The first edition of the Garden City Ruby Conference was held in the beautiful Atria Hotel. We, the Bangalore Icicle Team, were super excited to meet, interact and listen to interesting talks.
We had spent the last few evenings coming up with something useful for the attendees. We ended up with Ruby and Rails cheatsheets for Vim and Sublime which were very well received. (A few people wanted Emacs but, they were in the minority. Maybe next time!)
Chad Fowler with the cheat-sheet.
Chad Fowler's Keynote - Micro-component Development
The day was kick started by Chad Fowler's keynote which was mostly about language agnostic micro-component development. Fowler talked about how he promotes his team to make use of any language as long as its small and readable.
Flipkart Rewrite in mostly Ruby
Yogi Kulkarni of Flipkart talked about how they bet their business on a complete rewrite of Flipkart in mostly Ruby. This was to solve the scaling issues they had been facing in their previous codebase.
Native Extensions in Ruby
The Native Extensions talk by Tejas Dinkar started off with a simple string manipulation example. He later talked about the 3 different ways of going about writing native extensions, including MRI, SWIG and FFI.
Making Events More Accessible
Coby Randquist who was here all the way from Bend, Oregon talked about community building and how he solved the problem of inaccessibility of conference talks by starting ConFreaks. He took us through the early days of tape based recording to current HD standards. In fact, he was recording this event too!
Lunch and Discussions.
Women in Development
Immediately after lunch, Sakshi Jain and Pallavi Shastry talked about their experience at The Rails Girls Summer of Code. The talk was not just about their journey but, also how women and girls can benefit from such events. The talk was very well received with lots of questions and advice.
Sakshi and Pallavi share their experience with Rails GIrls Summer of Code.
Ruby - Not a first choice language
The panel discussion that followed had Hemanth Kumar question Chad Fowler, Baishampayan Ghose, Yogi Kulkarni, Venkat Subramaniyan on Languages. The questions varied from what language they preferred to where we are headed in terms of languages. All of them agreed that we're reaching a stage where all languages need to start co-existing. Also, the fact that languages are built by the libraries and tools around them. Surprisingly, not all of them had Ruby as their language of choice.
Panel discussion on Languages.
Custom Domain Specific Language
Aman King's talk on custom-written Ruby DSL shed light on its usefulness in improving team productivity and overall codebase. He talked about various techniques for creating DSLs with real world examples.
Coding Your Startup
The day ended with the keynote from Prateek Dayal of SupportBee. He talked about his first company and why it didn't take off and what inspired him to start SupportBee - a problem he identifies with. Later, he talked about the importance of writing for developers and implored everyone to take up as much writing as possible.
Ruby Conf India and its Growth
The second day was kick started with Ajay Gore's keynote about how Ruby Conf was started. He talked about the struggles of starting a conference and likened the growth to that of a snowball - its easy to destroy it once it grows. He also introduced the organizing members and encouraged the audience to ask questions and become organizers.
The Organizing Team
Ruby Language Quirks
The Dark Side Presenation
Gautam Rege's The Dark Side of Ruby showed some of the interesting quirks of the Ruby language and also, kept the audience guessing with his true/false questions.
Machine Learning and Classification
Machine Learning in Ruby by Arnab Deka was mostly about supervised learning thorough classification machine learning. He showed an example of recognition of numbers written on a simple piece of paper through training. He also mentioned SVM which are supervised learning models and the Weka, which is a useful tool for data mining and visualization.
We also had great Friday Hug just before lunch, which promoted people to start mini Friday Hug sessions during lunch.
(Image courtesy Swanand Pagnis)
And, Mini Quiz
The mini-quiz that followed had lots of interesting questions and trivia from What language is this? to "Where did Chad Fowler live when he was in Bangalore last time?". The lightning talks after the quiz ranged from social causes such as Impact and Milaap to Sinatra Extension and problems with active record.
Nidhi Sarvaiya in discussion with the Mumbai RB team.
DevOps, Memory Model and More
There were three more talks related to Docker by Vamsee Kanakala, Pharamacist or Doctor by Pavan Sudarshan, Anandha Krishnan and the Ruby Memory Model by Hari Krishnan.
The talk on Docker interested the DevOps minded people with live demonstration on how it can be used for zero downtime deployments. Pharamacist or a Doctor was an interesting talk about how to tackle existing codebases and other intersting insights. The Ruby Memory Model took us back to the C and C++ days, with explanation as to why its important consideration especially when dealing with threaded environments.
The Final Keynote
Prakash Murthy ended the event with a transparent and thorough explanation of how the event was organized and where it is headed. We took one last photo before leaving exhausted yet, piqued and charged.
The Icicle Bangalore Team