I spent two years in Japan. While there I met all kinds of interesting people. I remember one individual in particular because he was a chess grand master. He was also very good at Shogi. In fact he had written Shogi the video game for Nintendo.
I like chess and so we played a game. I thought I was a pretty good player. I used to be able to beat most casual players I met. He slaughtered me in about 10 moves. I kind of expected that. It was the most elegant butt kicking I have ever received. Grand masters think different than the rest of us. I don’t remember how he beat me, but I do remember that it was smooth, quick and brutal.
This weekend I spent time with the Ruby Grand Masters. In my opinion there isn’t a better Ruby conference than the Mountain West Ruby conference. The hackers show up. These guys are all about being the very best – not for money but for love of the language. Here’s a list of the guys I could gather up. I am sure there were many others who didn’t present who should also make this list:
- Evan Phoenix Strengthening the Ruby Ecosystem
- Ezra Zygmuntowicz Merb Presentation Merb Slides
- Giles Bowkett
- Patrick Farley
- Jim Weirich
- Philippe Hanrigou
- Yehuda Katz DataMapper
- Jeremy McAnally
- Joe O’Brien
- Tammer Saleh
Shoulda Testing Framework.
- Jonathan Younger
The presentations were about learning to think differently about Ruby and how to really take advantage of the elegance of the language. Ruby is swift and agile. You can do amazing things with just a few lines of code. The hard part is figuring out the few lines of code. Once your mindset meshes with this new paradigm of development you become far more effective than you ever thought possible in other languages.
I sat in the hackfest room sponsored by EngineYard and enjoyed listening to the experiences of a lot of great programmers. I also realized that going forward the guys from EngineYard who sponsor Rubinious and Merb are a truly key part of both the Ruby and Rails community. Those guys GET it, have brilliant people working for them and are really nice.