Windy City Rails 2010

It’s absolutely fantastic when a conference has Wi-Fi, power, and tables, and WindyCityRails had all three! Generously hosted by ChicagoRuby at the Westin, right on the Chicago River, WindyCityRails was a one-day conference that was packed full of awesome.

Unfortunately, I was only able to make it for the morning sessions, but Jake Scruggs (@jakescruggs) started us off with a bang, walking us through all the different aspects of metric_fu. Jake did a great job of explaining how to use metrics as a tool for where to focus your efforts in refactoring code, but explained that it’s not designed to be put in the hands of management – and probably not something you want to break the build-chain for.

John McCaffrey (@j_mccaffrey) kept the momentum going with some great tips for improving Rails performance. Some of the biggest tips: use indexes in your database, cache things when it’s practical, use sprites, and most importantly gzip your resources!

Finally, I gave my talk – first illustrating how easy it is to create your own Gems and release them to the public, and then talking about how dangerous it is that we can release those Gems so quickly. The slides can be found below:

I had to race back to Eau Claire after that, but it was an impressive conference. In addition to the standard talks, there was also a tutorial track, featuring Jeff Cohen and Noel Rappin discussing how to get started with Rails, and how to test a legacy environment, respectively.

Finally, there was a coding dojo hosted by the guys over at Obtiva (@ObtivaCorp) where attendees could drop in and practice pair programming, TDD, and learn about cool tech like Redis!

A big thanks to the ChicagoRuby group for hosting such a spectacular conference!