Today started with “The Rails Way” keynote given by Jamis Buck, Michael Koziarski of the TheRailsWay site, on this site you can submit your code for review and they may do a write up about it, by the way both the speakers are part of the “Rails Core Team”. One of the important suggestions they gave was to keep your code simple and try not to complicate things.
The next talk I attended was on “JRuby on Rails” by Charles Nutter & Thomas Enebo , they showed how JRuby has come a long way and can now run (almost) any rails app, you can install any gem or plugin and as long as it is not doing anything natively in C and everything is written in Ruby it will work just fine on JRuby. They also showed how JRuby will consistently provide better performance over native Ruby and this is due to the fact that JRuby is running inside the JVM which is highly optimized. They showed some numbers where except for the startup time JRuby outperformed native Ruby and as of jdk-1.6 there has been a lot of work done on the JVM’s startup time and this problem should improve. They also mentioned how the Java vm makes full use of os threads and thus eliminating problems with native Ruby’s green threading model and another interesting note which I did not understand completely, is that you can now, using a plugin create a war of your rails app and deploy it into any servlet container and since rails is not thread safe it will create different rails threads and each thread will process one request and thus provide a work around for Rails threading limitation (not completely sure about this need to investigate). You can also use JDBC drivers with JRuby on rails and even use JNDI datasources which I thought was pretty cool. Link to JRuby wiki.
“How to Contribute to the Ruby on Rails Open Source” by Josh Susser , although this talk was geared towards contributing to Rails code most of the suggestions can be used with almost any open source project. This talk was about how you can contribute and if you do decide to do it, how to go about doing it. One of the best places to start is by looking at the Rails Trac (bug tracking system) and see if there are any open bugs. If you do decide to fix some bug, first write a test case that shows that there is one and submit that and then you can submit your fix. If you want to add a new feature and if it is something major first try to discuss this and when you get enough traction then open a ticket for it. Your patch should be attached to the ticket.An area which is in constant need for attention is Test Coverage and you could start off with writing some tests that would be great. There are 900 patchs that have been submitted to Rails Code and non off them have been processed so far,the speaker suggest that the Rails Team is actively working to fix this issue and to those who want to Fork, he suggested to Fork…..
“Solr on Rails” by Erik Hatcher, Solr is actually Java code that is written on top of Lucene (a high-performance, full-featured text search engine library written entirely in Java). Once your bring up Solr, it provides many ways you can communicate with it, including REST style API, you can directly connect to it using http or use the SolRuby lib which not only can communicate with a Solr api but also provide back Ruby objects for direct consumption, and there is also the acts_as_solr rails plugin that adds full text search capabilities using Solr to any Rails model.
Finally Keynote by Dave Thomas, his talk was very interesting he talked about how we are constantly going in a circle, rich client-web-rich client and we need to break out off it, he talked about how the most advanced and complex programs today are video games that people play with just two thumbs so why is it that we are still using forms to fill out data on the internet ? On an another note he suggested that the Rails community needs to welcome woman programmers and play nice with newbies. And last but not the least just have fun, try other programming languages and think out of the box.
By the way according to the last numbers Rails Conference raised 26,000 $ towards charity, YEAH!!
If you are looking for slides and other info for the Rails Conf 2007 here is the wiki link, and here is a link to in depth review/notes of DHH keynote, I hope like last year they will put a video of the keynotes.
“If you’re fortunate enough to use a real editor…” – from the Rails Way talk referring to TextMate