RailsConf 2009 in Las Vegas, May 4-9 English Posting

This is too late posting - about 1 month -.. Sorry!! :-)

Happening May 4-7, 2009 at the Las Vegas Hilton, RailsConf is the official event for the Ruby on Rails community. And it is the largest official conference dedicated to everything Rails. As you know, Ruby and Ruby on Rails is the heart of CLIK system, so the conference was also important to us. The conference is consist of 1 tutorial day and 3 session days. As most other IT conferences, they have multi-track sessions, it is only one bad thing of the conference to me (in this respect, I like RubyFringe). :-)

In first day, I attended two tutorials. One was "Running the Show: Configuration Management with Chef" and another one was "Testing, Design, and Refactoring". Chef is a system configuration management tool like Puppet. It is the latest development in open source systems integration, a powerful Ruby-based framework for managing servers in a way that integrates tightly with applications and infrastructure. If you want change, modify existing systems or set new machine, just access to Chef and run its command once. It will benefit only Rails systems, but also general UNIX systems. APCC has several Unix/Linux systems include CLIK, so if we use Chef to our systems, it should be helpful to reduce system management cost - time, money, man power, mistake, and so on. I hope our team has a opportunity to use it later. Testing (especially automated testing) and Refactoring are recent day’s big issues for software developers. Most developers wish to be a guru of them, but it's easy to get. So the second tutorial was very popular and interesting. However, the tutorial aimed to introduce Testing and Refactoring to common developers and motivate them to do it. So it couldn’t dig to deep side – advance topic – of Testing and Refactoring.

In session days, I attended many sessions as possible as I can. They organized 5 sessions in one time and 4 or 5 times in a day. A lot of various topics were talked and discussed in each session. Scaling, performance, architectural design, user interface design, testing, code quality, patterns and so on. I couldn’t attend all of them, so I chose sessions about performance and code quality. In Ruby and Ruby on Rails community, the performance is still important issues. Because a ability of handling heavy load environment – we call it ‘enterprise’ – is important barometer of that Ruby and Ruby on Rails can be major programming language or not. Many developers and companies showed how to they improved performance and solved their problems. Code quality is also important issue for every IT project. Because bad quality codes can lead to unexpected errors, hard maintenance, increasing cost in various fields. Sometimes it can be a reason of project failure. Nowadays, developers are trying to improve code quality with automated code quality checker. Of course, they can not guarantee high quality by only use them but it’s so helpful to figure out which codes are duplicated, bad style, etc. Metirc_fu is one of the automated code quality checking frameworks. Most significant feature of it, it uses several other frameworks for making code quality reporting. So the result is more helpful than using single framework and can reduce human effort to use several each framework. After came back Korea, I tested Metric_fu and I was very surprised how CLIK has many points which potentially be a problem in future. We’ve been improving CLIK source quality based on the result report and we’re going to use Metric_fu continuously.

Most impressive session, technically it’s not a session – it was a keynote – was Robert C. Martin (we call him Uncle Bob)’s presentation “What Killed Smalltalk Could Kill Ruby Too”. Smalltalk is pretty elegant and powerful Object-Oriented programming language and it was so popular from end if 1970’s, through 1980’s, to mid of 1990’s. Many good practices and patterns came from Smalltalk community, for instance, Refactoring, Test Driven Development, object oriented software design and so on. And Ruby and Python have been influenced by Smalltalk. However, recent days, comparing to Java/C and C++/C#, not many developers use it to their project even Smalltalk is so powerful. Anyway, by the really exciting key note, he gave us – Ruby and Ruby on Rails developers – several topics that we should think about. Although there many pros and cons on the internet about his key note, it was a valuable time to me and other Ruby on Rails developers, I think.

For days are not long times to talk about deep side of one thing, however, I was influenced many other developer’s knowledge and passion and I can get some useful ideas how we work with our CLIK system better. I hope I can have other opportunity to attend RailsConf again.


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