Noel Rappin Writes Here

September 13, 2010: WindyCityRails

WindyCityRailsNoel RappinComment
I'm going to have an official WindyCityRails conference report up on the Obtiva blog shortly. Consider this the more self-indulgent conference round-up.

Ray Hightower and the rest of the team put on a great show, everything ran smoothly, and even the typical complaints about WiFi were kind of muted.

When I'm at a conference, I tend to use Twitter as my notebook. People seem to appreciate it, it's nice to get quotable lines out into the community, and it gives me an excuse to monitor the Twitter backchannel. So, check out @noelrap for some play-by-play.

The iPod + bluetooth keyboard worked great for this -- if I wasn't presenting, I wouldn't have used the MacBook at all. Not least of the advantages was that I didn't have to fight for a power strip. The only real disadvantage was that the fairly wide view angle meant that anybody sitting next to me had a great view of my twitter-stream.

It was kind of funny to be able to recognize my Twitter-avatar popping up on laptop screens in front of me, suggesting that I was twittering too much (though I do seem to have gained followers over the day).

Also, the much-maligned Twitter/iPad interface was a champ -- particularly great was the ability to continue to work through all the browsing screens with a compose window open.

Anyway, the conference itself was fun. It was amazing to me how many people I know there now, considering that two years ago at the first WCR, I knew about three people that I didn't actually work with.

One highlight was talking with David Chelimsky commiserating about book processes when somebody came up to mutually ask us a question about testing. Thankfully, we agreed.

My own session went reasonably well, you can check out the bad code I wrote about over on github. I made kind of a rookie mistake in that I wasn't completely prepared to explain basic Cucumber and RSpec usage along with the legacy testing strategies. This became mostly a time management issue, and while I managed to get through everything I wanted to say, the session became a lot less hands-on then I was expecting. I mostly got positive feedback, though, so I think it was okay.

I do think I sold more of the RSpec book then of my own, indicating that I don't really understand this self-marketing thing.

I got a lot of ideas for performance follow-ups from John McCaffrey's talk and later from Nick's Gauthier's slides on test suite performance that I expect to include in future apps.