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From Friday May 19 through Saturday May 20, Singapore hosted the 2nd RedDotRubyConf.  The venue was the University Cultural Centre at NUS and the benevolent host-ator was again the ubiquitous Andy Croll from Impulse Flyer.

A few quick stats:

– load: 230-240 people

– uptime: 2 days

– processing model: single-threaded

– ls -l: see program here

In order of appearance, here is my (not so) shortlist of highlights, based on a completely arbitrary and shifting set of subjective criteria:

Friday – Ruby, Rock and Roll (Sau Sheong Chang).  A fabulously whimsical exercise in pure hacking which culminated in turning a fellow speakers’ tweet into music.

Friday – Client-side Templating for Reactive UI (Tim Oxley).  To be honest, I didn’t take any notes from Tim’s presentation, but his informal presentation style is so engaging.  A colleague likened him to “Jim Webber with more hair”, although I think a better association would be “Ross Noble with coding chops”.

Saturday – Redis on Ruby (Obie Fernandez).  Good balance of breadth and depth on Redis, brave enough to go to the keyboard during a presentation which is always encouraging.

Saturday – Git Secrets (Zach Holman).  Personally, this one was probably the highest signal-to-noise ration presentation of the event, although I fell a slide behind mentally on a couple of occasions.  I was glad the majority of stuff was around GitHub (rather than Git) as that’s where my knowledge gaps are/were.  Probably one of the first set of slides I’ll revisit this week.

Saturday – Computer Scientist, Developer, Engineer? (Carl Coryell-Martin).  A break from code-heavy presentations, this was Carl’s plea to the assembled to be professional in your work and the quality of the code you write.  Highlight for many people was Carl’s personal graph on how many hours he had left to live and where he’s invested those hours to date.

Saturday – Complex Calculations in a Web Request (Sebastian Burkhard).  A case study of how Sebastian approaches performance optimisation for computationally heavy requests.  Again, a good balance of breath (multiple areas of the codebase) and depth (details for each area).

Saturday – Level Up & Switch to CoffeeScript (Gabe Hollombe).  As much for the conversations around CoffeeScript after the presentation as it was for the content of the presentation itself.  After all, aren’t the best conference sessions those that have the biggest “side effects” beyond the timeslot?  Would have been nice with more code and to recognise the applicability of CoffeeScript to server-side JS as well.

Note: Apologies to Michael Koziarski, Wei Lu and Ilya Girgorik because I missed the last sessions of each day in an attempt to beat the taxi rush and also the first Friday session because I was on the registration desk signing in you late comers.

As my preferences would suggest, I certainly found Saturday to be of higher value (to me) than Friday, but I also had a much better nights’ sleep on Friday as well.

The venue itself was very nice; a large and professional auditorium and the screen was super big, although the projector was perhaps a touch out of focus from what I hear.  The secret service staff on the  door to (a) prevent food and drinks from entering the auditorium and (b) ensure a synchronised set of opening doors if you arrived to the venue late was a little silly, but I suspect a non-negotiable part of the event.

Andy Croll has obviously put an enormous amount of effort into organising the event.  Beyond that, he was responsive during the conference and took care of the people who didn’t get enough lunch on Saturday and tried to address the transport problems people encountered getting away from NUS during peak hour on Friday.

Overall, RedDotRubyConf should consider itself a huge success and I look forward to returning next year.

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