Dr Nic

Smart people doing smart things in Netherlands – RubyEnRails 2007

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Photo by Thijs van der Vossen,

For one million people in Amsterdam, time stood still as a parade of Rails gurus in Netherlands/ Belgium talked up a storm at RubyEnRails 2007. Only 240 were allow inside to the free, one day conference, so riots ensued at the doorsteps of the building. Police were called in. Helicopters. Tanks.

Or so I’m told. I was too busy inside meeting many very clever developers and sharp business people. The buzz of excitement for Rails in the foyer during the breaks was tremendous. The conference organisers recorded the audio of all presentations which will be great to listen to.

I was flown in my private jet, helicoptered to the conference building and shepherded in by 24 Dutch Special Forces men, all of equal height and build, identical in every fashion. Before my keynote, I was interviewed by all the major TV networks. I have no idea what drives me to make this all up.

But I was given a free RubyEnRails conference t-shirt. I was also able to give a couple of presentations:


It was a wonderful opportunity to start the day, and I shared “What’s cool with Rails?” focusing on some hot potatoes like scaling and deployment, as well as RESTfulness. Slides here.

Ultimately the basic theme of the keynote was “Its all just text”, and choosing between Rails, Merb, Camping, Mongrel handlers, becomes a design/architectural decision to be made for each portion of each application you build.

I included a live demo of the Magic Model Generator, and encouraged people to write RubyGems instead of Rails plugins, as they provide better support for: dependencies, versioning, and reuse outside of Rails.

DIY syntax

The ability to extend my programming language tickles me pink. Often you write a block of code and you just think “That should be prettier and simpler”.

With Ruby meta-programming, blocks, method_missing, const_missing and optional parentheses you can craft nearly any syntactic sugar you like to replace lengthy, complicated code.

Slides here.

Dr Nic Academy

I also took the opportunity to introduce Dr Nic Academy – training courses in Ruby on Rails by me. The first course will be 7th and 8th of July in Amsterdam. If you are thinking of attending, hold off buying tickets!! The new website and a special bonus discount price will be coming soon. I’d hate you to miss out.

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14 Responses to “Smart people doing smart things in Netherlands – RubyEnRails 2007”

  1. Jay Fields says:

    “and encouraged people to write RubyGems instead of Rails plugins”

    I couldn’t agree more. (http://blog.jayfields.com/2006/12/rails-plugins-why.html)

    Cheers, Jay

  2. AkitaOnRails says:

    Way to go Dr. Nic! I like those keynote slides, would love to hear you talking over them. I think your effort over Gems will pay off in the future. Plugins ‘feels’ too much of a ‘hack’ and Gems have the versioning and control that mature apps should have.

  3. evan says:

    Academy! He’s becoming a cult leader. First Rails… then nubile young women, suitcases full of small bills, cyanide.

  4. Dr Nic says:

    @evan – I see no need for the cyanide if I had the others … ;)

    @everyone – http://dev.rubyonrails.org/ticket/8511 – Marcel has created a patch for Rails core for freezing gems into your /vendor/gems folder. DHH is currently on the “unconvinced” side of the “gems within rails src” fence; so testing this out and vouching for its usefulness (via comments and cc’ing yourself on the ticket) is encouraged if you are interested in this feature in rails.

  5. Hi Nic, I appreciate that you like my picture so much that you decided to use it, but can you please put something like ‘Photo by Thijs van der Vossen, Fingertips’ below it?

    Would be great if you could make the ‘Fingertips’ a link to http://www.fngtps.com

  6. Dr Nic says:

    @thijs – doh! Very sorry, completely forgot an explicit caption (photo links through). Fixed.

    Eloy Duran‘s also stealing your photos without acknowledgement. Sort him out too! ;)

  7. Thanks, I sorted Eloy out too. ;)

  8. alloy says:

    Nicked by Nic

    Hahahaha, nice one!

  9. Actually, it seems a spitfire has been stunting right above our heads for some time. They say it was to promote a sports tournament, but we know better: it was all in praise of Dr.Nic and His Magic Models!


  10. Jeremy says:

    Oh cool. We just hacked Merb to use gems for plugins. It seems like a much smarter approach.

  11. Randy says:

    Looks like someone has setup a runtime harness to support using RubyGems instead of Rails plugins. Nice work


  12. Craig Buchek says:

    Nice. I wish I would have gotten to see you at RailsConf.

    How did you generate those slides? I especially love the post-it notes (although they can’t be moved on the SlideShare version).

  13. Dr Nic says:

    @craig – SlideShare allows you to upload a PDF of your presentation and then give you the embeddable widgety thing for your blog.

    The post-it notes are Keynote things. I forgot to remove them and they were dutifully included by Keynote’s Export to PDF feature :)

  14. [...] Dr. Nic on RubyGems replacing plugins [...]