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Southeast Ruby Conference Recap

Alex Piechowski

On the behalf of the entire Rietta team, I would like to give a huge shout out to Jason Charnes (@jmcharnes) for hosting the South East Ruby Conf in Nashville, TN this week. I was pleased to meet many members of the Ruby On Rails Link Slack Group.

Each and every talk was fantastic, I’d like to go into depth with a few highlights for anybody that was unable to participate in this conference.

Thursday, October 5th 2017

The conference had a very strong start with Ernie Miller with a talk that included communication soft skills and valuing yourself, both in what you do and the actual value you add to your companies. This entire talk really hit the sweet spot for me, setting a positive atmosphere for the rest of the conference.

One talk the Rietta team really enjoyed is the talk given by Harisankar P S who flew out from India. His talk went into depth on some common mistakes regarding databases and ended on a strong note of utilizing PostgreSQL’s JSON encoding functionality to allow the database to do the business logic. This is something I strongly believe in and is something that isn’t commonly done in RoR applications.

Other talks that day included Adam Cuppy with Pluck it! (gem creation for cross-project deduplication), Ernesto Tagwerker with tips on contributing to open source even with a full schedule, Daniel Pritchett with chatbots in Ruby, Caleb Matthiesen who helped developers understand that doing things fast and messy, slower and perfect, and anywhere in between has merit depending on your company’s needs, and Kinsey Ann Durham who inspired volunteer development to make the world a better place.

Friday, October 6th 2017

Restarting the conference hype, we had Ben Orenstein with an interesting talk for a Ruby conference. Ben talked about Elm and some built in features which self-cover edge cases within Elm projects.

Next on deck was Adam Niedzielski who showed us that, even though interesting code can be faster and easier to write, the interesting solutions to problems can be problematic when debugging and reading code, resulting in more time invested in a single solution over the life of the project.

Tim Riley had a very interesting surprise talk about his organizations wrapped around having DRY “functional ruby” code, Damir Svrtan discussed JSON Web Tokens, Brad Urani discussed some tips he discovered with time working with a large Rails app, and Josh Lewis discussed pushing controller/model conditional paths into a middleman object.

The dynamic duo of Mary Thengvall and Ember Dog gave a talk that struck home for me. She talked about burnouts in tech and how to prevent burnouts for yourself. This is something I’ve always struggled with and she gave me many tips that I can use to help both myself and the rest of the Rietta team.

The conference finished off with a surprising anti-development talk. Avdi Grimm discusses that sometimes the best code is nocode. He discussed that sometimes as developers, we over-engineer our solutions. One great example he stated is that he spent 3-4 years on a re-write on Ruby Tapas, and after all he ended up trashing his solution and implementing WordPress instead. The thing that struck home for me is the single slide that said “Get Over Yourself”. He really opened my eyes and made me more open to try working solutions even if they may be imperfect. Overall, the point of this talk was that our jobs aren’t actually to develop, but more so to ship working solutions to our clients.


The South East Ruby conference was a blast. Given the opportunity next year, I will be happy to participate in another Southeast Ruby Conf!