Last weekend, I attended the ROSSConf in Berlin. This is not a classic conference where speakers talk about a subject and you listen to them, but a gathering of Ruby open source maintainers with Ruby developers who are interested in collaborating in their projects. The conference was divided into two parts: firstly the mantainers gave an overview of their projects and the areas where they wanted help; the second part was a hands-on session where attendees could choose one of the projects and work on it.
One thing that I really liked is the fact that the mantainers were right there, available all the time. It was easy to have a chat with them, get the overall idea of their projects, solve any doubts quickly and, in general, get that kind of context that it’s difficult to grasp from emails, irc channels and similar. And, of course, it’s also nice to see and know the person behind the project.
The project I chose was ROM which, to be honest, I’d decided to join before the conference. I’d read some blog posts and watched some talks by his mantainer, Piotr Solnica, before RossConf, and I liked and agreed with some of the ideas he showed on them.
So, what did I manage to do in this project? Well, not as much as I would have liked. I didn’t spend enough time before the conference reviewing and understanding the code base, so I dedicated most of the event to read the documentation. Despite the lack of context, I managed to do a small pull request and, more importantly, I saw mutation tests running for the first time in my life. I still don’t know much about this technique, but thanks to this conference I think I’m going to dig a bit more into it.
What could be improved from my point of view? If I have to complain about anything, it would be the lack of time to write code. I know that we can now continue to contribute from home, but I’d have liked to have used the motivation you get when you are surrounded by other highly involved developers to do a bit more. It would have been nice to have a second full day of coding.
Aside from looking at the ROM project, it was really nice to chat with other Ruby developers about the Berlin scene and the state of the art in general.
Thanks a lot to the RossConf organisers and sponsors, it was a great event!