So today was my second day of tutorials at QCon London 2009 - another tough choice as to what to go to - as much as I wanted to learn more about Erlang I chose instead to attend Advanced Ruby and Behaviour Driven Development.
Advanced Ruby by Sam Aaron
I thought I was being a bit ambitious selecting to go to a tutorial on Advanced Ruby given my Ruby knowledge is quite limited, i.e. only just above zero. But it turned out to be very good and quite insightful. It was the first time I had been to a Language tutorial that didn't in anyway get bogged down in syntax.
The tutorial covered the Language from different approaches of coding, such as prototype, class based and functional. It was useful to learn how Ruby handled inheritance, closures, creating methods on existing classes, detecting missing methods etc. It also provided to me a chance to reflect on the other languages I use and understand them better.
Must admit I felt a bit for Sam having Ola Bini in the room - but he handled it really well. Ola did provide some further insight into Ruby's internals which was good.
Behaviour Driven Design by Dan North
This was a session I was really looking forward to, and Dan didn't disappoint, his passion and energy for this stuff really shows through. It was interesting to hear his views on how Agile is progressing beyond things like XP - in a way its become more pragmatic and seasoned I guess, and it really got me thinking how to step beyond TDD or as he rightly pointed out "Code By Example".
There was a serious amount of information in the session and it was very engaging. It was great to go back to some reasoning as to why we work well in small teams (our brains are hardwired to work well in groups up to about 10 people - pre-history family group size perhaps?). It was also good to discuss things like why it is hard to introduce change, and how to reduce the likelyhood of falling back into 'the old ways'.
Trying to summarise Dan is almost impossible and its worth hearing him talk on the subject if you get the chance.
It was also refreshing for someone to say about their own work, 'this is really just the beginning, lets see where we go from here'.
All in all another good day, tomorrow the conference proper starts.