Charles Engelke's Blog

August 7, 2005

OSCON in Retrospect

Filed under: OSCON 2005 — Charles Engelke @ 12:18 pm

Now that I’m home, I want to write up some of my notes from OSCON. I stopped blogging after Tuesday because the mechanics of doing it live weren’t good (no tables in the rooms for a laptop, very flaky Wi-Fi connections), and I was too wiped out by the end of the day to do it then.

But there’s another reason I didn’t blog after Tuesday: I was getting depressed about the quality of the conference, especially as compared to previous years. Things got a lot better on Thursday, but I probably won’t go back next year. That’s a big change for me; I’ve attended every O’Reilly Perl Conference (starting with the two in San Jose) and every American O’Reilly OSCON.


August 2, 2005

Mono Boot Camp

Filed under: OSCON 2005 — Charles Engelke @ 4:35 pm

Niel Bornstein and Edd Dumbill are presenting this tutorial, and it’s looking good. The start is clear and structured, so we have a good idea of what we are going to do. And, it starts at the beginning: getting and installing Mono.

Mono is an open-source .Net environment that runs under various flavors of Unix and under Windows. If you have an Intel machine you can even boot from a live CD to try Mono out; download the image at

Perl Best Practices

Filed under: OSCON 2005 — Charles Engelke @ 3:17 pm

Okay, I bailed out of Learning Ajax, and I’ll attend Damian Conway’s session for the rest of the morning. I’ve heard some of this from him before, and I’m getting his new book on the subject, so I don’t know that this will cover much new. But he’s such a good speaker that it’s still worth attending.

Learning Ajax

Filed under: OSCON 2005 — Charles Engelke @ 1:28 pm

Alex Russell is giving this tutorial, and he’s made his slides available on-line. I’m excited about this talk, but a bit worried. The projector is awful; very, very low contrast, and extremely hard to read. And the sound system is boomy, which makes it hard to make out everything he’s saying, even though it’s loud enough.

August 1, 2005

Ruby on Rails

Filed under: OSCON 2005 — Charles Engelke @ 8:29 pm

Rails is an MVC framework for web development with Ruby. Our speaker, David Heinemeier Hansson, created it and has just written a book on it, and he was one of the team that built Basecamp with it.

Again, though, probably few notes during the session. He’s building a blogging application from scratch, and it’s a very impressive framework. Of course, samples always look easy when demonstrated. Still, look at all you need to get a core application:

  1. Download and install Ruby for Windows
  2. Install rails (command line: gem install rails)
  3. Create an application (command line: rails \path\to\your\new\app)

Now you have a web application. Start it up under Ruby’s built-in web server (command line: ruby scripts\server)

There’s now an apps subdirectory with directories for your models, views, and controllers. Rails will even create skeletons of those for you (e.g., command line ruby script\generate controllername).

By following conventions, you can create a database driven web application really, really easily.


Filed under: OSCON 2005 — Charles Engelke @ 8:24 pm

There’s (almost) no tea here! Each refreshment table has 7 huge urns or coffee, and one of hot water. And dozens of “tea” bags. None of which are tea. They’re “calming”, and “soothing”, and all sorts of horticultural byproducts, but NOT TEA!

This morning there were a small number of real tea bags (labeled “Awake”), but they went quickly. I’ve asked the conference staff to see if they can get the Starbucks folks who run the tables to put some real tea out.

After all, what if all but one of those “coffee” urns actually had cocoa and Postum, instead of real coffee? They’d have a riot on their hands.

Introduction to Ruby

Filed under: OSCON 2005 — Charles Engelke @ 1:16 pm

My first tutorial is “Introduction to Ruby” given by Dave Thomas. I’m not sure I’ll actually blog much, because it may interfere with my paying attention, but we’ll see…

Blog at