I just returned from Los Angeles after serving as program chair for RubyConf 2018. The conference was a success at multiple levels and I’m grateful for everyone who helped it to be a fantastic experience. From the speakers who shared their knowledge and expertise with the audience to the volunteers and staff that kept the show running smoothly. As a program chair, you bring together many different elements and hope that they work as intended. All four keynotes touched on community and provided an undertone for the entire conference that felt very appropriate for RubyConf.
We held the conference in the Biltmore hotel, which is a unique and beautiful setting. Constructed in the 1920s, its distinct style has not been altered since its opening. This style is known as Beaux-Art, which is heavily influenced by the Italian and Spanish Renaissance. Having just visited Italy with my family last summer, the similarities were striking.
This year we offered live captioning. A feature that several attendees thanked us for. Even those that don’t usually seek out captioning found it valuable. We continued to offer other services that made the conference more inclusive, such as free onsite childcare and a lactation room. The keynote room and one of our breakout rooms were live streamed. And we recorded the rest of the conference program and made it available free of charge.
This was my 13th straight RubyConf and the experience felt very much like the RubyConfs I’ve attended previously. The community is warm and inviting. Everyone is all too happy to share their experiences. The conference sold out with a capacity of 850 weeks before the event. We continued to have many first time attendees and I can only imagine the conference was a wonderful experience for these new RubyConf goers. Ruby seems to be getting a bit of resurgence in popularity and use. We had more sponsors than we’ve ever had and I heard of many thriving businesses using Ruby on Rails as their core technology stack.
Matz shared his vision for the next couple of years showing that the Ruby language is still alive and continuing to evolve without losing its identity. I feel confident where things are headed for the language and the community. I truly am thankful for all those keeping the future bright for years to come.