Austin Lone Star Ruby Conference: A Stranger in a Strange Land

Lone Star Ruby ConferenceThis week I have the privilege of representing Twilio at the Lone Star Ruby Conference in Austin on August 11-13, 2011. In addition to the opening night reception, there will be a hack space set up to let people see, use, and explore the APIs and even try out Twilio Client live.

As a PHPer who hasn’t touched Ruby (or Rails) in production since mid 2008, this will be a new and interesting experience for me. While I’ve been out of that community, their passion for MVC, Unit Testing, and related concepts have impacted the web development world in great ways. With respect to those points, there are four sessions that spark my interest above the rest:

Mattt ThompsonLance VaughnFirst, the opening day tutorial “From Zero to Rails 3″ from Mattt Thompson and Lance Vaughn seems like a good starting point to get up to date. There are some interesting new ideas and tools in the mix that simply didn’t exist a few years ago. Even better, Matt of Gowalla and Lance of CabForward look well-qualified for the task.

Avdi GrimmNext, after working with Avdi Grimm on the last DayCamp4Developers, I’m looking forward to his session on “Exceptional Ruby.” Too often I see exceptions used for flow control and general processing instead of for exceptional cases. I’m looking forward to seeing how another community describes and implements the “right” of exception handling.

Brandon KeepersNext, is Brandon Keepers‘ session called “The world runs on bad software.” We’ve all been there. We’ve all seen the cringe-worthy code, but I can’t sum up this one better than the man himself:

The world is full of poorly structured, overly verbose, untested code. But, a lot of people are doing amazing things and making insane amounts of money from bad software. As someone who might call himself a “software architect” or “craftsman,” this is a difficult reality for me to accept.

Chad FowlerFinally, we have the closing keynote from Chad Fowler, also known as the author of “The Passionate Programmer.” When you listen to Chad, it’s hard not to get energized, excited, and generally want to do things better. Of the times I’ve caught him, it’s been a mixed-technology audience, so I’m looking forward to seeing him with a “home field advantage.”

What sessions spark your interest? What are you looking forward to at Lone Star Ruby? If you have questions on Twilio, feel free to track me down!

You can find me via @CaseySoftware or as the guy handing out drink tickets at the opening reception.