RailsConf 2006 Day 3
I started today with
Beyond DHTML: Introducing Laszlo on Rails by Mike Pence. It
was interesting talk, but speaker could not give proper demo due to
Internet connection. Overall, I am not convinced why I would need Lazlo,
if I can use Ajax especially it is more resource intensive. I wish, I had
attended Selinium track because I caught last few minutes and it seemed
Second session was Just the Facts (and Dimensions) — using Rails with your OLAP data model by
Ken Kunz. It was slighly useful talk, but I didn’t learn a whole a lot.
Third session was
Using Ruby on Rails to Succeed in Selling Music in the 21st Century by
Benjamin Curtis. It was
by far the best session of the conference and I got a lot of practical
information on eCommerce. Though, I have been working for a very
lage eCommerce, but you don’t always get to see all areas. He also
has a book called “Money Train”, though I saw it only had 18 pages. This
is one area that I have not found a lot of information in books and
tutorials so it might be worth buying it.
Then I attended Deploying Rails Applications by
James Duncan Davidson. Clearly, deployment has been more complicated
piece of Rails development and there aren’t any clean solutions available.
So, there was good discussion of using Apache/FastCGI, Lighttpd+fcgi. He
recommended Capistrano and start small. He also suggested RSS/Campfire to
keep track of deployment notifications. He also cautioned with log files,
database sockets (firewall), file permissions (public directory). The other
solution as few other people mentioned is Mongrel. It also reminded me of proxy servers and reverse proxy servers I used
in a number of projects and helped setup in some consulting gigs (and
a number of ugly issues along with it [keep-alive] ). I was surprised he
ended the talk with using “Container” to tackle these deployment issues.
Does this mean that Rails will turn into J2EE?
Final thoughts: I found this conference to be not very well organized and
simple things like lack of slides or Internet were also bothersome. Also,
there were no birds of a feather sessions.
I found most of the speakers were not experienced and many of top level
leaders of Rails such as DHH, Dave Thomas,
Chad Fowler, David Black didn’t have any sessions. The only exceptions
were Mike Clark, James Duncan Davidson and Justin Getland and except Justin,
the talks of Mike Clark and JDD were very high level (sort of like keynotes).
Though, I would not had minded expertise of speakers (if they had good
practical sessions), but I found many of those sessions were vaporware
as a number of them had much higher agendas in their talk summaries, but
speakers could not finish the APIs, demo, research or work needed.
So, overall I found the conference useful, but it didn’t meet expectations
It was sort of brown bags, but didn’t have high calibre
speakers like other conference. Also, I am not sure why they didn’t bother
inviting Bruce Tate or Jim Weirich.
Since boom of Ruby/Rails, I find that biggest beneficiaries of all this
revolution have been either 37signals, Dave Thomas (et al), Thoughtworks and a
number of other startups, book publishers and trainers. I have bought almost
all of Ruby/Rails books of Pragmatic series (along with other) and in
this conference I heard a number of upcoming books from their series
(and yes I will buy their books as well).
Also, Dave Thomas, Mike Clark and Chad Fowler have pretty good
training program going where they charge about $1800 for 3-day class (but
they didn’t offer any short sessions from their training program). So,
clearly there is a lot of money in it for all these people, but, I
hope some of this
windfall goes to Yukihiro Matz Matsumoto, the guy behind all this.
Another observation, I found that 90% of people at conference used Mac
and a I few people were giving away non-conformity certificate. Here is