Today, I’m feeling mostly recovered from my first ever RailsConf, so I thought I would take some time to reflect on what I learned there, and share it with you, my dear reader. So, here we go, in no particular order…
CoffeeScript is happening…
The Rails Community is Awesome
My wife’s response after she read my tweets upon my return:
“Just wondered, who is this guy? Dinner anyone? Share a cab? You became an extrovert on your mothership.”
It’s true, I did. It’s weird. I’ve never been to Baltimore before (save time spent between flights at BWI), but among my fellow Rails coders, I’ve never felt more “at home.”
As I thought about all of the people I finally got to thank in person for all they’ve done to make my time in the Rails community more enjoyable, it really drove home what an awesome community we have. It’s easy to lose sight of this while working away in Louisville, my little corner of Kentucky.
Aside from this, getting a chance to put a real face to a name, make and receive thank-yous for all the hard work we put in on Rails patches, plugins, and the like, has the effect of re-energizing a developer. I’d go on and list all of the awesome people I got to meet in person here, but I think it’d just make @casron more jealous.
I would like to say, however, that Emilio Tagua (@miloops) has got to be one of the friendliest guys I’ve ever met. I’d hoped to catch up with him to thank him for helping me get commits added to ARel back in the 1.x days that were needed for MetaSearch and MetaWhere. Instead, he ended up two seats over from me at Ignite, noticed I was hacking on a Squeel bug, and introduced himself first. Every time I saw him during the remainder of the conference, he had a smile and a kind word. Just an all-around great guy to have met.
PostgreSQL is awesome, too!
Now, I should have known this. I had started out using MySQL many years ago, when it had solid speed advantages over PostgreSQL, but far fewer features. Somewhere along the line, that balance shifted, but I stuck with MySQL due to familiarity. Nick Gauthier’s KnowSQL presentation has made a believer out of me. I’ll be using PostgreSQL as my RDBMS of choice from here on, and making sure that Squeel works as well as possible with it, too.
The Fundamentals are ALWAYS Relevant
There were tons of talks on design patterns, best practices, and so on, and even as long as I’ve been doing this whole coding thing, there are plenty of areas in which I can improve. In particular, Avdi Grimm’s talk, Confident Code, José Valim’s talk about the design principles behind the Rails 3 refactoring, and the talk on Building Bulletproof Views by John Athayde and Bruce Williams all challenged me to elevate my game in these areas.
HTML5 is sooooo much more than semantic tags
LocalStorage, audio, video, canvas drawing, web sockets, web workers — this stuff is all crazy cool and I can’t wait until more browsers support it. Mike Subelsky’s HTML5 tutorial was a real eye-opener.
That’s about it, for now. What were some of your takeaways from RailsConf this year?