I arrived at the end of the Merb talk, which is a shame, because now that I’m doing Rails for a living anything related is of interest to me. In the question period it was kind of funny hearing Rails referred to as hobbled by backward-compatibility – after all, it’s only, what, two years old? No longer the new kid 😉
Jay Phillips (I think) did a talk on doing telephony with Ruby using Asterisk and Adhearsion, his telephony API. It was cool hearing about a domain that is pretty far removed from anything I’ve done and from the stuff that is usually associated from Ruby. It sounds like there is tremendous potential for simplification in the field.
Bruce Tate, former Java author and now Ruby booster, talked about the big picture. He took a look at the circumstances that surrounded Java’s rise to dominance, and the similar-but-different circumstances making Ruby popular. He sketched out some possible paths Ruby could take in the industry, and posed the question “where do you want to go?” to the developers in the room. One interesting point he made was that Java’s initial killer app was applets, but now it’s strong point is back-end enterprise applications. Applets have almost completely gone out of favor. So a language’s initial killer app is not always what what sustains it. Likewise, Rails is big now but it might not always be what Ruby is best known for.
I had to leave this session before the end. The headache I’d had all afternoon progressed into a full-fledged migraine, and I asked Stacey to come from the hotel and pick me up early. There was a catered social event tonight, but I spent the evening lying in bed with a damp washcloth over my eyes, waiting out waves of nausea and sleeping. I’m feeling a lot better now, but now I feel kind of faint and drawn. Stacey is going to be back any minute now with dinner.