The opening keynote was by Jeremy Kemper of 37Signals, who is a leader in developing Rails. He talked about all the improvements in Rails 2.1, which he announced would be released later today. If I were already a deep user of Rails, I would have found all the details fascinating and exciting, but I don’t have the context to appreciate all of it.
My first talk of the day is 23 Hacks, by Nathaniel Talbott of Terralien. He says we need to hack, not just work on practical things. “Musicians spend a lot of time playing music nobody else would want to listen to.” To stretch themselves, to learn, for the joy of it. The same applies to software development; there is value in “valueless” software. He then demonstrated 13 hacks, and asked the audience to suggest 10 others to make 23. An inspiring talk, ending with an exhortation to us to go hack something soon.
My second talk is Advanced Restful Rails by Ben Scofield of Viget Labs. He started the talk by praising the value of constraints, referencing poetry and classical music. Constraints free you to focus on the smaller set of unconstrained options, letting you be creative and productive. He then covered the material well, but I didn’t learn much new because I’ve been reading so much on this topic already.