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Our Favorite Talks from RubyConf 2019

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Our Favorite Talks from RubyConf 2019

This November, two of our Ruby on Rails developers at Planet Argon attended RubyConf 2019 in Nashville. It was both Kayla and John’s first time attending this conference of Ruby developers.

If you’re interested in getting a glimpse of what the conference’s talks are all about, they’ve listed their favorite talks from the conference below, along with why they were helpful or interesting.

Want to see more? Video recordings for the complete conference are up on RubyConf’s Youtube channel. We hope you enjoy this collection of our favorite RubyConf talks. Maybe we’ll see you next year in our home city of Portland, Oregon, for RailsConf 2020!

John’s Favorite RubyConf 2019 Talks

Adopting Sorbet at Scale by Ufuk Kayserilioglu


I’ve been keeping my eye on Sorbet since I first heard of it last year. The process of adopting it into an existing codebase, especially one as large as the one mentioned in the talks, shows that it is possible and it brings inherent value.

Ruby ate my DSL! by Daniel Azuma


We use a lot of DSL’s in our day to day and do not get to interact with them too often, but it was very insightful getting to see some of the pitfalls you can find yourself dealing with when working inside a Ruby DSL.

Coding like it’s 1977: Ruby on the Apple by Colin Fulton


A really high level talk on the recent history of software development and how far we’ve come. Seeing Ruby run on such a small amount of memory was really impressive. I always enjoy talks where we get to see a mix of multiple disciplines at work and this was one of those.

Kayla’s Favorite RubyConf 2019 Talks

Conscious Coding Practice: The Three Concrete Steps by Noah Gibbs


Noah Gibbs borrows a practice from the art world to implement a playful approach to learning new coding concepts. In my first year as a professional web developer, I've been looking for ways to improve my skills in focused short bursts of time that are more customizable than Codewars. The practice outlined in this talk reminded me of the best parts of my Bootcamp.

I hope to take it for a spin during my next pair programming session.

Keynote, Collective Problem Solving in Music, Science, Art… by Jessica Kerr


I'm a sucker for any historical, cross-disciplinary commentary on how we structure ourselves. If you are too, listen to Jessica Kerr's talk. She focuses on how teams of interested people with different skills can lift each other up to make great stuff happen.

Toward the end of her talk (approx 30:00), she presents a diagram theorizing why we have so many JS frameworks: it's a lot easier to create something to fit exactly what you're picturing in your mind than to teach another person how to use it. This thought popped up in my mind again and again throughout the conference.

The Fewer the Concepts, the Better the Code by David Copeland


This talk had the most controversial Q&A of all the talks I attended. David asks the question, "What if we thought about 'good code' in terms of how many people can understand it and iterate on it?" He counts the concepts required to understand code that performs the same thing, one in a terse, clean code fashion and another in a longer, simpler style.

This question sparked ideas about making codebases quickly accessible years after they're started by privileging syntax that exists across languages.

In the beginning, there was require… by Adam McCrea


Adam's talk reminded me how important to look up those nagging things that you use all the time, but don't really understand. I've blindly fumbled through Ruby's require-esque methods since my first web development project. Huge kudos to Adam for clearing things up in a concise way.

Honorable mention

Keynote - Lucky You by Sandi Metz


A well-constructed privilege check first thing in the morning reminded me why I'm here, how the world has worked and encouraged me to make it better.


If you attended RubyConf 2019, what were your favorite talks? And if you didn't attend, we hope you enjoy watching these presentations as a recap. We hope to see you in Portland for RailsConf in May of 2020!

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