TechSession: Ruby and Ruby on Rails

I delivered an introductory TechSession for GLiNTECH on Ruby and Ruby on Rails a couple of weeks ago. I tried some different presentation techniques to the usual (inspired by Presentation Zen) and with some subject matter that lent itself to the task, came up with something that in my opinion did a pretty good job of holding the audience’s attention. I also got to use the remote control (via SofaControl) of my newish MacBook Pro, which made me feel like a massive nerd. Unfortunately the style of presentation means that the slides are pretty much useless by themselves, and the session was not recorded. By way of summary, a very brief summary of my main points:


  • Simple, elegant and OO
  • Principle of least surprise
  • Portable
  • More powerful than "scripting language" implies
  • Language features: Mixins, Blocks, Closures, Continuations, Aliasing
  • Issues: performance & vendor support
  • Advantages: "less" - lines of code, configuration, bugs, frameworks
  • Can give you new perspectives on your main commercially employed language

Ruby on Rails

  • MVC based web framework
  • Convention over configuration
  • Quick to get started, but completely extensible and controllable
  • Features: Migrations, ActiveRecord, Scaffolding
  • Has great marketing -- and marketing matters (see Sun/Java, Microsoft/C#)
  • WILL influence your web development, even if you never use RoR (see Grails, Trails etc)
  • Advantages: fast start, rapid feedback, less code

Some of the audience hung around and we spoke about technical details as well as strategy and marketing angles. An interesting topic and some great questions made presenting this rather enjoyable.