Lone Star Ruby Conf 2009 Day Two Morning Sessions

Last night Matz gave a keynote entitled "Why do we Love Ruby?" He talked about how Ruby embodies Quality Without A Name (Qwan). Here's a description of Qwan.

I think it might be time to retire this talk, as I've seen it more than a few times before. I'd much rather hear about interesting problems he's solved while designing Ruby or meditations on where the language is heading. A humble suggestion from a guy who's very grateful for Ruby.

TDD: More than just "testing" - Evan Light

Evan started out his talk by pointing out that lately we've been focusing more on tools and techniques more than the goal of testing. Testing is not the end, it is a way to help you get to the goal of a well designed application.

He did a live BDD coding demo - which is very courageous. I've seen way too many presenter's brains melt under the hot lights and audience pressure. He managed to pull it off and show some Behavior Driven Development. Evan likes to write out his series of specs/tests before he writes any code. It's sort of a high level sketching out of the design. Then he works on getting them to pass. Watching him work I was struck by how much good BDD is a conversation between the tests and the code - going back and forth. Sometimes the tests push bask and tell you the code needs to change, but just as often the code can push back on a naive test.

At this point I got up and gave my talk. The crowd was way more into it than when I gave the same talk a few days ago at Agile2009. Later people kept coming up to me and thanking me for the talk and metric_fu. Felt pretty good.

Lightning talks:

How to Get More Women (in Programming) - Sara Brumfield

  • Impostor syndrome - a lot of women feel like they are impostors so they don't go to conferences. They don't realize that just about everyone feels that way.
  • Voice of unquestionable authority - The one guy who asks the really hard intense question. This action can intimidate women a lot more than men.

Suggestion: Offer women's t-shirts at you conference. Little things like that encourage women to attend.

The "Pipeline Problem." Math classes filter out some women, programming classes filter out more, the job itself keeps filtering. Sara feels that we've been trying to solve the pipeline problem for years, but she feels it's not working.

Sara posted a more detailed description of her thoughts on the subject.

Prawn - Gregory Brown

Prawn is a Ruby gem for creating PDFs.
  • High level interface for basic reports.
  • It's the fastest pure ruby pdf generator
  • Prawn is pure Ruby with no tricky dependencies so it runs on all the Rubys
  • M17I is a top priority
The PDF specification is 1300 pages so it's been interesting. 1.0 of Prawn should come out soon.

HTML5 & CSS3 - Dallas Pool

The combination of HTML5 and CSS3 manages to move a lot of the dynamic view stuff out of flash, javascript, and photoshop and into... the view! Looks pretty cool.

If you want to know more checkout a presentation he gave here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/19111526/HTML5-Presentation

CodingMentors.com - Mark McSpadden

Mark wants you to get involved with mentoring developers in specific areas or to get mentorship. You can commit to remote mentoring and limited hours so don't be scared.

Spork - Tim Harper

Spork is a gem that forks the linux process so you can run rails specs faster. Basically you don't have to load up the rails environment every time you run a test (which is why tests that claim to take 0.023 seconds really take 5)

Time for lunch!


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