This past weekend I attended my first Ruby conference here in Pittsburgh with my friend and colleague Jeremiah Lancaster. We participated in two great days of presentations pertaining to numerous subjects including Gems, Redis, Internationalization, Diversity and a number of Lightning talks.  There were approximately 450 attendees and it was hosted at the Smithsonian History Museum on Smallman street. For me, the highlight was the associated Code Retreat held the following day by Corey Haines. Corey’s well known in the Ruby community, has a unique approach to teaching, and after spending the day in the retreat I can appreciate what all the fuss is about!

[Technical] He walked us through a handful of pair programming Katas interspersed with a discussion of proper coding practice.  I immediately came to appreciate the power of the format and will be looking out for the next date. Corey’s Code Retreat’s a must-do for most any serious-minded Rubyist.  One of the first exercises highlighted my reliance on primitives when instead I might have more effectively employed a Class.  Another exercise called for us to suppress return value’s except in certain strict circumstances (my most challenging Kata).     The exercises dealt with behavioral and TDD testing and offered a great chance to see differences between RSPEC and the more familiar, at lease for me, Test Unit.   Lastly, it was a great place to experiment and to see how others might approach similar problems but in a different language.  Java seems to have a more verbose code base, for instance, and I found myself appreciative of the conciseness of beloved Ruby.

In addition to all of this great coding practice, I had a chance to walk around the space of the Code Retreat hosts, 4 Moms.  A baby stroller and ancillary product company, their lead product is basically the Ducati equivalent for baby strollers, replete with self charging wheel unit, automatic stand and fold-up mechanism and LCD lights. I’m a huge fan. Check it out here »

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