I’m back from a thoroughly epic weekend of conferencing at EuRuKo 2013 - the travelling ruby conference - each year visiting alternating destinations as voted on by attendees of the previous EuRuKo. With this year being Athens’ opportunity to host the most prestigious ruby conference this side of the water. The exact location being the former Olympic badminton theatre. With its amazing stage and pristine acoustics it was an ideal choice for hosting approximately 600 attendees. Situated just on the outskirts of Athens, a convenient distance from most of the main attractions of the city.
I was fortunate enough to be selected to give my talk “Achieving zomgscale with Celluloid and JRuby!” and this was given on the second day. The talk also being live-streamed for anyone that couldn’t make it along. Starting with an introduction and a light-hearted look at my path to EuRuKo - starting from way back at the call for proposals and ending at the current day. Followed by my ramblings on multithreading, concurrency and parallelism in ruby. It was an amazing experience and judging by the commentary that followed I delivered it well enough. You can see my slides here, or watch the talk in full here.
This year was of special significance as the twentieth anniversary of the ruby programming language and to mark the occasion the organisers had invited Matz - the chief designer of the ruby language - to provide the opening keynote. Matz spoke with humility about language design, finding inspiration and the design philosphies of MRI, both past and future. Witnessing Matz speak was an honour, as was being fortunate enough to spend some time chatting with Matz during a speaker’s dinner hosted on the final evening.
Rails core team member Xavier Noria gave the second keynote, a tale of rational numbers and their meaning within ruby. Another interesting talk and delivered well.
The second day began with Koichi’s keynote. This was centred on efficiency in the forthcoming ruby 2.1 release scheduled for Christmas day. Covering the generational garbage collector AKA RGENGC and the strategies regarding the gradual insertion of necessary write-barriers. Early benchmarks show much promise with performance incrementally improving in step with the addition of further write-barriers. Koichi humorously coined the event driven development paradigm which illustrated the correlation between his commits to ruby core and his attendance of events. The verdict: invite Koichi to more conferences!
The last keynote was provided by another rails core member Steve Klabnik. Steve spoke on functional reactive programming, a model commonly found in functional languages. There was live-coding including FRP examples in ruby plus some bonus shoes code.
The other stand out talks for me were presented by Pat Shaughnessy and Dirkjan Bussink. Pat gave a fast-paced yet incredibly thorough look at functional patterns as implemented in Haskell and how and where they possibly translate to ruby. Dirkjan spoke on the quest for a faster ruby, and how he is helping to shape this with his contributions to the rubinius interpreter. It was interesting to hear about the optimisations that are occurring there and the authoritative pronunciation of his name ;). I also enjoyed Benjamin Smith’s talk on architecting large rails applications. Based upon his practical experiences delivering large rails applications for Pivotal Labs.
The conference was summarily wound up with the pitches and voting for next year’s location. With Kiev being the fortunate ones who get to host next year’s EuRuKo. If it’s just half as good as this year’s it will be amazing.
I want to take the opportunity to spread some love and thank the organisers, volunteers and all the attendees that made this possible. It was an epic experience. The hospitality extended by the organisers and everyone involved was without question and the polish and professionalism prevailed throughout every aspect of the conference. An amazing prospect when you consider the organisers had absolutely zero prior experience of arranging events at this scale. Thank you all so much for having me.
I hope to see you all again in Kiev, 2014!
Thanks to Global Personals for sponsoring my attendance to EuRuKo.
Images credited to @kakutani, thanks!