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---
timestamp: Mon Nov 10 15:24:03 2008
title: in which the rubyconf attended is the eighth
tags: ruby, rubyconf
id: 117
content: |-
<p>I'm back in Seattle after an excellent RubyConf in Orlando,
FL. These events are always a treat, and this year's was no
exception. <a href='/96'>Last year</a> the dominant theme was
alternate implementations, and this time around it has become an
ingrained assumption rather than something that needed to be
stated. Distributed version control has also graduated to
something that can practically be taken for granted&mdash;at least
half the slide sets
referenced <a href='http://github.com'>github</a>
repositories.</p>
<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/technomancy/3015637388/"
title="img_2850.jpg by Technomancy, on Flickr">
<img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3277/3015637388_fb48da9faa_m.jpg"
width="240" height="180" alt="Omni Hotel" class='right' /></a>
<p>But the big theme for the year was concurrency. A number of talks
were given on the topic of going distributed, map/reduce-type
strategies, how to deal with threads/fibers, etc. Particularly
interesting
was <a href='http://pragdave.blogs.pragprog.com/pragdave/'>Dave
Thomas's</a> keynote. To encourage new developments, he said, we
should spin off forks of the language (not necessarily the
implementation) where incompatible changes can be experimented
with freely without worrying about cluttering up mainline
Ruby. Parallelism and reducing the number of built-in (and hence
inextensible) mechanisms were the main directions he suggested. I
like the idea, but such a project would be able to attract more
contributors if it were based on Rubinius instead of MRI or YARV,
so it may be best to wait until that's closer to completion. The
talk
on <a href='http://www.espace.com.eg/neverblock/blog/2008/09/04/neverblock-instant-scaling-for-your-rails-apps/'>NeverBlock</a>
was also very interesting; they seem to have a way to harness the
benefits of an event-driven approach without the twisty execution
flow logic that regular EventMachine requires.</p>
<p>My personal favourite talk
was <a href='http://geeksomnia.com'>John Barnette</a>
and <a href='http://tenderlovemaking.com'>Aaron Patterson</a>'s
talk on <a href='http://github.com/jbarnette/johnson'>Johnson</a>,
the Ruby/Javascript bridge. They turned the hilarity gauge way up,
but the actual code is extremely impressive. Being able to hop
between languages like Johnson allows could have some interesting
implications that no one has yet thought of.</p>
<a href='http://flickr.com/photos/68498640@N00/3018641584/'><img src='http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3211/3018641584_855e4abf20_m_d.jpg'
alt='Seattle.rb' title='We will light you on fire' align='left'
/></a>
<p>As I <a href='/116'>mentioned earlier</a>, the Seattle Ruby Group
presented a bunch of our projects near the end of the
conference. I got to introduce Bus Scheme in ten minutes, so it
was a very cursory look. Aaron performed a "historical
re-enactment" of the group's history that had to be seen to be
appreciated.</p>
<p>As usual, a lot of code was written during the conference. One of
the things that I got to help with was the addition of support for
prerelease versions in Rubygems. The lack of such support has been
shown to be particularly annoying with the impending release of
Rails 2.2, since they are using 2.2.0 as a prerelease version
number and calling 2.2.1 their first stable 2.2 release. It'd be
better if Rubygems allowed 2.2.0.a to be treated specially as a
prerelease version that would be superceded by a later real
release, and that's
what <a href='http://blog.hasmanythrough.com'>Josh
Susser</a>, <a href='http://blog.livollmers.net'>Alex Vollmer</a>,
and myself worked on. I'll post more about this when it's
complete.</p>
<p>Lots of thanks are due to the <a href='http://rubycentral.org'>
RubyCentral team</a> who are somehow able to consistently pull off
these amazing events. I'm also really looking forward to
Confreaks posting the videos of the conference so I can catch the
talks I missed; thanks guys!</a>