A few weeks ago, Nic, Denis and Rob travelled down to Brighton to attend Brighton Ruby Conference – held at Brighton Dome, it’s a chance for fans of Ruby to learn, discuss and play with like-minded people. The guys have given their thoughts on the talks and the event as a whole, so, sit down have a read:
My first ever Brighton Ruby turned out to be an amazing experience that impacted the way I think about development in ruby. All the talks were brilliant and there was a lot to take away from each. Of all the talks, these were the ones that challenged the way I think about and approached ruby development.
- “Security is Broken” by Eileen Uchitelle was the first talk of the day. This talk was about flaws when it comes to security in ruby and how we go about protecting ourselves against these attacks, such as CSRF attacks, XSS and XXE. Eileen then talked about what these attacks are, the damages they can do and how can we go about defending ourselves. For me, this talk was an eye opener because although I’ve done what is necessary to protect the apps I’ve work on against these threats, I haven’t properly considered the extend of the damage they can do.
- “What is Processor?” by Sam Phippen was a very technical talk that dived deep in to how computer CPUs store and process instructions. This was a refreshing talk because it isn’t often I think about lower level computation. This also showed me that my background in computing is even more relevant in my current job than I thought.
- “5 WTFs in 6 LOC” by Dorothy Wingrove was a 5 minutes lightening talk on flip-flop operator, which is basically a condition that is
falsewhen it is evaluated and
truewhile both parts of the condition evaluate to
true. This was a feature I didn’t know was in ruby and even though I won’t be using it is production level code (because of easy readability for other devs), it was interesting to think about logically.
- “Rails 5 features you haven’t heard about” by Sean Griffin: Sean’s talk was a tour through some of the new features in Rails 5, including the new Attributes API, the introduction of
orfor ActiveRecord relations, versioned migrations and protection against running destructive database operations in production. Although I had been aware of some of these features, it was interesting to hear the rationale behind some of them (particularly the Attributes API) and also what the Rails core team decided not to do in this release.
- “Hubs & Spokes & Stockmarkets” by Patrick McKenzie: Patrick talked about setting up his new(-ish) app, Starfighter, and how architecture challenges led to him using the Go-powered message bus NSQ, with the benefits – and drawbacks – that this brought. It was great to hear about his thought process, and the back-of-the-envelope calculations and team considerations that lead him down this path.
- “Do it yourself testing” by Emily Stolfo: Emily talked about setting up a testing ‘framework’ for MongoDB drivers, using YAML to encode a set of tests for their recently-written driver specification, and her work on writing the Ruby version of this framework. Whilst the talk was fairly MongoDB-centric, it was nice to hear about a different strategy for turning specifications into tests – albeit one that’s probably more suited to multi-platform libraries than apps.
It’s been a couple of weeks since Brighton Ruby happened. Now that the buzz of a fantasticly organised conference – allowing me to meet uber cool people – has tailed off, I can reflect, in unbiased way, on which talks I liked the most.
When it comes to development, I’m certainly more interested in the people (users, customers or solving our clients problems) more than the processor (how the instructions I write on the screen are understood and translated by the computer).
Because of that, my 3 favorites talks of the day were:
- “Security is broken” by Eileen Uchitelle: This talk explained, in simple words, how security holes can be exploited, and what we, as Rails developers, can do to leverage the framework and secure our apps.
- “The Function of Bias” by Sara Simon: In this talk, Sara explained how she became a developer in the Journalism environment.
- “How We Make Software” by Sarah Mei: This one was my favorite talk of the day and probably one of my favorite talk in a long time. For 40 minutes, Sarah deconstructed and analysed all the myths around managing a team of developers, and came up with her own views on how we, as team managers, should think about about the people working with us.
Obviously, these are only my 3 favorite talks and there were many more during the day that I enjoyed. All in all, Brighton Ruby was once again a real success! I hope there will be another one next year.
Main image by Brighton Ruby