Please note that Alex Payne will not be a speaker, and that Ryan Davis is taking his place in the program.

Giles Bowkett
Archaeopteryx: A Ruby MIDI Generator

Archaeopteryx generates MIDI bytecodes which produce music via prosumer applications such as Propellerhead Reason. If you’ve ever wondered whether or not use cases really exist for Ruby features like lambda, eval, continuations, and higher-order functions, Archaeopteryx demonstrates not just the usefulness but the power and flexibility of these techniques. Archaeopteryx also uses statistical AI methods - specifically, probability matrices, similar to those used in naive Bayesian classifiers – to define templates for possible grooves.

An experiment in progress, Archaeopteryx currently generates techno drum rhythms and New-Agey ambient soundscapes with ease. Developing additional features by the time of GoRuCo is very, very likely. Following the pattern of all successful technology projects, Archaeopteryx targets low-hanging fruit with superior technology, and scales up from there. This presentation will feature no slides at all, and focus instead on demonstrations, explaining existing code, and writing new code live.

Giles Bowkett’s programming blog is well-read in the Ruby community and occasionally gets 10,000-visit days. He has worked with Perl, PHP, Python, Java, JavaScript, ActionScript – all the usual suspects – and now spends nearly all his time coding Ruby. He’s worked on the streaming video site Hulu and contributed a patch to Rubinius, he has a recipe in the upcoming “Advanced Rails Recipes” book, he’s speaking at five conferences in three countries in 2008, he regularly checks in code before 8am on Saturdays, he kind of needs to get a life, and between December and February 2007-2008 he released 9 open source projects (with more coming). Giles studies acting with the same feverish intensity he applies to programming. He also practices meditation, which, when you consider everything else, is probably a good idea.

Ryan Davis
Hurting Code for Fun and Profit

The combination of living ascetic coding style and using tools to help enforce an ascetic style greatly helps code thrive in its purest form. Hurting code by eschewing complexity and enforcing a good testing style can be both fun and profitable if you look at it the right way. “Hurting Code for Fun and Profit” will introduce both the philosophy and tools used to enhance an ascetic coding style.

Ryan Davis has been using Ruby since 2000 and is a founding member of the Seattle Ruby Brigade, the ass-kickingest ruby brigade (per-capita). His background includes QA, automation and tool development, object databases, and smalltalk. In ruby/rails, he has worked on developer productivity and test automation tools such as flog, heckle, hoe, ParseTree, ruby2c, ruby2ruby, RubyInline, ZenTest, and more.

Paul Dix
Collective Intelligence: Leveraging User Data to Create Intelligent Rails Applications

Take advantage of user data to create intelligent applications. This talk will focus on data mining to create complex application behavior and gain insight into the patterns and habits of your users. Examples of these techniques can be seen with recommendation systems like those created by Amazon, Netflix, last.fm, and others. Additional examples include spam filtering systems for email or comment filtering provided by Akismet.

We will focus on techniques for gathering data, specific gems and plugins for performing various data mining and machine learning tasks, and performance issues like how to distribute the work to separate servers. Theory in this talk will be light and the specific algorithms will only get a mention by name. We’ll be looking at real world Ruby and Rails code examples for building recommendation, ranking, and classification systems.

Paul Dix has been working with Ruby and Rails since 2005 when he first started attending meetings at NYC.rb. Paul was a speaker at GoRuCo 2007 where he presented on the topic of document classification. He is also the author of the Basset Ruby Gem, which provides an API for various machine learning tasks. Paul has worked in companies large and small as a consultant, developer, network engineer, and software tester. The big names include Google, Microsoft, McAfee, and Air Force Space Command. He currently works for Mint Digital where he contributes to various Rails applications for clients and Mint’s Rails application platform. In addition to his consulting, Paul is working on a new startup that makes use of collective intelligence techniques. He is also currently a student at Columbia University where he studies topics in machine learning, natural language processing, information retrieval, and search.

Bryan Helmkamp
Story Driven Development: The Next Generation of Rails Functional Testing

Story Driven Development (SDD) helps close the gap between the language of developers and product owners so they can clearly define when software is “done”. Readable and executable product requirements are now possible. We’ll explore tips for integrating SDD into your existing workflow and cover technical details for implementing and maintaining stories using cutting-edge tools and libraries.

Bryan Helmkamp is a senior Rails software engineer at weplay in New York. He is a strong advocate for Behavior Driven Development and an active participant in the RSpec community. Recently, he released the Webrat (Ruby Acceptance Testing for Web applications) plugin, which many developers are using to drive their customer-facing acceptance tests in a more expressive way. During his three years of professional Ruby/Rails programming he has been continually active in the community by organizing events like Rails Day 2007 and co-organizing the first (and the upcoming second) annual Gotham Ruby Conference (GoRuCo). Bryan’s software development blog is located at http://brynary.com/.

Chris Wanstrath
Forbidden Fruit: A Taste of Ruby’s Parse Tree

Metaprogramming is not that big of a deal. Yeah, we were super pumped about it at first. We tried to stay sane while reading _why’s book. We had our minds blown by Bill Katz at RailsConf 2006. We were up way past our bedtime twisting define_method. But now things are different. Today we constantly (class << self; self end) and send(method). It’s just a part of life, y’know?

This talk is about Ruby’s parse tree. I’ll introduce it and explain what it is, especially its relation to other languages (since most everyone has one), then dive into the nitty gritty: how you get to it in Ruby, what it looks like, and what you can do with it. The doing being the big part.

Chris Wanstrath lives in San Francisco and freaking loves Ruby. He writes for Err the Blog, works at Err Free, keeps in touch using FamSpam, and uses GitHub for everything else.

Ezra Zygmuntowicz
Merb, All you need, None you don’t

Merb is a ruby web framework with a focus on performance, modularity and simple non magical code. In this talk we will explore some of the more advanced concepts of the framework and how it was put together. One of the guiding philosophies of merb is to be transparent and hackable. No black boxes or sausage here, we like to encourage merb users to open up the framework to explore and bend it to their will.

Ezra Zygmuntowicz has been a member of the ruby community for almost 5 years now. He has written “Deploying Rails Applications” for the pragmatic programmers as well as speaking at many ruby related conferences. Ezra is a cofounder and lead Software Developer at EngineYard.com.


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