Recapping the first day of RubyConf 2019

by Jared Norman
published November 18, 2019

Alistair and I are in Nashville this week for RubyConf 2019. Amy is in town too, exploring the town while we’re busy during the day.

Today was filled with awesome talks and I wish I could attend all four tracks at once. There were talks on implementing Ruby on the Apple II, using Ruby to brew sake, and how the new pattern matching feature works. Two morning talks stood out to me.

Noah Gibbs gave a talk on how to practice programming. Fundamentally, he was advocating for adapting the practice methods of artists for programmers. He described how to pick a tool, a task, and a purpose to create an environment where you can practice in a way that’s aligned with helping us improve. He broke down why some popular practice techniques aren’t as effective and gave really practical advice on making the most of programming practice. I’m excited to try it out.

The other talk I really enjoyed was Kevin Kuchta’s talk on source-diving. I won’t describe much of the content, but I feel that navigating and reading other people’s code is one of the most important skills you can develop that will help you become a better developer (in many ways) and I was really happy to see Kevin here sharing those skills. There was also at least one other talk that was broadly on the same topic today and I can’t wait to watch it once the videos are posted.

The keynotes were excellent as well. Matz opened the conference by talking about the state of the community, the state of Ruby, and the roadmap for the project. There was a lot in his talk, but one of the big takeaways was that the Ruby core team is committed to delivering Ruby 3.0 by the end of 2020. They expect to ship some JIT improvements and various other features, but are willing to drop some features in order to meet the deadline.

Jessica Kerr was the day’s closing keynote. She continues to share really great ideas with our community, choosing this time to share her ideas about sharing ideas and how we as programmers are neither artists nor craftspeople. I don’t think I’m prepared to really summarize her talk, but I encourage you to give it watch once the videos are posted.

Overall it was a great first day to the conference and I’m looking forward to the next two.