Railsberry 2013 – a Curious Mission Report

The most curious Rails developers invaded Krakow last week, so we led an invasion party of our own :)

Words of Jul:

Railsberry was my first conference for developers and it set the bar really, really high. It was incredibly well organized, the sun was shining, people were happy, speakers were amazing, there were swings and a DJ, yummy food, sunbeds and good parties. And gadgets, gotta love the gadgets ;)

Here are 3 of the many thoughts that stuck with me after the event:

Sometimes it’s better to use direct queries and take full advantage of the features of your database instead of always doing things the Rails way – from Agnieszka Figiel’s presentation about Słonik.

Overdoing usability can be dangerous. When a login form tells the user that their password was incorrect, the bad guys know that the login exists and can brute-force it away. It’s obvious to me now, but it’s easy to miss when you’re designing a user friendly interface… or when you’re a forgetful and irritable user ;) – from Paolo Perego’s presentation on security.

We associate creativity with being human (or maybe the other way around), but if we accept the fact that the processes involved are often unconscious, we might want to consider attributing creativity to machines. True, machines can only generate things from what we put into them, but isn’t this true about us as well? Especially if you’re an empiricist that isn’t afraid of determinism ;) So maybe being unpredictable, beautiful and cool is enough to call something creative – from Joseph Wilk’s talk about creative machines.

As you can see, the talks were very diverse and I loved it. After all, we’re an agile, poly-skilled, curious bunch. I will definitely be at the next Railsberry.

Fred George on stage #railsberry

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Hania & Ania L.’s report:

A pink unicorn, lots of baloons and two interesting presentations were the highlights of the first day:

“Experiment”Chad Fowler presented very curious thoughts, approach to life and to coding :)  It encouraged you to treat everything as an experiment, without the fear of failure. A big refactor or keeping fit is way easier with this in mind :)

“Agile is the New Black” – a nice presentation about methodology by Fred George, though a bit too radical. Isn’t Agile meant to be resistant to changing circumstances?

Besides that it was great to learn why you should use PostgreSQL and that it’s sometimes better to let the database do its work rather than limit yourself with ActiveRecord. Yes, we admit it – we had our share of fun gossiping with @agnessa480 :)

Hania:

I was especially enthralled by Joseph Wilk’s talk, especially because of the fact that I still think about connecting what I do with the world of music (Creative Machines).

Joseph Wilk

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Ania:

Gregg Pollack gave a very motivating presentation. I had already heard about the e-learning sites he enumerated, yet it took this presentation to convince me to use them.

All in all, the presentations were of high quality and the place abounded in attractions and ways to have fun. The conference itself was neatly organised and we think the Stara Zajezdnia (the venue) had an awesome feel; extra decorations, such as swings and deckchairs made us feel like being on holidays. The conference ended with an awesome flying drone show – the harmless drones, mind you :)

#railsberry crowd getting ready for the start!

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Ania Migas says:

Railsberry was like a kindergarten for programmers and all kind of people connected with IT – there were augmented reality workshops, swings, flying robots, muffins and all kinds of fun stuff you could imagine.

I really liked the talk by Gregg Pollack – I learned a lot more about e-learning than I had already knew. The Joseph Wilk’s talk about Creative Machines just blew my mind – he presented something that could be called artificial thinking – the computers were creating their own melodies. Of course, as a part of a super-agile company I couldn’t miss the opportunity to check how agile actually we are during Fred George’s talk – we did pretty well! :)

Artur’s thoughts:

The first day of the conference went on really well. The first talk by Chad Fowler was a experiment on its own, for it was created in tpp. The second talk was probably the best presentation that day – Fred Gorge elaborated on “Agile is the New Black” idea: what struck me the most is the idea that bug tracking systems are bad, because they they make bug fixing in apps longer. It’s so easy to put something aside knowing that it’s saved somewhere. But is leaving bugs for later such a good decision?

The second day met us with sun and another dose of experiments. Marcin Bunsch & Antek Piechnik riveted audience’s attention with their “Shipping Post-PC” breakfast conversation. They staged an interesting show, with getbase.com  used as a example of a model Post-PC app. The second presentation that captivated us was “Programming Flying Robots With JavaScript” by Felix Geisendoerfer. The flying robot received a storm of applause :)

Lucek speaks!

Boredom was prohibited; there was not a single too long or wearisome presentation in the agenda. Fred George proved that Lunar Logic is the most agile of the agile companies and Agnieszka Figiel shown us magic tricks while searching for records in the PostgreSQL base. Katrina Owen and Pablo Perego put forth ways of maximising the benefits deriving from application tests and Greg Pollack touched on the subject of the lately popular e-learning platforms (Vim Adventures FTW :D).

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