Last week I attended the 2017 European Ruby Conference in Budapest. Here is a shortlist of the talks I enjoyed the most and some thoughts on the conference in general.
First and foremost this has been the biggest European Ruby conference in 15 years. A demonstration that the community is strong and working hard to push the language and all its related tools forward. This is a unique strength of the Ruby community that everyone else will have a very hard time replicate. This picture speaks for itself:
I personally had the chance to meet great people and talk about some of the technical challenges I am working on right now. That alone justifies the time spent at the conference for me. (by the way, if you happen to work on event sourcing in Ruby, please get in touch!).
The talks were hit and miss in my opinion but being this a single track conference I think it is ok. You want to make sure there is a good mix of talks for both experienced developers and newcomers to the industry. That's a win for the community.
This is the talk you should not miss.
Matz talked about the maturity of the language and the goal of Ruby 3x3. He explained very clearly the tradeoff between memory footprint and speed of the application. We can make Ruby faster, but whatever solution we come up with it should be backward compatible and should be configurable to have the same memory footprint as Ruby 2.0. Here is a great infographic about the talk.
So far every year we are increasing the Ruby performance by 10%. This year we could improve the Ruby performance by almost 20% with the new MJIT disussed here and here. In a nutshell, this is about changing the way instruction sequences for the virtual machine are represented and use register transfer implementation instead of a stack-based one.
Things I Learned the Hard Way Building a Search Engine by Katarzyna Turbiasz-Bugała
If you need to refresh your knowledge on information retrieval (IR) and how text-based search engines work I found this talk to be very useful. It assumes zero knowledge about IR and walks you through an example of building a search engine for your website. Also a nice touch at the end about searching in a document repository the meaning of life!
The overnight failure by Sebastian Sogamoso
This talk walks you through a fire that happened with a payment system that resulted in several customers' credit cards being maxed out. Pretty staggering but also super useful to see the perspective of an engineer that has to face such a challenge and how to stay calm and think about the problem in a structured way.
Rescuing legacy codebases with GraphQL and Rails by Netto Farah
I think this talk demonstrates that GraphQL is a mature tool now and can be safely introduced in our codebase to build APIs that are more client-centric. The approach is a powerful one and it lets you define a typed query language for your clients which decreases the number of calls needed and the amount of data transferred for a given use case. Definitely worth taking a look if your setup is Ruby for your API with multiple clients accessing it. Live coding included in the talk!
Ruby 4.0: To Infinity and Beyond by Bozhidar Batsov
This talk made my day, don't miss it. Thanks to his exposure to the Rubocop work Bozhidar has been able to identify and distill a number of simple backward-compatible improvements to the Ruby language that will both decrease the surface of the language and improve our happiness as developers.
No one wants to live in a future where everyone has to read a book called "Ruby: the good parts". Let's keep improving; I am sure Matz has received the message but we also need to do our part by making our voices heard.
Euruko is a great event for the wider community to get together and it has delivered on its promise of being THE European Ruby Conference.
I think we need more work to organize events that are aimed to educate attendants around specific topics. For example concurrency and architectural patterns for experienced developers or learning best practices and write beautiful maintainable code for beginners. In my view education is the only way to keep growing a healthy world-class community.
Enjoy the talks when they will be available and see you next year in Vienna!
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Also published on Medium.