Sled like no one's watching: Ruby on Ice Conference 2019


It was the morning of the 21st of February. We (Andy and Mandy) hit the road towards the Ruby on Ice Conference in Tegernsee. As soon as we caught sight of the mountains, we were greeted by plains blanketed in white and rooftops still caked with 20cm of snow. We knew we were in for an exprience of a lifetime with pictereqsue views like this!


As we entered the conference, we were greeted by a rustic, lecture style hall of 150 people. It was an intimate gathering where it was comfortable to start conversations and share knowledge - both technical and non-technical

Eileen Uchitelle from Github kicked off the opening keynote with their experience on forking rails and how they played catch up in upgrading from Rails 3.2 to 5.2 She outlined challenges in dealing with 3400 errors of incompatible dependencies, outdated gems and security backports. It was inspiring to see her 1 woman team fronting this change within Github.

Extreme learning, extreme fun!

Question: What do programmers do when they’re not coding? Extreme sport sledding of course.

Equipped with a wooden sled, crash helmet and no instructions on how to stop, we slid down at highs of 25mph with a high risk of dropping off the side with a 20 degree slope with trees.

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Perhaps they thought engineers could manage anything by themselves. It was a refreshing exprience with the splash of ice down my top after the fifth face plant. It was also flattering to hear this from my fellow rubyonicers: ‘Thank you for choosing to snowball down the hill instead of crashing into us!’

Extreme validations

We rolled straight into learning mode again with Tobias Pfeiffer’s validation talk which was applicable to our application and probably for all rails applications. Validations can be different based on the context so do validations they really belong into models? Tobias showed some alternetive solutions and gave us a little excursion into Elixir land.

Andy proudly represented us with his lightning talk topic: ‘How to give fantastic code reviews’. This was a very exciting experience and we got a lot of great feedback straight from the community.

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Our review

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Overall, we would give the conference a 45 ruby rating. We liked that it was interactive, chill and informative with a one talk, one break structure. Also, we noticed that 80% of the speakers were women. How’s that for diversity! In spite of that, we felt that the talks were not specific enough to the Ruby Language. Once the recordings we will post them here. Watch this space.

Mandy + Andy

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