Ruby Conf India, 2015

RubyConf India, 2015 was held in the first week of April in the fun filled and beautiful city of Goa. The announcement of the venue itself created excitement among people while the tickets were out for sale way back in October, 2014. As per the schedule people were expected to arrive at the venue on Apr 3 and the conference was scheduled for Apr 4, 5. The venue for the conference was ‘Cidade de Goa’, a beautiful resort by the beach side which added awesomeness to the conference. A residential conference lets you interact with a more number of people.

Day 0, (Apr 3, 2015) I reached Cidade de Goa at 11:00 am, it was good to know that we were being allowed an early check in whereas the check in time was mentioned as 3:00 p.m. People were dropping in gradually and the peak hours were between 2-4pm where the maximum people checked in. The entire day was to relax and explore the resort depending upon what time of the day you check in 😉 . Some of them relaxed in the pool while others enjoyed having beer at the poolside bar. Most of the veteran Rubyists were happy to meet their friends from the community. Day 1 was very relaxing and enjoyable. Later in the night, everyone was formally invited for dinner.

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Day 1, everyone was geared up at the venue for the conference to begin. The registrations went smooth and clear followed by the welcome note by Ajey Gore(@AjeyGore). Everyone at the conference was looking forward to the keynote by Aaron Patterson(@tenderlove). @tenderlove did some pair programming with a pear and talked something fun, something reaaal fast! Then, was a talk by Christophe Philemotte(@_toch) where each one took a deep dive into the unknown depths of a project. He also had some Belgian chocolates to be distributed later throughout the day(yummmm 😛 ). The day was followed by talks with intermittent tea breaks and lunch as per the schedule. One of the talks ‘Writing Ruby in your mother tongue’ was interesting enough to grab everyone’s attention with some fun-filled jokes. Later in the day, Eleanor McHugh gave an excellent talk relating to security, her slides read “Privacy is always a requirement; privacy requires trust; building trust is hard; and securing trust is harder”. This was followed by some lightening talks and then was the beach party which everyone was looking forward to. The beach party began by around 7:45 p.m with some networking until the bar counter opened(and yeah, socializing continued after that as well!). There was karaoke and people were truly engrossed into it. The food was equally good as the party. Day 1 came to an end by the beach side. Kudos to the organizers for organizing a flawless dinner party for the attendees.

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Day 2, Undoubtedly, it was difficult to be on time the morning after the beach party and thus the conference schedule got delayed by around half an hour which was fair enough as we tried to get everyone together and move ahead. The day followed with scheduled talks, ‘Aggrobot – Go fetch me an aggregation’ and ‘Writing Fast Ruby’ were some of the best ones. I too had a talk pre-lunch, which I believe might have been boring for most of the audience :/ as it was a fairly beginner level talk on ‘Taking the ruby road to Front-end testing’ while on the contrary a guy tweeted saying mine was one of the talks he could understand 😀 . According to me, I did not speak that well, probably not my day or I got nervous looking at the larger number of audience or on trying to interact with the audience I got blown away with the sad response(I guess the attendees had all their attention on food and I was eating their time 😛 ). Could be anything but I myself was really disappointed with those 25 minutes. Even though my talk did not go well, but still I enjoyed the entire conference a lot except that! I am glad that I attended the conference this year and was the only female speaker at the conference (just to make myself feel good 😀 ). Goa being the venue added to all the fun. This was probably one of the best conferences I have attended till now 🙂 .

Not to forget, the food at the resort was pretty good at all times. Lastly, the closing keynote by Terence Lee(@hoe02) where he summarized the talks of the entire conference beautifully by including slides with take-away from each talk. He also talked about making contributions to ruby and ended his talk on a note “May the Ruby be with you”. Gautam Rege(@gautamrege) took over the charge for the conference wrap up and thanked each one behind the scenes who contributed to make this conference a success. Tea break followed the wrap-up and people were almost set to leave the venue though there were some lightening talks pending for the day. It was good to interact with a friendly and supportive ruby community throughout the two days. The conference was very well organised and planned. Kudos again to all the organizers.

IMG_20150405_155230RubyConf India 2015, Goa was simply awesome!

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Rails Girls, Pune, 2014

Rails Girls, Pune was conducted on December 13,  2014 at ThoughtWorks, Pune. The event kicked of at 8:00 am which was too early on a chilly winter day. The introductions/ keynote by Gautam Rege, Rajshree and Pooja covered a brief introduction to Ruby, Ruby on Rails and of course the event ‘Rails Girls’. After that there was a video where the ThoughtWorkers had taken an extra effort to enact and let the attendees decide their track- Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced . Though the video was enacted well by TW folks but IMO, it did not serve the purpose rather confused some attendees whereas last year, there were random groups being formed while I was an attendee then and this time a volunteer. Volunteers helped the attendees to decide groups, installations and setup to get started as it was going to be a hands on workshop the whole day. Though there were arrangements for breakfast but only few girls could take it because of the early schedule and they walking in late. So, the agenda of the day was to introduce the participants to Ruby, Ruby on Rails and help them build a small web application by the end of day, so that they see something substantial and feel proud about what they did throughout the day.

We were all set to start, the attendees have grabbed their round tables. Each group of 4-6 girls(mostly) was accompanied by a pair of coaches where a beginner coach was paired up with an advanced coach. After everyone settled in their groups, the coaches introduced ruby as a programming language to the group. Some of them asked the attendees to use tryruby.org while others used irb(Interactive Ruby Shell). It was good to know that people who have been using C, Java till now were happy to meet Ruby and found it magical. So there was a brief introduction to rails as going forward, the attendees were expected to make a rails application and show case at the end of the day. At 11:30 am there was a talk by a team from Team Vision where they spoke how they understand and code without being able to see. The talk was inspiring as well as motivational, people who cannot see are able to code then what is stopping others from doing that. After that, there was a small activity named Bentobox where attendees were given stickies and a list of technology name and asked to put them in the right section so that they can have a better understanding of Front end technologies, Storage, infrastructure and others. After this 15 minutes activity, the coaches briefly explained the Bentobox to their respective groups. IMG_20141213_114515The Bentobox activity was followed by lunch after which there was a stress busting Origami  session. It was taken by a retired lady teacher with a passion for Origami. To split the girls into groups of six, everyone was asked to stand in a circle and then pick up chits which had some keyword written on it. Now, each one was supposed to find others with the same chit and form groups of 6. Here we were checking in reality how much noise could the girls make while yelling out for theirs partners. Being a volunteer, I stood beside and enjoyed the view 😀  After everyone was successfully in groups of 6, now we started with some paper folding and each piece was to be added to make a colorful cube, which was again an encouraging group activity.
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After this stress busting activity, everyone was back to work and started working on their apps. Now there was more focus on Rails and building the apps. All the coaches discussed with their groups regarding which web application they would like to make. All the web applications were basically a CRUD(Create, Read, Update, Delete) but with a different wrapper to it. Those who could complete their apps on time, deployed on heroku while there were some who faced problems in deploying to Heroku. Later, was the showcase time where people came down to demo their application and share their experiences. Some of the attendees looked very happy and proud of what they have done since morning. People had take away which was a proud moment for all the coaches who did the hard work the whole day imparting knowledge to a bunch of people. One of the interesting apps a participant made was Boyfriend Expense Management App. Next, there was cake cutting ceremony and a closing keynote. T-shirts were distributed at the end of the day, those who left early missed the yummy cake and t-shirt and hence another Rails Girls, Pune came to an end for the participants but not for volunteers/coaches/organizers. A meeting was scheduled for feedback which was very organised I felt but too time consuming. We looked at what went well through out the day, what we could improve and what was different from the last time. From being a participant last year to a volunteer this year, I could see that there were less interactions among girls this time, mainly the ice-breaker was missing. The event was a success in all. The day ended with a team dinner and a bit more interactions with people from the organizing team. You can check out the Rails Girls video here which summarizes the event well 😉 .

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Deccan Ruby Conf, Pune 2014

The first edition of Deccan Ruby conference, Pune was held on 19 July, 2014 at Hyatt Regency, Pune. Their tag line “होऊ दे!” somewhere related to having fun. By the time I reached, keynote had already started. Being the regular practice of any conference, registrations were accompanied with name stickers, badges(of Josh) and T-shirts. The day started off well with interactions in the first tea break right after the keynote. The arrangements were done well in coordination with Hyatt and you could hear the sound of ringing bell after each tea break. Post the keynote, there were parallel tracks for Workshops and talks. Most of the attendees including me rushed for the workshop  on “TDD 101 – Get it before you dismiss it!” by Sidu Ponnappa Chonira. The workshop was good in all but couldn’t meet timeline and continued longer, eating some part of the free slot as per the schedule. The volunteers in the workshop helped everyone test drive their code. This couldn’t have been simpler than writing code for a calculator . Ah, but it was flooded with questions! Nevertheless, there was something to learn at the end. Talk on ‘Writing ruby ” होउदे ” way, yes in Marathi !‘ was quite entertaining though and the speaker gave a lightening talk as well on the same. Undoubtedly, the food was awesome(Hyatt.Mediterranean fish++).

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Post lunch, talk on “Dashboard for DevOps” had interesting stuff. Right after that, one of the speakers talked about rolling your own web framework in 30 minutes. In the parallel track, Workshop on “Deliver projects 30% faster, know your CSS” was being conducted. Lightening talks aren’t boring anytime because of the short duration 😉 . One of the lightening talks included a student  talking about her Rails Summer of Code and eventually they could find someone there who could help them. Meanwhile, I talked to few people in person about “Women in Open Source Award” by Red Hat. Some of them felt motivated and promised to contribute more. Coming towards the end, the closing note by Baishampayan Ghose was well drafted and interesting. One of his slides mentioned: future = f(past) [Future is a function of past]. Takeaways from his talk were to understand the problem well before you jump to any solution, ignore history at one’s own risk, give importance to design and make it a deliberate practice. Deccan ruby conf could have worked better on the T-shirt design instead of stamping it with sponsor’s logos! There was Futsal planned for football lovers post the event and a party at Irish Village, though I did not attend either. Overall, it was a good one day conference and got a chance to meet the ruby community.

Rails Girls + vodQA at ThoughtWorks, Pune

Knowledge should be for all, not just for the few. ThoughtWorks believes in sharing and invites you to events like Rails Girls, vodQA and more. If one finds an interesting upcoming event to be held at ThoughtWorks, Pune, I feel one should not miss the chance to be there for a day. The events conducted by them are fun-filled and knowledge-sharing, wouldn’t you like to have fun while sharing knowledge? The work area at ThoughtWorks adds to everything that happens throughout the day. Thought Workers call the place as their second home. The environment is simply awesome for events such as Rails Girls and vodQA, the two events which I attended till now.

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Rails Girls, Pune (on August 24, 2013) was my first time to ThoughtWorks and was an amazing day midst a number of girls at some tech event. This event invites a maximum number of female participants as the name itself calls. This was a one-day workshop where you could dive into the magical world of Ruby on Rails. Registrations, breakfast and the keynote went well. All the attendees were supposed to occupy their table(with seats around) according to the number card that was handed over at the time of registration. There were around 8-10 participants on one table and 2-3 mentors which made a good rails girl: mentor ratio. Then there was an introductory session by the mentor which included introduction and installations. Then arises a common question “How do I start learning ruby quickly?” and here we have the obvious answer “Try tryruby.org!”. And there you go learning ruby. This was followed by work sessions throughout the day where one had to create an application and showcase the same at the end of the day. The lightening talks were again a part of the day and interesting. Not to forget, the food at lunch and cup cakes at snack time were really good. Chicken Dance was the most entertaining and happy time of the day. Now arrives the time to showcase your application, I had a thought and made a rails application “Thoughts at Thought works” which was supposed to be a portal for putting up your thoughts along with your name and a relevant picture. One of the reasons that many liked my application was that I highlighted a message from one of the lightening talks which said:

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The pictorial representation of the thought left an impression and the session ended pretty well. It was an amazing day networking with many people and gaining knowledge about Ruby on Rails. As I mentioned earlier as well, a fun-filled knowledge-sharing weekend it was 😉

The second time I happened to visit ThoughtWorks was for vodQA(on October 19,2013) which was an event especially for QAs. The keynote synced well with the theme “Faster| Smarter| Reliable“. The event was well organized with three parallel tracks scheduled for 30-minute talks, lightning talks, workshops and Open Spaces. The icebreaker game was interesting which made each one interact with others. I really liked the vodQA t-shirts but they were for organizers and speakers less the participants 😦 . I attended a few talks which covered various aspects of testing  but was more busy socializing with people around. Nevertheless the talks(referring to the title of talk) were drawing more of attention. One of the interesting statement from a lightening talk was “There is nothing absolute in this world apart from Absolut Vodka”.

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One thing which I noticed was that Thought Workers along with doing a lot of pair programming at work, they paired up for their talks as well. Also, most of the speakers were fond of the Test Pyramid. The Open Spaces concept was another good idea which was open to all for an open discussion on the topic of their choice. And again, lightening talks were interesting. Ah, coming to the feedback part, ThoughtWorks really worked out well in keeping both the electronic as well as the paper mode feedback systems. The anchors did not miss a chance to ask all the attendees for feedback. Somewhere the credit goes to the anchors as well in conducting the event well. The day ended with some more networking.. 😉 and it was pleasing to know that people remembered me from Rails Girls event. I simply loved both the events at ThoughtWorks and looking forward to more 🙂