Thoughts on Euruko 2011

Euruko 2011

2 weeks ago I attended the Euruko 2011 event in Berlin. In all I would say it was well worth going to, despite a few flaws.

The event was hosted in the Kino International, a cinema close to the centre of Berlin. So it was quite easy to find. Connectivity was not a problem either, as the best free wifi i’ve seen in ages was provided.

The quality of the talks was extremely varied. For instance, David Calavera’s “JRuby hacking guide” talk drew me into a state of REM sleep. In fact the next time I have insomnia, I shall be sure to seek his assistance.

In contrast to this, Paolo Perrotta’s “The Revenge of method_missing()” was a stroke of genius. Great pacing, casual tone. I found the pictures accompanying the code to be quite complimentary and hilarious.

Really, I could divide the main talks in Euruko into one of several categories.

“Here’s my code”

A talk in which the speaker meticulously describes code, a design pattern, or something equally as boring to the outside observer. Quite often the code does not have any relation to what you are doing.

“The other day…”

A talk in which the speaker tells a story with illustrations or code to accompany their points in a way which is easy to remember.

“Use my product”

The speaker describes how they solved a problem, creating a product or project in the process.

EDIT: I would also like to point out that despite my critique of the talks, overall I thought the event was great. Things such as the keynotes and the sing-along at the end were fantastic.

Enough of the talks…

Of course, a conference is more than just watching people talk in front of an impressive cinema screen. During breaks there was an opportunity to cram into the lobby area for a free drink, or to talk to one of the many developers squished against the walls.

Not to say the venue was small, but given the natural tendency of people to congregate in areas near the seating, doorways, and conference room the feeling of being in a small space was inevitable.

Predictably the free drinks and food ran out quite quickly on both days. Rather deviously someone decided to serve sparkling water next to the still water. My taste-buds still haven’t recovered.

The after-events

On both days there were events afterwards to go to. I have to say, the party at “Tante Käthe” was the most difficult thing to find, even with some helpful pointers provided by the organisers and the modern wonders of GPS.

In fact, if I had not bumped into some other attendees I would never have guessed I needed to go down a dark pathway, over a fence, round a corner and down another dark pathway.

Sadly the planned BBQ was cancelled so there was nothing to eat, though free drinks were available. To be honest though, the event itself did not live up to expectations considering you needed the skills of Indiana Jones to find it.

The second day after-event was the Github drinkup. Kudos to Github for the free drinks. However I somewhat suspect if the Github guys weren’t around, this would never have happened.

Still, drinking in a nice easy to locate venue was a great experience.

So really, was it really worth attending Euruko? Yes. It’s a great magnet for ruby developers and business people, so networking opportunities were plentiful. And there were several inspiring gems in the talks to make it worth it.

Bring on Euruko 2012!