Day Three At RailsConf

Well it’s day three and I’m exhausted. As you may have noticed I posted at 3 AM last night, and getting up at 8 AM wasn’t foremost on my list of “things to do today.” I did it anyway and I’m enjoying a talk on Rails helpers at the moment.

While my posting last night was late I actually wrote it much earlier in the day so naturally some things happened after I wrote the post, and not all of them involved beverages that should not be consumed by those that are under 21.

Last night’s keynotes said a lot about the Rails community, and almost nothing about Rails ironically enough. The first was Avi Bryant who challenged us to make Ruby as good as Smalltalk.

Avi is clearly a bright guy and an energetic speaker, and his opinions are essentially the opposite of the ‘Rails.’

While I certainly wouldn’t say I agree with everything he said, the challenge to make Ruby and thereby Rails as fast as Smalltalk is one that we as a community should certainly consider.

The other was Ze Frank. He probably needs no introduction to much of the web, but he didn’t say the words “Ruby” or “Rails” once. He did nearly make us wet ourselves with laughter. I’m going to have to spend some time at www.zefrank.com.

I mentioned that they said a lot about us, as a community, and to illustrate this I want you to think of an ASP conference, put on by Microsoft. Do you think they’d invite somebody from the Rails community to come in and tell them their framework bites? No, of course not.

Large corporate-backed frameworks do not accept challenges. They spend time trying to sell you things to debug their already perfect technology.

We, as a group, invite people to challenge us because it requires us to think about and defend our own position. If we’re wrong, we admit we’re wrong. If we’re right than that position must be defensible.

We all came from different backgrounds, and came to Rails because we continually challenged our assumptions. Let’s continue to do so.

What Ze Frank as a keynote said about us is simple, we’re fun. I’m sure you’ve been to a big corporate event where a few suits tell some in-jokes or make a skit that’s supposed to be funny, but it’s not because nobody can actually say anything that might upset the big honchos.

This is a group that has no problem with keynote speakers dropping an F-bomb, and I haven’t seen a single tie. Man it’s refreshing.

Had a lot of fun meeting a bunch of you last night. Looking forward to that today too.

Eric Smith, Director of Training Services

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