Shahzad Bhatti Welcome to my ramblings and rants!

June 26, 2006

RailsConf 2006 Day 3

Filed under: Computing — admin @ 7:26 am

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 pretty useful.

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 large 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

This conference was not very well organized and simple things like lack of slides or Internet were 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). I found many of those sessions were light on content 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 caliber 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 I was one of very few people who didn’t have Mac and received a non-conformity certificate:

You can visit flicker for this picture as well and other pictures are available at pictures from Rails conference.

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