I mentioned before that earlier this month I attended RailsConf in Portland, Oregon. A good time was had by all and amidst the impromptu band performances and drinking parties, I managed to learn a few things. I attended a talk during every session, some of which were very cool and others made me sleepy. Below is the list of talks that I think deserve mentioning.
Clean Code, by Robert Martin
Robert Martin is an exceptional public speaker, and during this talk he made some great points about refactoring and cleaning up bad code. He stressed that the best way to improve bad code is to make a series of small changes and continuously run your tests. My favorite part of this talk was the metaphor that he used to describe how easy it is to write bad code and what happens when you do. He said, "The quickest way to be done with dinner is to just leave the table." If you keep doing this, eventually you just have one big mess. (i couldn't find the slides, but here are the materials from the railsconf site.)
Custom Rails Helpers: Keeping Your Views Dry, Glenn Vanderburg
Practical Design for Developers, David Verba
In this talk, David Verba emphasized the importance of getting to know our users. He talked about the 5 elements of user experience; strategy(what do we want out of our site?), scope(what features will the site include?), structure(how will the pieces of the site fit together?), skeleton(what components will enable people to use the site?), and surface(what will the finished product look like?). As a developer, I enjoyed this easy-to-understand explanation of the elements of design. (slides)
"Stop, collaborate, and listen." This was Amy Hoy's solution to the big miscommunication problem between designers and developers. She gave a very engaging talk about how designers and developers should interact. Amy said that we should involve our designers early and often, and avoid the "me vs. you" mentality. It all boils down to respecting and having patience with each other, even when we don't understand each other. (slides)
And that concludes my RailsConf recap... Thanks to all the presenters for sharing their knowledge.