I recently went to MountainWest RubyConf 2011 (Mar 17-18). It was in Salt Lake City at the public library. It was pretty fun. I met a guy that recognized me from Taylorsville elementary school! People were mostly from the western US, but there were people there from the east as well.
Probably the biggest surprise for me was that I expected for all of the sessions to be centered around Ruby and for everyone to discourage all other languages, but they weren’t and they didn’t. Here is a short list of things that I noticed:
- Ruby coders are not Ruby exclusive.
- Coding is actually called hacking.
- Ruby really is a community (so many things about what everyone considers “core” to Ruby were contributed by other people).
- Bioinformaticians exist. I met one and he enjoys his job in Arizona!
- There are lots of Ruby on Rails jobs in Utah.
- Ruby development is largely Mac-centric with some linux. Windows users are made fun of (light-heartedly).
- Everyone is nice and willing to help you and eager to learn (MINASWAN).
- IRC is a great way to ask/collaborate with other developers.
- There is a big community of Ruby developers in Utah at URUG that meet together monthly.
- Twitter is used way more than I thought.
I tried to keep that first list to things that were less techy. Here is a list of more technical cool things that I learned:
- There are lots of well-developed Ruby interpreters (MRI, JRuby, Rubinius, MacRuby, Maglev).
- If you’re unhappy with your tools, you should write your own.
- Citrus is a great way to parse.
- I want to participate more in the community (ie. Rails Mentors or Ruby Summer of Code among other things if they do it again).
- I want to Try Redis and Try MongoDB.
- You can create a website using GitHub Pages for free.
- There is a cool Ruby University that is free called Ruby Mendicant University.
- Learn 7 languages in 7 weeks.
- There are better ways to handle concurrency than just using threads (read more).
I also learned some quirky things about the guys in general. They like:
- sparkly unicorns
- random animal sounds
Overall, it was a really interesting, fun experience. I’m glad I went. I learned lots of interesting things and it changed my outlook on different languages and programming in general!