RailsConf 2007 Day 1

After a day of tutorials covering Streamlined and Script.aculo.us, the first official day of RailsConf kicked off today to Chad Fowler and a yukalele. Yes, a yukalele.

Minute musical machinations aside, it’s been a helluva first day.

The most amazing thing about RailsConf is the sheer breadth of the community. I have been introduced to more technologies in a day than I can easily recount off of the top of my head. To name a few, there’s GeoKit - a Rails plugin for location-based apps that uses Google for geocoding, Telegraph - a Rails plugin that provides a DSL for easily generating voice user interfaces through Asterisk from Rails, UJS - Rails plugin for generating accessible JavaScript for Rails, Merb - a performance plugin for Mongrel that considerably improves Mongrel’s ability to handle uploads, RAAKT, LiquidLayout, ActiveWarehouse, and RVideo – just to name a few.

So far, the most impressive I have seen, by far, has been Telegraph. Jon Palley’s demo simply knocked my socks off. Jon essentially built JAHJAH in about 10 lines of code. If you’re too lazy to follow the link, his simple web app took 2 phone numbers as inputs and connected both numbers via a VOIP call initiated from his Asterisk PBX. I’m dead serious: 10 lines (give or take a few). Telegraph looks to be that powerful. It provides functionality for statusing and managing call states including call recording. Walking out of the sesion, my brain was abuzz with the possibilities. Feel like building your own WebEx or web-enabled conference calling system? Honestly, it looks pretty darn simple from the demo.

Granted that another conference attendee told me that developing for Asterisk can be it’s own pain.

And, so far, I’ve totally neglected to mention the bevvy of improvements that DHH announced for Rails 2.0 today in his keynote: a “new” (it’s been in the wings for a fair bit although I haven’t played with it) REST-centric approach to controllers allowing them to render any number of different types of views with support for rhtml, builder, and XML (although still generting XML that is tightly bound to your DB schema) out of the box, declarative breakpoints in Rails that will drop you instantly into IRB at the breakpoint, and a new and DRYer DB migration syntax, to name a few.

It’s been a full day and my list of technologies to research and review is only partially covered above.

And there are two more days yet. :D

Posted by evan on Saturday, May 19, 2007

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