Kevin McKelvin

Rubyfuza 2013 in hindsight

13 February 2013

On 7 - 9 February, the Strand Tower Hotel in Cape Town played host to the 2013 installation of Rubyfuza. Rubyfuza is the premier Ruby event of the year in Africa, attracting speakers from all over the world including top people from Heroku, Github and EngineYard.

This year’s conference was unquestionably the best one yet. The talks were insightful, thought provoking and were presented at a level that challenged my opinions on software. The opportunity to engage with industry professionals has re-ignited my passion for the craft of writing good software.

It was also breaking new ground for me as I gave my first ever conference talk, speaking about applying best practices when using RSpec. It’s a different ballgame speaking to 120 industry professionals at a conference over speaking to 25 people at a local usergroup. But as stressful as it was (I was nervous as hell), it was also really addictive. Now that I’ve broken into it, I’m dying to do it again and improve.

The three presentations that had the most impact on me were

  • Aslam Khan’s “Not Quite Object Oriented” - showing off some of the advantages of functional programming, monads and tree data structures.
  • Vicent Marti’s “Unicorns Die With Bullets Made Of Glitter” - explaining the problems in MRI’s garbage collector. I’m never going to lose the image of the two-headed troll named “Mark & Sweep”
  • Jesse Newland’s “ChatOps at Github” - Evidently, Hubot’s built for more than just finding funny cat photos. It’s one flexible piece of software when it comes to managing infrastructure in a visible way. After this talk, I’ve started building some services for Platform45’s infrastructure to do more dev-ops in our Campfire.

I must mention Marc Heiligers (the conference organiser) in closing. Spectacular job mate. The work you’ve put into Rubyfuza over the last 3 years has pulled a really tight knit community together and has established South Africa on the global map in the Ruby space.

Kevin McKelvin

These are the online musings of Kevin McKelvin. He is the CTO at Resource Guru, and lives in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.