The first (and hopefully annual) RubyConf AU was held in Melbourne in late February and as the title "suggests" it was pretty awesome. 380 Ruby and Rails geeks descended upon the Jasper Hotel for 2 days packed full of top quality talks, by amazing speakers. On the day preceeding the conference proper there was a full day of workshops.
I attended a Code Retreat with Corey Haines. If you haven't been to a Code Retreat then you absolutely have to go. I felt like I levelled up as a developer several times in a single day and I'm very keen to go along to more. Basically the idea is that in pairs you do several 50ish minute programming spikes attempting to implement Conway's Game of Life. After each iteration you throw away your code and start again. Finally, to make things interesting Corey places restrictions on code you can write which forces you to think about your language and how it can be used to solve the problem given the restrictions.
Other workshops (which were all apparently fantastic) were:
- Advanced Ruby with Dave Thomas
- JRuby with Charles Nutter and Hiro Asari
- Rails for iOS developers with Lori Olsen and Tim Breutkreutz
- A Rails Girls workshop
The Conference itself
Every talk I attended was fantastic but there were some particular highlights:
- Obviously all the keynotes were brilliant.
- Keith and Mario's guide to fast websites was really top notch.
- Carina Zona's talk about schemas in the real world was very eye-opening.
- Ben Orenstein's live-coding refactoring session was fantastic too.
You can watch all the sessions on Vimeo
I do have some criticisms:
- While the talks were fantastic it would have been nicer to see some more diversity in the speaker lineup. Hopefully next year we can put more effort into balancing things out a bit.
- Lack of wireless and no 3G connectivity at the venue. There are arguments for and against here, but I feel that it negatively harms future conferences for there to be less "buzz" about our conference on Twitter. That said I'd prefer no internet to really bad internet.
I'm very much looking forward to RubyConf AU 2014!