eurucamp day one: awe inspiring

eurucamp has begun!

We won't bore you with our weather woes (come on Berlin, what's wrong with you?), and instead, let's jump straight into something that makes us happier, day one of eurucamp and JRubyConf.

After a caffeine infusion from The Barn, sponsored by Travis CI, JRubyConf started with a keynote from Tom Enebo and Charles Nutter, with special guest Chris Seaton from Oracle who discussed his company's work on the Truffle backend. The big news from Berlin's favourite core contributors was, of course, the release of JRuby 9K. The new release has a bunch of great new features such as optimization, more of which can be read about here.

Next up was Tyler Croy, who discussed his year-long work on Gradle, a multilanguage build tool native to the JVM. It already defaults to JRuby 9K, and is ready to use. Good work Tyler!

Satoshi Tagomori (aka Moris), joined us from Japan, in his first ever trip to Europe. As the maintainer of MessagePack Ruby, he discussed how open source works with JRuby, as well as a bit about the community in Japan.

Then came Jason R. Clark, the proud father of one of the youngest open source contributors ever (she was 5 at the time!). He discussed Shoes, demoed games, encouraged people to make chicken sounds when he did something incredible, and sold Shoes as a great place to start for those looking to work on their first open source project.

With just 15 minuts to spare before lunch, PJ Hagerty took to the stage to introduce us to Mirah (which means Ruby in Javanese!), a fledgeling language looking for some love started by Charles Nutter in 2008. He entertained the crowd with pull request happy dances, and uncomfortable truths about programming ("Ruby was made to make programmers happy, nobody's ever said that about Java.")

Next up was a delicious lunch from Knofi, and amazing vegan ice cream sponsored by elastic, after which everyone was more in the mood for a Friday nap than a Friday hug. But we persevered and headed back to learn. Upstairs the Rails Girls Workshop was also taking place, and upwards of 40 women were introduced to Ruby on Rails for the first time. Rails Girls Summer of Code participants Rubyherzlein gave a great lightning talk about their ongoing summer of hacking on the open source project SoundDrop, and encouraged fellow participants to join a project group, get involved with the community, and keep learning.

The rest of the afternoon flew by in a flurry of presentations about, among others, the twelve factor app philosophy, how to work with tools one may not necessarily enjoy, and scaling applications with Mesos and Docker. The conference ended with a heartwarming presentation from Anika Lindtner about diversity, giving eveyone in the room concrete tips on how to change their community in just one day. Hint: it starts with you!

With tears in our eyes, we spilled out of JRubyConf, to register for eurucamp. The atmosphere was buzzing (or was it because of all the Club Mate and coffee?). Did our eyes deceive us, or were there unicorns and pikachus present? The excitement was growing.

We entered the main conference hall. The floor was reminiscent of a red carpet, the stage was set, cameras were flashing. A few people commented that the whole thing had a certain Eurovision feel to it...

And then it began. eurucamp MCs Erik Michaels-Ober and Floor Drees ran to the stage, and effortlessly entertained the crowd before introducing the keynote, Joanne Cheng.

Her talk was beautiful and magical. She stated that at some point she thought our industry was "awe-deprived". Awe is what drives us, motivates us, and makes us realize that our world is bigger than we think it is. When we feel awe, we are motivated to act in collaborative ways, that "enable strong groups and cohesive communities". So she set out to change this lack of awe, by combining her two passions: code, and dance. With the help of eurucamp organizer Andy, she demoed her "space harp". On the screen were a series of moving horizontal lines, and a red dot - which was Andy's hand. When he moved his hand through the lines, they flickered, and made sounds like the strings of a harp. The audience was astounded, and Andy, also thrilled, moved his hand up and down, up and down, and a cascading waterfall of sound filled the room.

We were amazined and, in awe.

Thanks so much to Joanne for setting the tone of the conference, and for the inspiration. We can't wait to feel awe this weekend!

keynote audience