Since RubyConf was in Denver this year, it would have been crazy not to go. Last time I went to RubyConf, it was 2009, and it’s amazing how much the community has changed since then.
I remember listening to a presentation on some exotic Erlang-based message-passing system, and the speaker, from Github, referred to Java programmers as ‘Drones’. Perhaps the Ruby community was still in phase where most of the members where ‘enterprise refugees’ and we were determined to burn down everything Enterprise, and remake it in a more Agile, more Flexible image.
Three years passes. There have been a few major Rails releases. There are a lot of people now who have these giant ‘Monorail’ applications, and now they are looking for solutions for some of these scaling problems, and if there is one thing the Enterprise knows, it’s how to operate at scale. It’s as if all of us hippies cut our hair, went to college, started families and are getting some real jobs. We need to look to the Enterprise for wisdom, while hopefully avoiding some of the mistakes the previous generation made. Almost every talk gushed on the awesomeness of JRuby and the JVM, about which I totally agree. Many talks talked about breaking apart large apps into services, and ways of structuring multi-machine architectures, so it’s still possible to test quickly and deploy quickly.
There was also a focus on monitoring, gathering data and using it to track usage patterns and find problems.
Here is a round-up of some of the awesome things that I discovered.
T, the command-line twitter client - A twitter client with truly deep karate searching through twitter streams.
Gitnesse, running Cucumber Features from a Git Wiki Part of the “sell” for Cucumber is that you write feature descriptions English, so stakeholders can understand or write the stories. If that’s the goal, why are we keeping the stories in the same place as the source code? Wouldn’t a wiki be better?
Activesupport notifications The most important feature of Rails that I didn’t know anything about. A really powerful way to log lots of events, which can then be captured, aggregated and presented by other tools.
Metriks - A lot of people sung the praises of Metriks as a means of capturing metrics from an application for publication to another piece of software, such as graphite or statsd.
Metriksd - A server that can capture and aggregate metrics
Graphite - Front-end and back-end system to store time-series data
System-metrics - A lo-fi system for collecting metrics
Issue Triage - A system Heroku put together to help triage bugs and issues in open source projects
mRuby - Minimalistic subset of ruby designed to run on a very low size and memory footprint
MobiRuby - Runtime for iOS devices based on MobiRuby
@iDoHaiku - Neural network that creates a new haiku every day.