Friday, January 25, 2008

MWRC mini-interview: Patrick Farley

Here’s another mini-interview to whet your MWRC appetite. I asked Patrick Farley of ThoughtWorks about his talk and which MWRC sessions he’s excited about. With speakers like this, how could you not register—$100 bucks for two days of Ruby awesomeness is an incredible deal.

Your session is entitled “Ruby Internals”, why should people be excited to come see it?

Programming in Ruby leads to a lot of head scratcher moments? “Called id for nil, which would mistakenly be 4” anyone? In my experience, getting past the head scratching and into a nuanced understanding of what’s what in Ruby is a lot easier than one might think. The big barrier is, of course, C. The thing to keep in mind, is that you don’t have to be Brian Kernighan to read and understand some basic C code, particularly when you know the domain well. The domain of Matz’s Ruby Interpreter (MRI) is the Ruby language itself, so Ruby programmer are, by definition, domain experts. The goal of my talk isn’t to turn the audience into overnight Ruby internals experts. As the books will tell you, becoming a guru in any technology takes exactly 21 days. Instead, I aim to give an advanced introduction to some key areas of Ruby internals and at the same time equip folks to do additional exploration on their own.

What’s your Ruby/RoR background?

I’ve been using Ruby since 2005, and working full time on enterprise Ruby and RoR development for close to two years now. I’m lucky enough to work for ThoughtWorks where I’ve helped to put some fairly large Ruby projects into production.

Which session are you most looking forward to seeing?

I’m jazzed about a few of them. Philippe Hanrigou is a colleague and good friend of mine, and his shortcut for Addison Wesley, “Troubleshooting Ruby Processes”, is a fantastic resource so I’m of course looking forward to his talk, “What To Do when Mongrel Stops Responding to Your Requests and Ruby Doesn’t Want to Tell You About It”. Devlin Daley’s “Enough Statistics so that Zed won’t yell at you” also sounds great. I’ve been meaning to dig into the R language for a while, so I’m hoping this will be just the motivation I need. I’m also a bit of a closet DBA, so Jan Lehnardt’s “Next Generation Data Storage with CouchDB” sounds like important stuff that I’m looking forward to hearing about.

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