GoldSpike plug-in creates a deployable WAR file.

While I don’t see a reason for doing this on any current projects, for those of you out there using servers that might be resistant to setting up Apache/Mongrel this was a nice alternative. Install plug-in, run rake task and you have a deployable WAR file.

NetBeans for Ruby fairly stole the show. I’m a big TextMate fan, especially because I no longer debug with anything other than puts statements, so I don’t need a fully fledged IDE for Rails.

That said the features they demonstrated for Ruby were great, including code completion, jumping to methods, and my personal favorite clicking a method call and jumping to it’s source code even if it was in a Gem.

I’ve done a lot of hunting in Gems and this would be enormously helpful. Rudimentary refactoring support is expected as well, including support for rename method.

I asked how this would work in Ruby and the plan is to show places where the rename could take place and leave the ultimate decision up to the user.

I didn’t get to see this in action, and I’d like to because I fail to see how that is better than just using find. I’d be hard-pressed to switch from TextMate, I’m writing this post in it, but I could be convinced if NetBeans could be the “editor you live in.”

In other news the Portland Conference center is really nice, with pretty good wireless network connections. One thing I’d ask for would be more tables outside the ballrooms, as there are only about 6 and a lot of people have their Macs open on the floor.

Speaking of which I’ve never been anywhere that the Mac so dominated. 80-90% of the people here are carrying MacBooks.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m hungry.

Eric Smith, Software Craftsman

Eric Smith has a Master's Degree in Video Game Development from DePaul University.