The Hoedown Wrap-up
Ben Scofield, Former Viget
Patrick, Clinton, and I spent Friday and Saturday with 100+ other Ruby developers at the Ruby Hoedown here in North Carolina, and we had a great time. The sessions ranged from conceptual (Ken Auer talked about "Crossing the Chasm," pulling examples from the history of Smalltalk) to highly technical (Jared Richardson showed just how easy it is to turbocharge your Ruby by dropping down into C), and, as so often happens, meeting the other attendees was tremendously valuable in and of itself. I think the sessions we got the most out of were the opening workshop on testing (which raised over $3,000 for charity), the lightning talks on the second day (where nearly a dozen attendees, including Clinton and Patrick, spent 5 minutes each presenting things they've been working on), and Marcel Molina's closing keynote on code beauty (which was easily the most thought-provoking event of the conference), but all of the sessions had something to offer. One other thing of note came out of the Hoedown - lunch on the second day provided the opportunity for people interested in individual topics to come together in Birds of a Feather sessions. One of these BoF sessions (on using Ruby to enact social change) has resulted in the creation of a new rubyforchange project on Rubyforge. This project, with its accompanying mailing list, will serve as a focus for Ruby developers who want to use their skills to benefit others. It's heartening to see that the community is continuing to make a concerted effort to give back. Finally, I'd like to say that Nathaniel and Jeremy did a fantastic job putting this on, and we can't wait 'til next year!