Jabberwocky

Railsconf Europe day 3

Posted in conference, rails by elisehuard on September 12, 2008

The sunny morning found me schlepping my luggage to the conference building. Last day of the conf, always slightly less relaxed, with the flight to catch and the check-outs to manage.

First keynote was by David Black of RubyCentral, one of the main organizers of the conference. He talked about Ruby’s version. It sounded slightly ad hoc (fibers ? mh, i knew about that 3 months ago, but can’t say now), but interesting anyhow.

Jeremy Kemper was helping out on the trickier details. Seems Rails is actively being ported to 1.9, so it might be worth it to start checking out the change logs.

Then i attended a talk by Matt Wood from the Welcome Trust Sanger Institute, which was involved in the Human Genome Project. The human genome was sequenced and open-data’ed (beating a team that wanted to patent it), but they continue sequencing different species to map evolution, and to research diseases and genetic conditions. This involved the handling of massive amounts of data. They do some of it with Rails, because of its flexibility (talk here).

Then Rany Keddo talked about background scheduling of jobs. Obviously you don’t want to block any of your web servers/threads with a lenghty process. There are many tools to offload this to background processes. Rany demo’ed and talked about some of them – and also his plugin Workling, which is a kind of wrapper making them pluggable in Rails.

Lunch was spent talking to several really interesting people (who i’ll probably never meet again), as wont in such a conference. DHH and Koz spottings.

After lunch: Justin Gehtland talking about modular architecture (monolithic software = the Death Star, modular agile stuff = the rebel fleet) talks. Some people are just great speakers. Then i had to leave to catch my flight. Easyjet waits for no woman.

What was up with the Star Wars meme ? It popped up every few slides with the US speakers. Certainly added to the comical effect. I suppose that there’s only a few common denominators between Geeks International United, and Star Wars is certainly one of them.

My conclusion about the conference is this: spotless organization, but the talks themselves (with exceptions !) were not stellar, nor particularly useful. I still hope to see the ones i missed released on the net.

The main point of being there, for me, would be to meet professionals in the same branche, and to be able to exchange views with them. Is that worth the price ? Actually, it might be. I had a good time.

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