By Miguel Grazziotin
Last weekend (October 16th & 17th) the first RubyConf Colombia took place in the beautiful city of Medellin, the "City of Eternal Spring”. The first day focused on talks, the second on workshops. It was freaking awesome for a number of factors. Here are my humble impressions.
The venue was arguably the best place to run a technical conference in Medellin. It was on RutaN building, an easy-to-find beautiful place beside one of Medellin's universities. The conference is one of the many initiatives to improve the city's tech scene and the city itself. This was the first of many reasons to congratulate and thank the organisers.
As I have mentioned to some organisers and coworkers, I couldn't even be "mad" with the fact my talk submissions weren't accepted as the lineup was amazing. Even though it was a conference focused on Ruby we had talks about Rust, HTTP, system architecture, communication, supercomputing and community - to name a few. The conference gave priority to local speakers to promote the local community, another point to the organisers and counting.
Here's a quick summary of three of my favourites in no particular order. Links will be added as soon as the talks go online:
How to talk to humans: what stuttering can teach you about connecting with people. by Sharon Steed
Sharon couldn't have made it better. She described how her struggle with stutter caused her to research and develop other ways to communicate better and more meaningfully with people. She ended by reinforcing that empathy is the key skill to improve all of our communication. Being a tech person that strongly believes that it's all about people meant that her talk hit home really hard.
Nothing is Something. by Sandi Metz - slides
Sandi is also an amazing speaker and a fellow cyclist, with a gift of coming up with good names for talks. She presented a talk with many, many slides full of code in a way that it wasn't boring at all (and we know how lots of code can be boring) to convince the audience that we should think focusing more on messages and less on conditions and explaining composition, dependency injection, inheritance, specialisation and finally objected-oriented design. Really great talk.
Sarah started building some empathy with the crowd by speaking some Spanish and explaining that most of the time she's doing client work with what are often big, hard-to-change codebases and that she'd like to have a path to improve these clients' projects. With this starting point she went through some patterns, the cost of understanding and analysed each concept of SOLID in a really good way, all to come with her own acronym to build software in a way that results in it being easily changeable. For me Sarah's STABLE principle/approach to deal with existent big codebases and improve them without having to stop the world describes a good engineering mindset, check her slides, seriously.
RubyConf Colombia happened side-by-side with JSConf Colombia and it's clear to everyone that Colombia has a really big tech community. Everything from the conference opening to the after party the next day were great and the many attendees seem satisfied (just like me) with such a great event all focused on their local (not exactly like me) community.
The cherry on top of the cake were the words from some organisers (Sebastian and Buritica) about how it was organised and mainly about how this is only one of their initiatives to change the image their nation unfortunately still has. Nothing better than Buritica's article to understand why this is really the most noble reason to run a conference. Thanks RubyConf Colombia.