A few weeks back, my colleagues and I went on a trip to Bath to be a part of the Bath Ruby conference, which is the largest Ruby Developer conference in the UK. As back-end developers, we use Ruby code almost every day, so I was really excited to connect with the Ruby community and listen to talks from renowned Ruby coders.
Being in the coding world for only a year and a half, I have found the Ruby community to be extremely friendly and welcoming. The language itself is simple to understand for beginners, which has made me feel comfortable and encouraged. The creator of Ruby, Yukihiro, has played a significant role in shaping this community and making the language approachable.
I was thrilled to find out that Matz, the creator of Ruby, was visiting the UK for the first time in five years to introduce the conference. His presence added a special meaning to the event, as he has been instrumental in making Ruby accessible and promoting an open community around it. There’s a saying in the Ruby community that reflects this ethos, with the hashtag #MINSWAN representing it: “Matz is nice, so we are nice.” During his talk, Matz jokingly referred to his love for baths and remarked that “Bath is nice, so we are nice!” from which the hashtag #BINSWAN emerged.
Matz’s talk was significant not only because of his visit, but also because it marked the 25th anniversary of Ruby. He shared his motivation behind creating the language when he was just 17 years old. His goal was to develop an easy-to-use object-oriented language, never expecting it to become widely popular. Now, at the age of 52, Matz continues to work on improving Ruby and making programming a fun experience. He even discussed his plans for Ruby 3.0, promising that it will be three times faster than Ruby 2.0.
Matz also acknowledged some concerns people have about the language. Despite Ruby’s popularity a decade ago, when the Rails framework was released, it doesn’t currently rank in the top ten of the Stack Overflow Survey Results for most loved technologies. However, Matz remains positive about the future of Ruby. He emphasized that Ruby is stable, widely used, and that he and others will keep working on its development. The enthusiasm of the speakers who followed Matz’s talk demonstrated that Ruby is still a vibrant and thriving language.
Among the notable talks at the conference, one that stood out was delivered by Nadia. Her creative and entertaining presentation centered around the Ruby Object Model and was presented as a detective story called “The Case of the Missing Method.” She cleverly portrayed herself as an investigator trying to uncover a method that a developer couldn’t find in his code.
Miller’s talk titled “Is Ruby Died?” was fascinating as she drew parallels between the evolution of normal languages over centuries and the evolution of programming languages.
Another mind-boggling talk was given by Yusuke, who discussed his ‘quines’ – programs that produce an identical copy of their own source code as their sole output. To conclude his presentation, he showcased a special quine he had created specifically for the Bath Ruby conference.
One of the most impressive moments was when Matt, our lead back-end developer at PDS, was unexpectedly asked to give a five-minute talk just ten minutes before he was scheduled to go on stage. With great enthusiasm, he quickly crafted his talk backstage and presented GROM, a Ruby gem developed by PDS that converts n-triple graph data into Ruby objects. He did an incredible job considering the short notice.
Although I didn’t get a chance to participate in Ruby Karaoke, which was organized by the conference hosts and featured the song ‘Ruby’ by the Kaiser Chiefs on repeat, I still had a fantastic time at the Bath Ruby conference. The warm and welcoming nature of the Ruby community was the most valuable takeaway for me.