Friday, February 17, 2012
How we ended up organizing a Ruby conference
It started with a Ruby User Group in Wrocław
It all started with the DRUG meetups. DRUG is a local Ruby user group in Wrocław. As the natural WRUG name was taken by our friends from Warsaw, we have decided to go with D as Dolny Slask, our region in Poland. That's how the awesome name was chosen :)
We gathered together for more than 2 years now. At the start there were about 10 people coming every month. Now it's closer to 20.
The interesting fact about our meetup is that we almost always have like 5-6 talks submitted. Compared to meetups which end up with 1 talk that's quite a difference.
We like to call DRUG a 'conference every month'.
We love sharing opinions and discussions, so we started inviting people from other cities.
We've had guests from Krakow, Silesia, Kopenhagen, Cologne and many other places, we've visited Silesia, Poznan, Trojmiasto, Krakow.
Apart from DRUG meetups there are also DRUG dinners, events at which we just drink beer and discuss, no presentations.
There are also regular DRUG hackathons during which we develop quite a lot of interesting libraries. Bbq and Exceptioner are the ones we're most proud of.
Every day, during our work we like to discuss recent Ruby stuff in the #drug.pl irc channel (freenode).
At some point it was getting quite clear where it's all going to.
We want to organize a conference!
Once the idea came up about a year ago, I don't think there was any discussion if we want to do it. The focus was on "how". Everyone was very excited and the core organizing team set up very quickly.
At first, we decided on the name, date and the venue.
We did a lot of research on what was good/bad on other conferences like Euruko, RuPy, RubyConf etc.
The decision needed to be made if we want to be similar to other conference or shall we go another route.
At some point it was clear that the spirit of our DRUG meetups should shape up the conference. We want it to be about discussions as much as possible. We want it to be about how to make the Ruby world even better than it is.
The idea of fights came up pretty quickly and we're very happy that we kept insisting on it. That's the main conference idea - let's confront different ideas on stage. Let's make it a major part of our conference.
I'm happy to announce the main fights of our conference:
Fight 1 - Rails and OOP
This is all about the recent OOP movements in the Rails world. There are quite a few problems that people focus on and quite a few proposed solutions. We want to cover topics like:
Persistence and domain logic separation
Objects on Rails
@unclebob ideas - Rails is not your app.
I'm really excited about this "fight". I'm going to blog about this fight more, so stay tuned.
Fight 2 - JRuby vs Rubinius
Which one is better?
Which has the better "support"?
We invited people from both worlds, so the discussion will be of good quality.
Fight 3 - Testing
Shall we keep loving/hating Cucumber?
What about the new tools, like bbq?
Object oriented acceptance testing?
Stubbing or mocking?
TDD - does it make sense?
Agenda and speakers
We didn't just want to invite random famous names from the community. We were focusing on people that fit well with the spirit of our conference. Every talk was carefully chosen. The choice was very difficult as we've had many talks submitted.
What we ended up with is the best Ruby conference agenda I have ever seen. Really.
There's a mission in this conference. We have strong opinions on how some of the Ruby/Rails issues need to be solved. We chosen speakers that are known of their quality and of their strong opinions. We have invited people known of their passion.
Let's have a quick look at some of them:
Apotonick is famous for his REST passion and monolithic apps hate. We share many of his opinions and he is a perfect fit for our conference (also for the parties in the evenings :) ).
Avdi Grimm is the author of the "Objects on Rails" book. This topic makes an important part of our conference.
Steve Klabnik knows a lot about REST and creating API, we're really excited to have him speak on this topic.
The idea of the real DataMapper library that comes with the DataMapper 2 sounds really cool to us and we have Piotr Solnica, its author talking about it.
We have Drogus (Piotr Sarnacki), the Rails commiter, the author of Rails engines.
We believe in distributed apps as the solution to monolithic problems with typical Rails apps. That's why we invited the author of 0MQ - Martin Sústrik. There's also Florian Gilcher talking about "the fear of processes". Krzysztof Kowalik is going to talk about his lessons learnt from the world of distributed apps.
An important track of our conference is the "frontend apps" track. We have Roy Tomeij speaking about creating reusable frontends with CoffeeScript, sass etc.
We have only one talk about testing, but it will be delivered by Michał Czyż, a developer whom I consider an expert in the topic of acceptance testing. I'm looking forward to his talk.
There's also an original talk planned by Michał Taszycki, "the programmer workout".
There's more to it, so just look at the official agenda.
Don't forget that we have an open space planned, so more talk ideas may come up later :)
Do you want to be part of it?
It's going to be a historical event. You don't want to miss it. 5 years from now people will mention the wroc_love.rb 2012 as the breaking moment for the Ruby/Rails community. Watch it live :)
Although the conference didn't start yet, we already know that the wroc_love.rb 2013 is going to happen as well!
For now, let's focus on this year event. It's only 4 weeks from now, March 10-11.
Make sure you have the ticket, book the hotel and travel. Invite your friends.
Check out the conference website.
It's a community-organized conference. Non-profit. Be part of this community.
Let's make it awesome. Thanks!
BTW, Wrocław is one of the nicest cities in the world, ask anyone who has been here.