This evening I went to the Ruby Meetup here in SF. The meeting was about two hours long, and consisted of two presentations. There were about 20 or 25 people there, which was pretty good considering the rain (San Francisco has turned into South Seattle. Wettest year ever!) Apparently the Meetup group has grown from 25 people to over 125 in the last six months. I guess this Ruby stuff is pretty interesting!
The first presentation was by Tom Belunis, a former coworker of mine from my Zone Labs days. His presentation started as a demo of a drag-and-drop report generation system he'd built in Rails (which was pretty nifty), but ended up being mostly a Q&A about ActiveRecord. It was very interesting hearing ActiveRecord described by a database expert, and gave me a different perspective from how I usually think about things.
The second presentation was by Mike Austin, the only person I've ever known to write something in Dylan other than people I worked with at Apple. He demoed a system he built called Inertia, which is a Ruby UI construction environment in the tradition of Smalltalk. All the code for the system could be changed from within the system itself, so there was no distinction between the system and the things you built in it. Everything was totally dynamic, and it included a basic constraint system for composing objects into windows. It reminded me a bit of ThingLab. Nice work, and only 2300 lines of Ruby code.
Afterward was the inevitable Chinese food (since we were meeting in Chinatown). Got to meet some interesting people. Looks like a lot of folks are going to RailsConf in Chicago in June, and also to the Silicon Valley Ruby Conference later this month in Santa Clara. It's cool to get some connection to the local community. I'm already looking forward to the next meeting, and starting to think about a presentation I can give when I get the chance.