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my phone officially died today.  it's been ill for the past 3 days...it was in intensive care today...but didn't make it.  it's a brick (thin, small one).  anyhow, a trip to the store and i'm going to try to survive the weekend with a "normal" phone (text messaging is the most advanced it has.

anyhow, back to railsconf after a jaunt...

some of the sessions here have been PACKED.  i wasn't able to get in to some...shame on me for being late...namely "clean code" and "doing REST right" were packed to the gills -- to the point apparently that the fire code was violated in one (one of the security guards was freaking out as people were not listening to him and walking in)...too bad i missed those -- nobody was walking out, so i assume that == good.

i'm sitting in a session from the guys who are building codegear (a rails ide).  it's the 10 cool things i learned on the path to rails enlightenment.  it's not an effective message here.  lots of slides.

now he's talking about why i'm here, the ide. 

SIDEBAR: there are three companies here competing in the rails ide space: netbeans, codegear, komodo -- all seemingly (2 at least) eclipse-based ide's.

this is the PM for the project -- he's showing a lot of things but most falls into these categories so far: syntax coloring, code completion, project creation, etc.  what's funny is that so far what i've seen in a lot of these ide's are in sapphire in steel -- and you get some bonus stuff from that plugin as well.  now if you are a mac user, that might not help, but maybe these others will be to your liking...

seems like he's fumbling a bit through the demo (ah, beta code).  mozilla is embedded into the ide for some assisted debugging (looks like mainly for ajax development -- viewing dom, etc.)

well, not terribly exciting i have to say (and ending 20 minutes early doesn't give good impact)...i think i'm too geeky and not picking the right sessions...

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sitting in the "product and services" track for apollo.  this really has nothing to do with rails, but hey, adobe is a sponsor, so throw them a bone and give them a few sessions.

the html engine in an apollo app is webkit...interesting -- didn't know that.  the reason was that it is an open project and they wanted something to contribute to...

yawn...these guys don't have enough energy...their jokes aren't working...this is 100 level stuff...walking out now.

ooh, just heard one of them talk about using design mode in flex builder: don't be afraid of it, it works well, doesn't mess things up.  hmm...i remember another ide that has a great design mode implementation now (admittedly not in the past).

okay, now walking out -- this hello world stuff with simply putting html controls on a friggin app isn't sexy to me.

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i chose not to attend technically the first day of railsconf which was some pre-con tutorials.  why?  well, last year i did, and didn't find them a particular valuable use of 8 hours of my time...probably because in conference mode i'm not in a mindset of sitting for 4 hours on one topic.

but i'm here back in portland, this time for railsconf (my last trip was oscon...man was it really that long ago?) as well as the (where i have a few sessions).  there are a few of us softie-types here at railsconf, so if you want to chat about things, please ping me and i'd love to chat.  we have some silverlight/ruby stuff with us if anyone is interested in seeing it!

okay, on with official day one of the general conference...

chad fowler was the opening welcome speaker (on a complete sidenote to o'reilly conference people -- you can have only one keynote -- that's the point of a keynote...don't label every general session a keynote -- pet peeve of my completely ocd mind).  i previously had had an opportunity to hear chad at the mtn. west rubyconf earlier this year.  i have a great deal of respect for chad, his knowledge, but more importantly how he carries himself in the community.

chad came out carrying a ukulele, which was odd (even more odd he wouldn't let it go :-)).  chad's message was simple to the 1500+ in attendance: stop being arrogant a-holes.  he talked about the perception of the rails community in the greater technical world and pointed out that pretty much people see the rails community as "arrogant bastards" (he later used another term: "arrogant s$itheads" as well).  he talked about how now is the time for the rails community to define themselves as world changers, to change the attitude of the community and start making a difference (and thus help change perception).  bravo chad...glad to hear a leader in the ruby community step up and a) admit and b) help change perception.  as a part of that, the pragmatic studio has been accepting donations on behalf of the community to donate to other charities.  i found this odd to solicit at the conference (why wouldn't railsconf just be free then and ask people to donate...or why doesn't o'reilly donate the conference fees on behalf of the attendees), but it was a good thought.  if you to donate go here.  chad shared that at the first rubyconf there was 41 people.  the first railsconf there was about 61 people.  today: 1600.  wow, impressive.

chad then proceeded to play the ukulele (very well, i might add) while DHH was introduced.  i don't know who introduced DHH, but he told a story about textmate -- i wasn't aware DHH was a part of that project as well...pretty cool.

DHH then came out and related the story about textmate and how important that was as well.  he mentioned that his thought was that he liked the mac, but didn't like the editors, so he helped do something about it.  he parallels this with the story of rails: he liked ruby, but didn't like the implementation of any web framework, so he did something about it.

some stats: > 1MM downloads of rails framework; >10K users on rubyonrails-talk (google group)

he related a funny "success" mark when you start seeing job descriptions about rails -- and showed one that had a requirement of "3 years or more of Ruby on Rails experience" (note: that would pretty much make the only ones qualified the Rails core team).  he did ask the audience (a full house) how many people were getting paid to do rails work: about 60% raised their hand -- impressive (my stat may be off, but it was at least half).

DHH then talked about Rails 2 and how it is not going to be a unicorn (magical feature solving every problem) and that in fact it may be more humble.  a key principle to v2 is about REST.  he recommends using it because doing so as a guiding principle brings you a lot of benefits for free...and states that REST is now a convention in rails.

he talked about route.rb starting to look like a configuration file and he didn't like that...he wanted to follow the mantra of "i don't like decisions i don't care about" so the rails team has implemented some resource mapping/namespacing to abstract a lot of that configuration goop.

he showed some cool demos about v2, the resources, scaffolding apps with default functionality, REST api's automatically for your controllers, etc.  very impressive decisions made for v2 and in my opinion, the right decisions.

he mentioned that rails is not switzerland -- it has an opinion and that opinion is not SOAP -- it is REST, but you can still use soap (actionwebservice) -- rails v2 is simple debundling it

one of the other changes with v2 is about performance...

http performance -- all styles and javascript in gzip and reference them in one; javascript_include_tag cache=>true (wrap into a single js); goal is to get the browser to open less connections; introduced the trick to host assets (asset_host) on multiple domains

there was some other demos on query caching and him mentioning about he doesn't want to change the way he does things -- he prefers "free performance" in his frameworks, so the query cache brings that to the table.

this was a good keynote, setting the stage hopefully for some good information...

drats: neal ford's selenium talk was cancelled, but then picked up by someone else...i was looking forward to seeing neal talk about selenium on rails.