Convention Center IN Portland, The venue of RailsCOnf 2013

RailsConf 2013 Review

I love the Ruby community. The amount of innovation that happens is astonishing. It’s full of kind people who are willing to talk and get acquainted. I enjoyed hearing stories and networking around so much that it’s going to be really hard to miss the conference next year.

Talking to people, one of the first things I realized was the variety of uses people have found of Ruby and Rails in their companies. I talked to a fellow who used Rails in a space station and another who’s using Rails in a non profit organization in Rwanda. Awesome!

I also got the chance to meet the Rails core team. I’ve worked with them on various bugfixes but this was my first chance to meet them. They are actually nicer in person! Aaron, José and Yehuda were all kind enough to talk even though they were probably tired from their talks. It was also awesome to catch up with Santiago after a long time.

Day 1: JavaScript gets sprinkled

There were amazing talks at the conference this year. Day 1 started with DHH’s keynote. It was great to see him in person. While it was nice to hear him talk about the new features of Rails 4, I think I was more enlightened to learn his philosophy behind some of his decisions that made Rails what it is today.

The other great talk from Day 1 was Bryan Helmkamp’s. He talked about security issues present in Rails by default. He’s an experienced speaker and delivered the content fabulously.

My favorite talk from Day 1 has to be José’s. He actually managed to implement a Sinatra clone using Rails, making it essentially defunct ;). I think this is going to be an awesome talk to watch again and learn more about the Rails internals. It was definitely one of the beefier talks in the conference.

Day 2: We Stop Hiding from JavaScript

Yehuda gave his keynote about why client side frameworks are the way to move forward. He advised to stop hiding from JavaScript. Only if JavaScript was Ruby!

Noel Rappin followed with a fantastic talk on Rails Vs. The Client Side, I think it was a great summary of both keynotes. And I am inclined towards his idea more, which is to use the right tool for the job.Though no matter what, we are at a point where we’ve decided as a community that downloading assets on every request is bad, be it via Turbolinks or EmberJS.

If that wasn’t enough, Sandi outdid herself with her latest talk, “The Magic Tricks of Testing”. It was refreshing to hear someone say that there is a thing as over-testing. We’ve definitely been hurt in our application by rigorously testing more than we should. Her tips on how to improve tests were powerful and I can’t wait to start using them.

I found Ernie’s talk entertaining. He covered how Active Record messes things up in Rails. More importantly, how it’s being fixed going forward. Ernie Miller is the author of some great gems such as Squeel and Ransack.

Day 3: The Ruby Heroes Day

Ruby Heroes 2013 were announced on Day 3. This year’s heroes are Terence Lee, Sandi Metz, Mike Perham, Brian, James Tucker and the Rails Girls organization.

I attended the workshop on Day 3 by Jeff Casimir and Katrina Owen from Jumpstart Labs. I haven’t seen a better impromptu speaker than Jeff. He’s also an awesome teacher and makes hard concepts easy to grasp. The workshop was about refactoring and it was great to see Katrina go through it live. Apart from the Wifi difficulties, we had an amazing session. I actually might just make that tutorial a kata to practice refactoring periodically.

In the evening, I was also at the performance workshop by Jeff. We actually had an exercise to practice what we were learning right there and then. It was an awesome fun night hacking even though it was hard concentrating on the code that late.

Day 4: Mamba Time™

Day 4 was the networking day with two amazing talks.First was Ben Orenstein, the other refactoring expert of the community. He gave a talk on how to give a talk, a hard talk to nail. He did amazing! Everyone literally were on their toes listening to him and he kept everyone entertained while giving useful tips & tricks. In the end, he had 400 people singing the birthday song for Jason (lucky you!).

The closing keynote was equally entertaining, if not more. He talked about what got deleted from Rails, some of the lesser known features from Rails 4 and properly handling security issues. I won’t spoil it for you but remember, we all had our Mamba Time™ there. :)

The talks will definitely be appearing on Confreaks soon so do keep an eye there.


Thanks to Ben Scofield, Marty Haught, Evan Phoenix and the volunteers for an experience that cannot be forgotten. Above all, thank you Matz for being nice. MINSWAN rocks!

I had a nice time chatting with Nick Quaranto, super awesome guy who works hard to improve how we use gems. It was also great meeting Asad Akbar, Ben Kruger, Ben Orenstein, Chuck Lauer Vose, Desi McAdam, Geoffrey Grosenbach, Jade Rubick, Jeff Casimir, Jon Larkowski, Katrina Owen, Leah Silber-Katz, Noel Rappin, Paul Elliot, Pat Allan, Sandi Metz, Terence Lee and probably others I've forgotten to mention. Thank you all!

I also met a longtime friend of mine, Ali Rizvi, who works at Agilsys and is an awesome guy to hang around with. He ordered a couple copies of “Practical Object Oriented Design in Ruby” by Sandi Metz so we could have them signed by her. He gifted one copy to me. Thanks Ali!

A single golf clap? Or a long standing ovation?

By clapping more or less, you can signal to us which stories really stand out.