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RuPy 2008

The last few weeks have been very busy for me. I attended two conferences, I’m preparing for a third one, and I’ve just launched a new web app together with my friends. All of these have been important enough to deserve a place on this weblog. So please turn a blind eye to the delay of my postings and let me start with a one-month-late report from the first of the forementioned events: RuPy 2008 – Ruby and Python conference in Poznań.

It was the second edition of the conference I wrote about last year. This time it was bigger, the list of sponsors was longer, and the speakers’ page included more famous names. Fortunately, the conference preserved its “geek camp” atmosphere. The organizers, who were the students last year and are now graduates, had much more experience this time. The talks went according to the schedule, which was probably the biggest change from the previous installment ;). The two talks I enjoyed the most were:

  • Correlations and conclusions by Zed Shaw. Mr Shaw delivered a witty presentation on measuring performance of web apps. He compared web.py with Ruby on Rails in serving a “Hello world” application. To nobody’s surprise Python’s library won by an order of magnitude, confirming Zed’s proposition that “Rails sucks”. While one could argue whether it makes sense to compare the efficiency of a fork and knife in a spaghetti eating contest, the show was entertaining.
  • TDD in Rails by Andrzej Krzywda. Andrzej is a Rails developer with a Java background. He shared his practical experience with a test driven development in different languages. While he advertised TDD as almost the only sane way to develop a software, I’m still a bit skeptical. I work mostly on the UI part of Ajax-heavy applications, and it’s hard for me to imagine even partial test coverage of complicated interactions. And what about automated testing of CSS layouts? I’m currently playing with Selenium, but my first impression is that it won’t be a silver bullet for front-end testing.

I also had my own talk. I covered a few of the Amazon Web Services: S3, EC2, SQS, SimpleDB and Mechanical Turk. I demonstrated their possible use cases and pitfalls, plus Ruby API’s. As I expected, people were mostly interested in Mechanical Turk, but unfortunately this service is available only for US developers.

As a side note, I had the worst possible time slot: Sunday morning, after the conference party. The party was good enough to stop most people from getting up in the morning.

My slides are shown below. RuPy folks have promised to put videos from the talks online on YouTube.

What’s coolest about the conference is the people. My personal highlight was Netguru, a small code house in Poznań. I met three nice guys from the company: Adam, Wiktor and Kuba. It turned out they have developed the main competitor for the web app I’ve been working on recently. It didn’t stop us, however, from sharing a beer at Saturday’s party :).

Now I’m looking forward for RuPy 2009!

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