We last left our intrepid heroes
Mike McKay's Africa on Rails was a fantastic antidote to the usual business-oriented tales of market-hungry start-ups. The Baobab Health Partnership is using Rails and wireless networking to help under-resourced Malawi to better manage provision of AIDS medication and treatment, but their technology is clearly applicable to other countries in the developing and third world and to many other endemic diseases. It's also good to see a project like this nurturing local programming talent. I definitely wish them well with their work, and would encourage anyone reading this blog who can afford to to contribute some spare cash to their cause. Tobias Luetke's Outsourcing to Open Source was interesting in content, even if not in delivery, and Rob McKinnon's Parliament on Rails is another brilliant example of ways in which Rails and the Web 2/3.0 technologies are being used to engage online users with offline institutions.
A large chunk of the rest of the afternoon was spent shooting the breeze with the JRuby guys, which gave me some interesting insights into where their project is heading. So shouts to Thomas, Charles and Ola and much respect for the brilliant job you guys have done. Oh, and it looks like spikyblackcat and I may well be taking on the poisoned chalice of Ruby's OpenSSL support with our own pure Ruby implementation: it's going to be slow on MRI but the JRuby team can deliver decent native code performance thanks to their bytecode compiler and I think this is the way to go - plus they could really do with an alternative to Bouncy Castle lol
All in all a very good conference, with more than its fair share of deep geeks. Well done O'Reilly - here's looking forward to next year's outing!