FutureRuby: July 9th – 12th, 2009

First Came RubyFringe

RubyFringe logo

I can’t talk about FutureRuby without first talking about RubyFringe.

Last July, the fine folks at Toronto’s Little Coding Shop That Could – Unspace – created one of the best and most memorable conferences I’ve ever attended: RubyFringe. RubyFringe made its mark by taking the standard geek conference formula and turning it on its head. Among the things that distinguished it were:

  • RubyFringe was intentionally a small conference, with its attendance capped at 150 attendees.
  • No sponsors!
  • It had a single conference track, and all presentations took place in the same room.
  • The presentations were vetted carefully by people who really, really, really loved the Ruby programming language. This meant that we got interesting speakers and no vendor pitches. We felt Damien Katz’ pain when he talked about his situation prior to creating CouchDB, grooved as Nick Sieger talked about the parallels between jazz and programming, and stayed glued to our seats as Giles Bowkett gave us his rousing call to action in his 400-slide extravaganza, even though he’d gone well beyond his allotted time and was cutting into lunch (it was that good).
  • They didn’t allow questions at the end of the presentations. In organizer Pete Forde’s words: “Our experience has been that questions are hard to hear, generally of poor quality, often just statements, and almost always an exercise in demonstrating how brilliant the questioner is while dominating the attention of the whole room.”
  • There was a “companion track” for attendees’ non-geeky significant others, where they were taken on a tour of the city while their partners were at the conference.
  • They served some of the best food I’ve ever had at a developer conference. The lunches were at the Downtown Metropolitan Hotel, and the big dinner at the Drake Hotel was beyond anything I’ve ever had at a developer conference.
  • The conference also included parties at some of the best spots in the city, some of which you wouldn’t find on vanilla tourist guides. Better yet, those parties were open bar!
  • Not only was there an opening party at a brewery, complete with stand-up comic, rock band and DJ, but there was a great closing party on Unspace’s roof.
  • The organizers paid attention to little details that set the conference apart, from giving everyone transit passes to heralding speakers as they walked on stage with the song of the choice to the giant polaroid montage featuring every attendee.

The organizers’ decisions in crafting RubyFringe made it a high-quality, memorable and inspiring experience, and its carefully limited scale gave it a sense of community that I could almost describe as familial.

Many people who went declared it the best conference they’d ever attended, and many who passed up the opportunity kicked themselves for missing it. Those pale next to the highest praise for the conference: the fact that after attending RubyFringe, a half-dozen handful of attendees were so inspired that they quit their day jobs to strike out on their own doing Ruby development.

Now Comes FutureRuby

FutureRuby comic

With RubyFringe’s resounding success, it was only natural that people would ask if Unspace would be doing it again next year. They gave it some serious thought – the last thing that they wanted to create was a weak sequel. They didn’t want to simply rehash RubyFringe, but reinvent it, just as they had reinvented the developer conference with RubyFringe.

So they reinvented RubyFringe as FutureRuby.

FutureRuby will take place from July 9th through 12th, and will build on what RubyFringe accomplished. The organizers bill it as “an opportunity to prepare for the future by learning from the mistakes of the past”, and promise us that it won’t just be RubyFringe warmed over – we shouldn’t expect to find the same things in the same places!

What else will it have?

  • Parties and nightly entertainment, three nights in a row
  • FAILCamp (which I co-hosted last year, and which I am invited to host again) is back with a vengeance, and an adorable sailor suit
  • “More better than” swag that you’ll be proud to wear in public
  • The return of the companion track for partners and secret lovers during the conference
  • An amazing two nights of lunches and dinners that you’ll photograph and tweet about
  • Loving attention to all of the details, like excellent wifi, transit passes, and no paid presentations

All the details are in this post at Unspace’s blog, Rethink. You can bet that I’ll be at FutureRuby.


RubyFringe was Profitable, People are Happy, and the Sky Didn’t Fall. What Now?”

Collage of images from the RubyFringe summary article at \"Rethink\"

Over at Rethink, the blog of Accordion City-based development shop Unspace, Pete Forde shares his thoughts on the RubyFringe conference in an articles titled RubyFringe was Profitable, People are Happy, and the Sky Didn’t Fall. What Now?”.

The article covers all kinds of things including:

  • A loving poke at RailsConf (“A 400 person conference doesn’t become better with 1600 people, but if you’ve already done the hard work, why not scale up?”). That’s a reference to RailsConf 2006 and 2007.
  • The number of attendees (something that I’m going to cover in an article very soon)
  • Why they might not do another RubyFringe (think of all the movie sequels you’ve ever seen)
  • Women and tech conferences
  • You can hold a conference without sponsors (well, Engine Yard helped foot the bill for a party)
  • Consider going with just a single track
  • Just as Obie said that you shouldn’t undercharge for your services, you shouldn’t undercharge for a conference. Charge what it costs, and deliver real value
  • “Great food is important, because nobody can focus for fifteen hours on cold boxed lunches.” And RubyFringe had great food.
  • Care about the details! “This cannot be overstated, and the key word here is care.”

Meghann Millard of Unspace
Meghann Millard, RubyFringe cat herder supreme.

Pete said it in his article, and I feel it bears repeating: Meghann did an amazing job herding cats for RubyFringe, and if you attended RubyFringe and have a little cash to spare, it might be a nice idea to send her some flowers (or an Amazon gift certificate) for all the work she put in. I owe her big-time for thinking of me when she was looking for a host for the Friday night opening events as well as an emergency host when FAILCamp needed one. Thank you, Meghann! I salute you with a filet mignon on a flaming sword!

As for Pete thanking me for the RubyFringe guides and notes from the conference: it was my pleasure. I believed in the event from the get-go and was only too happy to apply the Burning Man ethos to this event (“There are no spectators, only participants”). Besides, that’s what we in the Accordion City tech community do!

If you’re thinking about putting together a tech conference, you should steal as many ideas as you can from RubyFringe, and Pete’s article is a good starting-off point.


RubyFringe: Day 2 Notes, Part 3

Photo by Carsten.
Click the photo to see it on its Flickr page.

Pete Forde Break

Ruby.rewrite(Ruby) (Reginald Braithwaite)

Photo by Libin Pan.
Click the photo to see it on its Flickr page.

Conceptual Algorithms (Tom Preston-Warner)

Sinatra (Blake Mizerany)

Be Good (Leila Boujnane)


RubyFringe: Day 2 Notes, Part 2

Jabl: The Language You Will Hate (Hampton Catlin)

  • This is the best-case week we could have ever hoped for
  • JavaScript bugs the shit out of me!
  • Nathan is da man! He makes HAML what it is today and he played a big part in a lot of today’s stuff. I’m just some dumb shit with ideas.
  • If a lot of programmers really dislike an idea, but can’t give you a reason why, it’s probably a good one

  • I like writing languages! It’s super fun!
  • I’m not in love with Python, but I think indentation’s better! It’s one of the few things Python gets right.

  • People are really defensive about JavaScript. It’s like you punched their mom in the face.

  • It’s a fairly decent general-purpose language
  • I think it belongs more on the server side than on the browser
  • It got so beaten up. mocked and put down initially that when we discovered it was a real language, we came to defend it rabidly
  • JavaScript is a fucking terrible browser language, hence many people have created frameworks to overcome its shortcomings

  • The JS world has nothing to do with the DOM world. JavaScript and the DOM
    connect only because they’re glued together by the document

  • The DOM is a really cool thing!
  • CSS is nice — with it, we can talk about the DOM. Why are we not outraged that we can’t do this with JavaScript?
  • If you’re saying “I don’t want to learn a new language”, what the hell are you doing in this field?

  • Jabl compiles into jquery

Archaeopteryx (Giles Bowkett)

  • I was going to have a contest to give away this book, O’Reilly’s “JavaScript: The Good Parts”. As you can see, it’s a small book.
  • Audience member: “Just give it to Hampton!”
  • During his presentation about jazz and programming, Nick didn’t talk about
    what I consider to be modern variants — hip-hop groups like A Tribe Called
    Quest and Roni Size’s drum and bass are things I consider to be jazz.
  • I have 496 slides. I don’t think I’m going to get through them all!
  • The Mainstream
    • The mainstream is not just lame, it can get you *killed*
    • Take a look at the life of Heath Ledger. Go check out his Wikipedia entry
    • Most people don’t know that in his youth, he was a chess champion
    • He had a lot of mental energy, and like such people, he suffered from insomnia
    • Insomnia is a solved problem: hypnosis works
    • But…hypnosis is on the edge, on the fringe, even though it has been around for and working for over 100 years
    • So they didn’t use hypnosis, but put him on pills, which killed him
  • At Railsconf 2008, David Heinemeier Hansson talked about “The Great Surplus”, in which he says that there’s still something missing from mainstream languages and tech that gives Ruby and Rails a surplus of power and
    capability, but that this surplus was limited.
  • DHH says people eventually figure out the cool tools and the surplus will go away.
  • I think he’s wrong: the mainstream *never* catches up — it’s too easy to be ordinary
  • The question should be: “Are we going to use that power for good, or are we going to use it for AWESOME?!”
  • People should be saying “This is going to be a wicked party: I’m going to bring my laptop”
  • What are we?
  • Are programmers artists?
  • Kai “Kai’s Power Tools” Krause would say yes
  • Steve Jobs’ said: “Real artists ship”
  • Leonardo da Vinci was a real artist, but there’s a lot of stuff he designed that he never shipped (the hang glider, helicopter, and so on)
  • One of his bridge designs was never built until this century when the Swedish government decided to build it. Talk about failing the “release early, release often” mantra!
  • In many instances, his genius was wasted.
  • How does genius get wasted?
  • In the old days, an artist would seek a patron
  • Patrons were rich nobles who wanted to look good
  • An artist with a patronage would create works in the name of or that glorified the patron
  • If you accept that programmers are artists, then VCs are patrons
  • Let’s talk about adventure for a moment
  • During the boom, working for a startup was often sold to prospective employees as an adventure
  • Let me tell you about adventures:
    • When I moved out of the house, I went to Chicago and lived in a ghetto because my need to create art was actually greater than my need for safety
    • When I lived in New Mexico, I found bear droppings not more than ten feet from my front door on a regular basis
    • I used to carry a .357 Magnum with me because the area was being prowled by a mountain lion. You need a big fucking gun to take down that kind of animal
    • I used to get calls from my parents where they’d tell me that they’d just caught a rattlesnake, killed it and threw it onto the barbecue and would you like to come to dinner?
    • [Something about “psycho rocks” — I was laughing so hard that I wasn’t able to take down notes at this point — Joey]
    • I’ve also done enough LSD to kill a herd of elephants
  • Now consider what you were doing when you were going on a dot-com “adventure”:
    • You get to sit for 4 years at a desk
    • Maybe, if you’re really lucky, your options might turn into something
    • Who are these weasel-brained Muppetfuckers?
    • These people who tell you that working for them is an adventure: they’re not fools; they’re *liars*
  • It all comes back to a system of patronage — this is just the modern version
  • Just as landed nobles gave artists money for the artists to look good, VCs give geeks money so that they can brag
  • [showing a picture of Julia Allison in a skimpy little dress, surrounded by admiring geeks]: This woman is wearing programmers!
  • You are just their pet monkeys!
  • If the company IPOs and you are lucky, you can start collecting pet monkeys of your own
  • I’m not kidding about the “pet monkey” thing. Think of Google, with their ball pit playpens and other niceties with which they coddle you: it is in their economic interest for their employees to think of themselves as Google’s children!
  • If not for the Muppetfuckers who couldn’t see the value of Leonardo’s hang-gliders and helicopters, we could’ve had them hundreds of years sooner!
  • As programmers, we get to create things that didn’t exist before
  • Why should we waste that on things like and stock market price grafts?
  • So I learned to draw. I was a starving artist
  • But the people who run this industry are scum
  • Only 3 months prior, I was working at Morgan Stanley for $75/hour
  • At that time, 2001, I made $7.50/hour at a gas station
  • Here’s a picture of an RV that I lived in in New Mexico
  • VCs are:
    • the causes of economic instability
    • “stock puppets”
    • Because of these Muppetfuckers, someone you could have called a genius was instead just building bullshit back in 1997
  • The lesson?
    • Build your business with your money
    • With your money, you’re the boss
  • Consider the case of Engine Yard: the VCs need Engine Yard, not the other way aroung
  • It’s becoming more common: as startups get cheaper to launch,  VCs find themselves in the cold
  • The VC company Benchmark Capital says that open source enriches the ecosystem, which is why they backed MySQL, Red Hat, JBoss
  • Look at Jay Phillips — he leveraged Adhearsion to create consulting work — he is an internet startup
  • The probability matrix
    • Drum machines are simply matrix builders
    • Rows in the matrix represent individual drums
    • Columns in the matrix respresent a beat played at a given time
    • You want drum X to play at time Y? Just put a “1” in [X, Y]
    • In 4/4 time there are 4 beats ber par, and typically drum machines play music in 4-bar chunks making 16 beats
    • So the probability matrices are 16-element arrays
    • But rather than just either playing or not playing the drum at any given point, you assign a probability
    • You want there to be a 25% chance that drum X gets played at time Y? Put a “.25” in [X, Y]
  • It’s social software
  • Archaeopteryx generates rhythms through probability matrices
  • It’s open source. I’m not worried, because the name of the game isn’t locking people out, it’s providing superior service at the same or better price point and competing with people who are illiterate about an important part of their job
  • Maybe I won’t be able to say “My career is Archaeopteryx” I’ll be happy if I simply say “My career *includes* Archaeopteryx”
  • What wonderful things would we have seen?
  • What if the guy who built the board for Sasha open-sourced his design?
  • This DJ mixer is in a niche market
  • [At this point in the presentation, Giles’ allotted time had run out, but people stayed to hear the rest, and the organizers let him run with it because the audience was enraptured by this point. — Joey]
  • As such, it unleashes new creative possibilities
  • [Photo] Here’s his DJ mixer. It’s not a traditional DJ mixer, but a MIDI controller
  • [Photo of DJ Sasha] Here’s a DJ that gets paid $25K a night
  • One day, I want to be able to say “My career is Archaeopteryx”
  • Takes advantage of the fact that MIDI [Musicial Instrument Digital Interface] is cheap and ubiquitious, controlling more than just instruments, but lights, effects, visuals and other things
  • Lightweight
  • Archaeopteryx is a Ruby midi generator
  • Archaeopteryx
  • OOP
  • It’s irresponsible to use Ruby and not leverage its power
  • You should make your own OOP paradigms — that what Ruby is for!
  • Archaeopteryx uses lambda a lot — so much that I’ve had to alias “L” to lambda
  • Loads of lambdas in the code
  • In the OOP used in Archaeopteryx — objects act as host for methods, which can be redefined at any time
  • Goes to core of why mainstream is dangerous
  • Ledger just went with the crowd
  • There is absolutely nobody that does not do that
  • It’s incedibly meta
  • Altering rhythms is adding a lambda to an array of lambdas using a lambda picked out of a queue
  • It’s the use of the strategy pattern to play beats
  • There’s a strategy for deciding which strategy to use
  • “Ruby is like Cthulhu in that it goes beyond sanity”
  • I plan to use it at Burning Man and have it running continuously for the full 7 days
  • Archaeopteryx’s core MIDI code comes from “Practical Ruby Projects”
  • Vaporware alert! I’ve got 2 things planned for user-generated visuals in Archaeopteryx
    • 1. MIDI VJ software
    • 2. “Drum circle”
      • Take a number of drums and rig them with Bluetooth touch sensors
      • Use them to trigger JRuby/Processing
      • Use that input as a voting system for what beats to emphasize
      • Updating the probability matrix based on this is trivial
      • End result: people can influence the music in real time
  • Andy Warhol said “Good business is the best art”
  • “Steve [Jobs], you ridiculous douche…”
  • You don’t need an IPO, you don’t need an exit strategy, that’s fail 2.0
  • Computers are everywhere, which means that you can do anything
  • Language wars are bullshit — it doesn’t matter whether I’m doing music with Ruby or whatever other language is out there
  • It’s about passion
  • Maybe being a programmer is not a *what* but a *how*
  • Maybe being a programmer is about applying programming to your passions
  • Go and build! Build for yourself, not the VCs
  • And remember: real artists ship!
  • [Standing ovation]

CouchDB and Me (Damian Katz)

  • Sell my house, move my family and live off savings? WHY?
  • This is not a tech talk, but about the considerations behind this decision
  • [Shows photo of baby daughter to great applause]
  • Why jeopardize this beautiful young family?
  • I got laid off and had to look for a new job
  • I had a house and the associated mortgage
  • I looked around and didn’t see anything I wanted to work on

  • “Other people work on cool stuff…why not me?”
  • They’re out there, doing cool things they love — designing motorcycles, making music and creating art
  • How do people get jobs where they get to work on cool things, work on what they want, and get paid for it?
  • So I made my decision: sell the house, move someplace cheaper and live off my savings
  • Reasons for doing this:
    • It would be educational
    • I’d get to spend more time with my family
    • It would be a test to see what I can do
    • It would make for an interesting story
    • Moved to Charlotte, North Carolina. The cost of living was cheaper and we had family there
  • Change in Lifestyle
    • Thought I could live with fewer things, but the downgrade hurt!
    • Nobody wants to get wrapped up in a consumerist lifestyle, with the big house and the nice stuff
    • Had to go to the local Goodwill to buy furniture — being in there, thinking “I was better than these people”, but followed quickly by “What is wrong with you?” — these were just people trying to save money and get by. I wasn’t all that different and certainly no better than they were
    • Couldn’t shake that feeling that I was an unemployed loser
  • So what to build?
    • I worked on Lotus Notes for years
    • I thought: I’m going to extract the good stuff from Notes, get rid of the crap and maybe something good can result
  • The development process in the new environment:
    • I’m away from all my development friends
    • Developed in C++: storage engine, view engine, query language
    • Had trouble seeing past the complexity
    • Went into panic mode
    • I ordered “Code Complete” from Amazon, hoping it would help — (it *is* complete and about code)
    • Glad to *not* get new information out of it. The important thing is that it helped me to just push forward with the project
    • Decided to use Erlang –– “I knew Erlang before it was cool” (It was never cool)

  • In late 2007, my cash reserves were drying up
  • I looked heavily at VCs and angels and discounted them quickly
  • I decided that I didn’t want to sell out CouchDB to commercial interests
  • Got a job — a cool one — at MySQL
  • There, I wrote the CouchDB that you know
  • IBM
    • I was approached by IBM
    • Wrote back to the guy who contacted me, saying that I was not interested because they had too many douchebags
    • Surprisingly, he replied with “Send me the same email, but clean up the language”
    • So I did: s/douchebags/vapid bureaucrats/
    • He sent it around his department
    • The result, they offered to pay him to work on CouchDB, and to keep it open, all the code I wrote for it went to the Apache Foundation
    • IBM really stepped up to the plate — they really helped CouchDB happen
    • As much I’m down on them, they’re a positive force in the tech industry. They’re big supporters of open source and big supporters of the tech industry in general
  • Q & A
    • When did it catch on?: When I added JSON

  • How’d the core team get together?I really don’t know
    • Only met one of them in person (Jan)
    • He’s been doing the evangelizing
    • They were basically volunteers who kept adding and it became “I guess you’re part of the project now”

An Amusing RubyFringe Moment

This is funnier if you happen to follow the Ruby programming scene or know me and Zed Shaw:

Photo by Libin Pan.
Click the photo to see its Flickr page.


RubyFringe: Day 1 Notes, Part 2

Jazzers and Programmers (Nick Sieger)

Nick Sieger had two talks ready and put it to an audience vote. They could pick either:

  • Pointless and Time — Wasting Things You Can Do with JRuby, or
  • Jazzers and Programmers

As you can see by the title, the audience picked “Jazzers and Programmers”.

Experience the music! Carsten Nielsen put together a muxtape page where you can hear the samples of jazz that Nick used in his presentation.

You should also see Nick Sieger’s blog entry Jazzers and Programmers, which is his presentation in article form.

Do the Hustle (Obie Fernandez)

From the RubyFringe program booklet:

Sales is an a rt that very few technical people have mastered. Very few. It takes patience, confidence, empathy and a whole slew of other skills mixed together — a brew that is seriously difficult for many geeks to figure out. In this talk, Obie will leverage his experience successfully selling consulting services for both Thoughtworks and Hashrocket to help you with the following questions: How do I figure out how to price my services? How do I figure out the kind of work I want to sell? How do I write contracts and statements of work? What about proposals? And RFPs? How do I close the deal?

Being Dumb and Using it to Your Advantage (Matt Todd)

From the RubyFringe program booklet:

You’re in over your head, dumber than you (and others) think, and you want to matter to your community. What do you do?

There are many good developers in this same position sitting on some dumb ideas simply because they are dumb. I’m challenging you to implement them…let me tell you why. First hand experiences from some dumb developer.

The Framework Mass Index: Why Your Web Framework Sucks and You Should Build Your Own (Jeremy McAnally)

From the RubyFringe program booklet:

Frameworks are getting fat. Many times it’s just as easy to build your own stuff that does what you want rather than shoehorning what you want into an existing framework. This talk will discuss experiences in shoving specific functionality into a general framework and some options for curing the problems that were encountered.

There Will be Porn (Zed Shaw)

From the RubyFringe program booklet:

I’ll go through 10 truly horrible ideas that I’ve implemented or thought about, all created just for RubyFringe.

Zed devoted the rest of the presentation to his Ruby “swan songs” — four numbers which he constructed on stage using Inculcator to record tracks and the salmagundi of music and computer gear shown in the photo below:

Zed Shaw\'s music gear setup at RubyFringe

Zed’s gear consisted of:

The four numbers he constructed and performed were:

  1. Zed Jumped the Shark (940K MP3)
  2. Matz Can’t Patch (1.7MB MP3)
  3. Don’t Fuck Up Chad’s Community (2.1MB MP3)
  4. Goodbye Friends (3.6MB MP3)

You can download them by clicking on the links above or by visiting their Internet Archive page, where you’ll find them in various formats. Zed put them in the public domain — in his own words: “I’ll nevermanke any money off them.”

In the photo of Zed’s setup, you can see four boxes on the left side. They’re t-shirts which have been compressed into cubes. Zed customized them by hand-painting “ZSFA” (short for “Zed’s So Fucking Awesome”, the name of his blog) on them. They were rewards given to people who supplied the vocal samples (“Zed jumped the shark”) for Zed Jumped the Shark. Those people were: Hampton Catlin, Deb, one unidentified person and Yours Truly.

Here’s what the t-shirt looked like after I extracted it from its cube:

Uncompressed ZSFA t-shirt from Zed Shaw

For Zed’s perspective on the event and his presentation, see his article titled RubyFringe 2008 – Killing Floor in Toronto.


RubyFringe: Day 1 Notes, Part 1

Here’s the first of my notes from RubyFringe, the non-corporate, almost-non-sponsored, edgy Ruby-but-not-Rails conference organized by the folks at Unspace and held in Toronto (a.k.a. “Accordion City”) on July 18th – 20th, 2008. I’ve read on a lot of blogs that people have been calling it “the best Ruby conference ever” — I might go so far to say that it’s the best tech conference I’ve been to.

This first set of notes covers the following presentations:

  • Adhearsion (Jay Phillips)
  • Deployment Monoculture / Scaling Ruby Down (Dan Grigsby)
  • Rockstar Memcaching (Tobias Lutke)
  • Living on the Edge (Yehuda Katz)
  • Testing is Overrated (Luke Francl)

Adhearsion (Jay Phillips)

From the RubyFringe program booklet:

Jay Phillips will talk about what’s been changing in the Adhearsion and VoIP scene and how people with virtually no VoIP experience can use Ruby and Adhearsion to write their first application in this generally foreign world of technology. If you’re building a Rails web application, with Adhearsion you could consider leveraging voice as a new, cutting-edge feature of it. If you’re a cowboy hacker with more personal ambitions, Jay will also talk about fun hacker projects and how you can go about implementing them. The world of voice is certainly a growing market and it can’t hurt to know a little about the technology!

Deployment Monoculture / Scaling Ruby Down (Dan Grigsby)

From the RubyFringe program booklet:

Most conversations about scaling Ruby web apps are pointed in the wrong direction. Instead of talking about whether Ruby can scale up — I think we all agree it can — I’d like to see it scale down.

As an entrpreneur, I launch dozens of ideas before I pick the one to turn into a startup. The Rails-inspired approach of deploying long running instances of the runtime, one or more per app, doesn’t scale down to support even a few side-by-side applications.

Instead of reflexively arguing that EC2 is cheap enough, this talk will challenge some base assumptions, take a hint and some inspiration from Google App Engine, and suggest another angle for deploying Ruby-based web apps.

Rockstar Memcaching (Tobias Lutke)

From the RubyFringe program booklet:

Memcached is what makes the web fast. It’s also the simplest thing ever: you put a little memory aside for it, you put some keys in, you get them out at a later time.

So why the hell do all of you geniuses use it wrong? I’ll teach you how to tackle your performance issues using memcached once and for all.

Living on the Edge (Yehuda Katz)

From the Rubyfringe program booklet:

Ruby is growing up quickly, and a number of Ruby’s mainstays are falling by the wayside. I’m talking about classics like Rails, Rake, Rdoc and much much more. This talk will help you squeeze even more developer productivity out of the latest edge tools that will be the mainstays a year from now. Of course, living on the edge is a dangerous game, so I’ll cover how to sanely keep abreast of the latest and greatest without having to spend all your time keeping your tool chain up and running.

I intend to cover Merb and DataMapper (briefly, as they are rapidly reaching escape velocity from the Land of Edge), Thor, YARD, basis and Johnson. I will also cover other edge tools that are released between time of printing and Rubyfringe. Rock on!

Testing is Overrated (Luke Francl)

From the RubyFringe program booklet:

Develper-driven testing is probably the most influential software development technique of the last 10 – 15 years. There’s no question that it has improved the practice of building software. And in a dynamic language like Ruby, it’s hard to get by without it. But is it really the best way to find defects? Or is the emphasis on testing and test coverage barking up the wrong tree?