RubyConf 2012 recap

After being unable to attend RubyConf last year, I was thrilled when I heard that this year’s conference would be held in Denver. Having lived in Boulder for several years, I’ve learned to love Colorado, the scenery, and the people. So it was almost a given that I would be attending.

RubyConf 2012 was one of the most useful Ruby conferences I’ve been to. The variety and quality of the talks and the venue combined to create a memorable experience. My reading list is slam full of interesting things I picked up at the conf and want to keep learning about on my own. Another reason this was a great conf: the swag. I left the conf with no less than 8 T-shirts, all of which I’m reasonably sure I will actually wear (sometimes free shirts are rendered unwearable by being poorly made or just plain ugly). Some attendees even scored 9 or 10 shirts.

But enough about shirts. Let’s go over some of the best talks I attended. (Which, by the way, will be posted online by Confreaks shortly, if they aren’t there already.)

  • My Name is MagLev by Jesse Cooke
    A Ruby implementation sitting on a Smalltalk VM, sporting a baked-in ORM that transparently persists your Ruby objects to the database. No more ActiveRecord wrangling!

  • Implementation Details of Ruby 2.0 VM by Koichi Sasada
    The 20th anniversary edition of Ruby was previewed at RubyConf and boy howdy does it have some nice features. Besides better method dispatch performance, the ability to prepend a module is very handy. The target release month for Ruby 2.0 is February, 2013.

  • Ruby Monitoring State of the Union by Joseph Ruscio
    Joseph surveyed various options for monitoring your Ruby programs: New Relic, statsd-ruby, Librato, and various monolithic open source software packages.

  • Zero Downtime Deploys Made Easy by Matt Duncan
    The title was misleading since Matt opened by saying there is no silver bullet. But he did share some interesting tricks to avoid locking database tables during long migrations, and also outlined a way to migrate between API versions.

  • Refactoring from Good to Great by Ben Orenstein
    One of my favorite talks of the conf, Ben gave several examples of smelly code and then proceeded to live code his way through various refactorings. Highly recommended.

Tomorrow I’ll recap the remaining six talks, including Jim Weirich’s keynote which involved stabby procs and succeeded in completely blowing my synapses. Stay tuned.