Thursday, July 15, 2010

LSRC Speaker Interview with David Copeland

With the Lone Star Ruby Conference just over a month away, I thought it would be a good idea to talk to some of the presenters.  David Copeland (@davetron5000) is giving a talk about a topic that resonated with me, so I sent off an email to find out more about what he thought would make his presentation and the conference worthwhile.

I've never been a big 'web app' kind of guy, so I was excited to see "Why And How You Should Make Awesome Command Line Apps with Ruby" as a presentation.  Why do you think Ruby works well in this space?

Dave Having used PERL and bash in the past, Ruby is just a FAR more pleasant environment; it's just really easy to make a well-designed system, the code is clearer and easier to write, and there's a lot of great libraries that are easy to install and set up.   My talk doesn't go TOO heavily into this, but I think everything that makes Ruby great for web apps makes it great for command line apps.

As a Sys Admin, CLI stuff is my bread and butter.  Do you see Ruby as a good language for Sys Admins?  Why or why not?

Dave Nothing's going to be "as close to the system" as shell scripts, but Ruby has some great libraries that let you write cross-platform scripts, and that's a good thing.  Ruby also has a culture of terse-but-readable syntax, code-as-configuration and overall UNIXness that I think a sysadmin would find familiar and comforting.  Ruby really embodies the "motivated laziness" that is the hallmark of a good sysadmin (by which I mean automating painful tasks away into something simpler).  Further, there's some great management tools built with Ruby, like chef and capistrano.

What prompted you to present at the Lone Star Ruby Conference this year?

Dave I've spoken at a few conferences and user groups and really liked it, and I liked the idea of a Ruby-focused conference; Java-based conferences always feel a bit behind the bleeding edge to me, and the Ruby world is always pushing the boundaries.  I also thought my talk would be interesting to share, specifically for the reasons you note above; Ruby and Rails go hand in hand, but Ruby is an awesome language all on its own.  Plus, the last time I was in Austin, I was there for one night on a cross-country drive, so I didn't get to see much :)

Besides your own talk, what are you most looking forward to while you're there?

Dave There's a ton of really interesting looking talks scheduled; The ActiveModel/Active Relation talk looks good, as well as the NoSQL stuff and deployment talks.  And, I'm sure Tom Preston-Warner from github will give a good talk!

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