Posts in Category: Conferences

RubyConf 2018 is about to start, so let’s talk about RubyConf 2017!

RubyConf 2018 starts tomorrow, and just like I did with RailsConf, I’m very belatedly going to share some highlights from RubyConf 2017, which was in New Orleans last November. It was my first time attending RubyConf, and what struck me the most was the really strong sense of community. Here’s what one first-time attendee had to say:

…This conference was so incredibly worth it. I learned about sweet gems, cool projects, and job opportunities. But more importantly, I met SO MANY totally epic and amazing individuals that even after only three short days I happily now consider friends. I cannot wait to follow their coding lives and journeys in the years to come. I am confident that so many of them are going to do great and groundbreaking things. Plus, I cannot WAIT for my next RubyConf.

That’s from the post 31 thoughts I had while attending my first #RubyConf as an Opportunity Scholar. RubyConf’s Opportunity Scholar program provides financial support for folks who wouldn’t be able to attend otherwise, and are getting started with Ruby. The Scholars are then each matched with a Guide – experienced people who can help them navigate the conference, and make connections for professional development and job opportunities. I applied to be a Guide for this year’s RubyConf and I was selected – I’m looking forward to it!

RubyConf has three tracks of talks, so it’s not possible to attend them all, but here are the ones that were my favorites, including links to the videos for each of them:

  • Live Coding Music with Sonic Pi – this was a really fun talk on Sonic Pi, which Sam Aaron live-programmed while DJing the after-party that night. Here’s video of the talk and a short clip of him DJing:
  • There’s Nothing.new under the sun – this talk includes highlights from some of the best conference talks in the history of Ruby, which required a huge research effort by the presenters. It’s also a great introduction to what makes the Ruby community special. The presenters’ resource list includes links to the talks that the highlighted. Video
  • Code Reviews: Honesty, Kindness, Inspiration: Pick Three – this was my favorite talk, as doing code reviews effectively is one of the greatest challenges teams face, and this talk included a number of innovative and fantastic ideas for doing them well. Video
  • You Are Insufficiently Persuasive – Sandi Metz’ keynote – need I say more? It’s an excellent talk on working well with others: why it’s important, how to do it, and how not to do it. Video
  • High Cost Tests and High Value Tests – an excellent overview of the costs and benefits of different types of tests, and slow tests. Slides | Video
  • Deterministic Solutions to Intermittent Failures – almost all large tests suites I’ve seen over the years have at least some challenges with intermittent failures (flaky tests). This talk consists of hard-won – and refreshingly specific – advice on how to address these challenges. Video
  • Git Driven refactoring – this talk showed me ways of using Git that I’d never thought of before, to make your code better, and also a good introduction to the SOLID principles. Slides | Video

And since the conference was in New Orleans, I now have to show you pictures from some of my time spent outside the conference…

RailsConf 2017 in tweets, and my “Why Do Planes Crash?” lightning talk

RailsConf 2018 starts in exactly one month, and I’m looking forward to it! This means I should probably get around to saying something about RailsConf 2017. The video above is cued to start at the beginning of a lightning talk I gave. The title was “Why Do Planes Crash? Lessons for Junior and Senior Developers.” Analyses of plane crashes show planes actually crash more often when the senior pilot is in the flying seat, often because junior pilots are reticent to speak up when they see problems, while senior pilots don’t hesitate to do so when the junior pilot is flying. There are some great lessons developers can apply from this for how to do mentoring and pair programming.

The lightning talks were at the end of the 2nd day, and I made a last minute decision that morning to sign up and put a talk together. I’ve given a number of conference talks before, but never to a crowd this big, and never with so little time to prepare. Then when it was time to give the talk, there was a technical issue that prevented me from seeing my notes, so I had to wing it. Under the circumstances I think it still turned out ok. Here are my slides (they’re also embedded below) and some tweets about the talk:

I work for ActBlue and we provided Opportunity Scholarships for people who normally wouldn’t be able to attend, for financial or other reasons.

4 of us from ActBlue attended, and my co-worker Braulio gave an impressive full-length talk explaining how our technical infrastructure supports close to 8,000 active organizations, and handles peak traffic like the 2016 New Hampshire primary night, when our traffic peaked at 300,000 requests per minute and 42 credit card transactions per second.

Here are some other highlights from the conference…

Video of Marco Roger’s talk mentioned above.

A group of us took in a Diamondback’s game the night the conference ended, and then the next morning a couple of us headed to the Desert Botanical Garden before flying home.

Lastly, here are the slides from my lightning talk:

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