Australian Ruby Rising

The land of Vegemite, drop bears, and the Thunderdome is bursting at the seams with Rubyists. And they descended upon Melbourne, Australia last week to take part in the inaugural RubyConf AU. The three-day conference included in-depth workshops, hilarious keynotes and insightful sessions covering the wide spectrum of software development with Ruby. In fact, Australia loves Ruby so much that they named a koala after it.

Ruby, the Koala

Corey Haines kicked off the conference with a call to emulate those people that inspire us. The idea behind #emumarch is to “find someone that inspires you through a concrete action; make a vow to do that action with some regularity during the month of March.” Corey is inspired by the endless open source contributions of Aaron Patterson and pledged to contribute to an open source project at least two times per week during March. By emulating someone we admire, we hope to create new habits that we stick with far past March. You can read all about Corey’s #emumarch initiation on his blog.

There was quite a lot of great content to quench your intellectual thirst. A number of speakers tempted fate with live coding. This included Ben Orenstein’s talk on Refactoring from Good to Great (be sure to check out the ‘finished’ branch) and Toby Hede’s look into Rails 4’s Live Streaming. Charles Nutter continued to break down the myth that Ruby is slow in High Performance Ruby. Though he works primarily on JRuby, there are many applicable lessons that MRI may adopt to bring speed to multiple Ruby VMs. A behind the scenes look at Braintree’s application stack from Paul Gross demonstrated the power of a polyglot architecture and certainly sparked conversations about zero downtime deploys. A real treat for the attendees was Keith and Mario’s Guide to Fast Websites, with its superb use of animated gifs and practical frontend fixes.

I was fortunate enough to have been selected to speak at the conference on garbage collection in Ruby. And because there can’t be any garbage collection without first having object creation, that’s where we start. My session focused on the object lifecycle in MRI, giving a guided tour of how objects are created in the C source and terminating on a discussion about garbage collection. You can find the full slide deck below and the video should be available in March.

Screen Shot 2013-03-01 at 1.27.32 PM

It was immediately clear that the Ruby community is not only strong in Australia, but thriving. If you’ve ever considered heading Down Under, then I cannot recommend enough that you trade in the cold winter days of the Northern Hemisphere for the beautiful summer of Australia surrounded by passionate Rubyists. New Relic is very proud to have been a sponsor of RubyConf AU.'

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