RailsConf 2017: a round-up

A few weeks ago the Google Cloud Ruby team attended RailsConf in Phoenix, Arizona. RailsConf is one of the largest conferences for Ruby programmers in the world and we were happy to spend three days learning and sharing with our community. We enjoyed hearing from folks that are currently using Google Cloud Platform (GCP) and we're working diligently to integrate their feedback into our future products.

About half of our team had never attended a Ruby conference before. Luckily they were in good company since about half of the attendees at the event were new to Ruby, conferences, tech, or all of the above.

All of us enjoyed the keynotes including Rails core contributor Aaron Patterson's crap data joke and Rails creator DHH's discussion of how community values are reflected in programming languages and frameworks. He used Python and Ruby as his examples and showed how while they both share some values like "Readability Counts" they also differ on values like whether there should only be one way to do something.

Daniel Azuma, an engineer on the Google Ruby team, gave a talk titled "What’s my app *really* doing in production?" With so many new Rubyists at the conference this was a fine opportunity to teach people about some of the tools for debugging and profiling that are built in to Ruby and Rails. Among other things, he discussed how you can use ActiveSupport::Notifications to get more information when specific methods are called.

Remi Taylor, another engineer on the Google Ruby team, gave a talk called "Google Cloud <3 Ruby" showing off the new features GCP has for Rubyists. I gave a talk called "Syntax Isn't Everything: NLP for Rubyists” which showed off Google’s Cloud Natural Language API. Both of our talks generated interest in Google's Machine Learning APIs and dozens of people tried out the Cloud Vision codelab back at our booth. In the past, Rubyists haven't been interested in machine learning so it was great to see all the excitement.

At our booth we had great conversations with both new and veteran Rubyists. Many people took advantage of our codelabs to try out Google Cloud with Ruby while there was someone to help available. It was also a chance to have one-on-one conversations with developers from all over the world. Many of the people who stopped by are trying or using Kubernetes for their Rails apps. Others are using App Engine, Cloud Storage or other Google products. This was my third RailsConf since I started at Google, and I'm happy to see that more and more community members are trying Google Cloud products and giving us feedback so we can continue our goal of creating tools that feel good to Rubyists and help them build and run amazing applications.