Posts Tagged ‘LSRC’

Pune Rails Meetup #2

December 20, 2009 21 comments

It was great to be a part of the Pune Rails Meetup which was held yesterday (19th December, 2009) at ThoughtWorks, Pune. It was an idea initiated by Anthony Hsiao of Sapna Solutions which has got the Pune Rails community up on their feet. Helping him organize was a pleasure!

It was great to see almost 35 people for this meet — it was a probably more than what we expected. It was also heartening to see a good mix in the crowd – professionals in rails, students working in rails and students interested in rails – not to forget entrepreneurs who were very helpful.

Proceedings began with Vincent and Anup from ThinkDRY gave an excellent presentation on BlankApplication – a CMS++ that they are developing. I say CMS++ because its not just another CMS but has quite a lot of ready-to-use features that gets developers jump-started. There were interesting discussions regarding how ‘workspaces’ are managed and how its indeed easier to manage websites.

After this technical talk, I spoke next on my experience at the Lone Star Ruby Conference in Texas. I tried to keep the session interactive with the intention of telling everyone how important it is to know and use Ruby effectively while working in Rails. Dave Thomas’s references to the ‘glorious imperfection’ of Ruby did create quite a buzz. To quote a little from Dave’s talk:

name {}

This is a method which takes a block as a parameter but the following line is a method which takes a has as a parameter! A simple curly parenthesis makes all the difference!

name ( {} )

Similarly, the following line is a method m() whose result is divided by ‘n’ whose result is divided by ‘o’


but add a space between this and its a method m() which takes a regular expression as a parameter!

m /n/o

It was nice to see everyone get involved in these interactive sessions. More details about my experience at LSRC is here.

After this there was another technical talk about a multi-app architecture  that has been developed by Sapna Solutions. Anthony and Hari gave a talk on this and it was very interesting to see it work. Using opensource applications like shopify, CMS and other social networking apps to work with a shared-plugin and a single database, its possible to create a mammoth application which is easily customizable and scalable.

Hari did mention a few problems like complexity in migrations and custom routes which they currently ‘work-around’ but prefer a cleaner approach. Some good suggestions were provided by Scot from ThoughtWorks regarding databases. I suggested some meta-programing to align models. Working with git submodules and ensuring rake scripts to sync up data, this indeed seems to have a lot of potential.

There were some new entrepreneurs from VectorBrook who have already developed a live application in Merb which they discussed and explained details of. It was good to hear about how they managed performance and scalability testing. The Q&A forum which was the next event was extremely interactive. Some of the discussions were:

Which are really great CMS in Rails?

There were some intense discussions regarding RadiantCMS, Adva and even BlankApp. The general consensus was a ‘programmable CMS’ Vs WYSIWYG. Those who prefer more of the content management prefer CMS’s like Drupal, Joomla. Those who prefer more customization via programing and code, prefer Radiant. This topic could not close and is still open for discussion.. Do comment in your views – I am a radiant fan 😉

What about testing? Cucumber, Rspec, others?

Usually its still adhoc – testing is expensive for smaller firms — so adhoc blackbox testing is what is done. I opined that cucumber and rspec ROCK! Cucumber is great for scenario testing and testing controller logic and views. Rspec is great for Direct Model Access and Cucumber can make great use of Webrat for browser testing.

In Rpsec, when do we use mocks and stubs?

It was suggested that mocks and stubs should be used when there are no ready model and code. If the code is ready, its probably just enough not to use mocks and stubs directly. Comments welcome on this!

How do you do stress testing?

Stress testing, concurrency testing and performance testing can be done using http-perf. It was interesting to note that ____ have actually done their own implementation for stress and concurrency testing. I recommended they open source it.

How are events, scheduled job and delayed jobs handled?

This was my domain 🙂 Using delayed_job is the way to go. Following the leaders (github) and using Redis and resque would be great too but definitely not backgrounDrb or direct cron!

What project management tools do you use? Pivotal Tracker, Trac, Mingle?

Pivotal tracker suits startup needs. Mingle rocks but becomes expensive. Scott ? 😉 Dhaval from TW mentioned how easy it was to co-ordinate an ‘mingle’ with their 200 strong team over distributed geographies.

Which SCM do you use? git, svn, cvs?

People have been very comfortable with git and more and more are migrating from svn to git.  It was heartening to see that nobody uses CVS 🙂 Jaju (I have have misspelt) gave an excellent brief about how code and diffs can be squished and ‘diff’ed with another repository before the final merge and push to the master. Dhaval gave an idea about how they effectively used git for managing their 1GB source code (wow!)

Some pending questions – probably in next meet-up

  1. Which hosting service do you use and why?
  2. TDD or BDD?

Suggestions are welcome!


My experience at Lone Star Ruby Conference

September 1, 2009 7 comments

I finally made it to LSRC  !! After some initial registration hiccups I was finally on the way (All thanks to Jim  Freeze and Satish Talim).

Talks ranged from casual ruby talks to code examples, coding on stage to herding tigers, Avionics to Japan !! It was great to see totally different styles of presentations – some very carefully prepared and perfected like that of Joseph Wilk to those with about 420 slides by Correy Donahoe. The pace of talks and the varied ideas ensured that there was always some excitement in the air. The atmosphere was casual, refreshments were frequent and tasty, people were very approachable and almost anybody got talking to anybody – exactly like how a ruby community should meet. Being the first conference I attended, not only did I gain in knowledge but also got to meet different people from different walks of life, from different states and countries.

Meeting Matz was a pleasure – he is a modest individual who finds it embarrassing to be called a ruby rock-star :). He is a very cool guy and calls himself a simple programmer. It was particularly interesting to see how much he was interested in helping spread ruby awareness in India and was keen to even come down to India to meet the community here. James Edward Grey II is a maverick who gave us a taste of Japan (Tokyokiagi) along with a technical dose of module mixins. Dave Thomas spoke of the messiness in Ruby and various nuances of the imperfect language which makes the language human!  Glenn Vanderburg showed the harmony between programming and music, which I could relate to (even though knowledge of music is rock bottom). He was able to give a rational reasoning about why programmers lose track of time (a must read for my wife, who keep complaining about my time management skills) and how programming is an art – something that we can smell, taste and feel. Evan Light was great at showing how TDD works and with his flair is probably the only one who can run through a live demo with ideas from the audience at run time! Joseph Wilk had probably the perfect presentation – but it was the way he prepared it. As a core team member of Cucumber, apart from being called the Cucumber Man, his British-styled humor, meticulous planning for this presentation and his delivery made it one of the best technical sessions I have ever attended. Chat Pytel of Thought Works gave a talk of ‘succeeding in rails’ and this was the one I could connect to the most. At Josh Software, it felt we are at exactly the same stage they were 3 years ago – I had a frank talk with him after the presentation and that was when the humility and the passion for ruby was evident. He is very emphatic in his endeavor to ‘give back to the ruby community’ and its one of the things I intend to incorporate in my company. Jeremy Hinegardner was very enterprising and forthcoming in tools that help between language integration. I had one of those intellectual discussions with him about data analysis and the energy in him about looking into something challenging was soon evident. Larry Diehl of Engine Yard gave a technical session on Dataflow,which left me thinking whether I was living in the past – imagine poping elements from a queue which does exist yet ! Danny Blitz was unbelievable – he came as a war tiger, explained what it was to have a military style software core commando team and what it takes to succeed in the software industry as a leader – its his book that I do plan on purchasing soon! Bruce Tate and Wynn Netherland gave talks on SEO in rails and Compass – the simple ‘take for granted’ things which can make or break your rails application. I am not much in css and html (its high time I did something about it) but with haml and sass, it seems the progression to them may indeed be painless! Did Correy Donohoe gave a presentation?, I wonder! It was 421 slides in 45 minutes, which amounts to about 10 slides per minute! It was one of the most entertaining presentations – a mix of right practices – XP, pair programming, testing and what he does at Engine Yard. Rich Kilmer delivered the keynote and took us through a tour of the defence industry and Ruby. Encoding domains was something I had never heard earlier which I will never forget now ! Among the lightenting talks Eleanor McHugh spoke on how to manage a segmentation violation in ruby and Jared Ning touched everyones heart with his experience in Tanzania building a rails app for the community (wow!). Yahuda Katz gave a great talk on bundling gems which is going to be extremely useful.

Meeting other people like Dallas PoolCoby Randquist, Gerald Bailey, Dan Mayer, Tim Harper was awesome – they are experts in their own field and gave me plenty to think about! My apologies to some people I met but did not mention.

2 days of intense technical discussions, learning and fun IS what I had hoped for and its exactly what I got. I got a warm welcome from people who were surprised pleasantly that I had flown in only for this conference — well, to be honest, it was totally worth it and I would do this again every year !!

Cheers to Austin!