[Thursday] Sitting in the airport getting ready to head out; it’s been a while since I’ve spoken to over a thousand people (well, I do every day here, but that’s different) so I’m nervous. Happy, too; I’ve managed to schedule my Sun-related work so I can get to a few sessions that sound super-interesting; I expect to get my brain upgraded. [Friday] I’m filling in conference notes and pictures as the days go by.
Solr · I had breakfast with Erik Hatcher, who is one of the heavy-lifters in the Lucene world. He’s working on Solr, which is a REST interface to Lucene. Back in 2003, in my On Search, I called for exactly this, so obviously I think it’s a good idea.
Opening · Chad Fowler delivered an absolutely smashing welcome. He detoured from the obvious tech stuff, acknowledged that the Rails community has a reputation for arrogance (there was a scattering of applause; hmm) and challenged the roomful of geeks to get involved, give some money to a good cause, and otherwise make a difference. Go Chad!
Below is a picture of Chad and Rich Kilmer setting up for DHH’s keynote.
DHH · No obscenities, just a straightforward, entertaining state-of-Rails survey. The state is, more than anything else, RESTful. The new stuff in the new Rails is all about mapping code to resources and representations.
Also, there’s some lovely-looking debugging code that ought to be integrated with the stuff the IDE people are building.
Also, there’s a bunch of stuff to facilitate caching and HTTP performance. Which is an area that needs lots of attention; for example, Patrick Mueller illustrates apparent mis-use of HTTP by Twitter, which may well be contributing to its performance problems.
I talked to David after the keynote about what they’re doing with ETags, and the default Rails implementation is going to help save bandwidth, but do nothing to offload the CPU. I’m not sure that this is something that can be fixed in the framework; at the end of the day, only an application knows when it’s mangled some resource or another. But anything Rails can do to help programmers Do The Right Thing would be a major plus.
The crowd are, on the face of it nearly all Mac-toting males:
I haven’t had enough time to do the schmoozing yet to find out what kind of people they are, where they come from. But I’m really distressed to be attending yet another nearly-all-male event.
Trade Show · There was an actual trade show; I guess Rails is going mainstream:
Below is our own Arun Gupta demonstrating JMaki with Rails; apparently people liked it.
Avi and Ze · Avi Bryant, once again, challenged the Ruby crowd, pointing out that Smalltalk, a nearly-identical language, has immensely higher performance and a culture of extending Smalltalk in Smalltalk; so why can’t Ruby have the same? He’s right, I think.
Ze Frank closed the evening; I wasn’t expecting much, since his little video shows mostly didn’t reach me. But he was excellent; funny and also on-target, talking about the process of building his Web persona and presentation. There was some fairly standard stand-up comic fare in between, but it was crisp and his timing great; definitely a good way to close the evening.