litany against fear

coding with spice ¤ by nick quaranto

RailsCamp NE Adventures

published 20 Jul 2009

The concept is simple: Get a bunch of developers together for a weekend away from the internet and most of civilization to have fun and relax. To be honest, I didn’t get to relax much, but it was made up in spades just by how awesome the event was.


The venue was the Maine MountainView House in Bryant Pond, ME I’m sure others will post better pictures soon, but the pond itself was beautiful. A dock, fire pit, and plenty of chairs made for some fun smore-making and werewolf games. The house was huge and definitely stood up to nearly 30 developers’ antics throughout the weekend.

The event itself was slightly organized, which was just perfect: catered lunch and dinner, and plenty of social hacking. Each day had a few talks showing off fun projects and interesting problems. Topics included covered internationalization with gettext, CouchDB, the Rails Rumble,, RadiantCMS, and plenty more I’m probably missing. I showed off Gemcutter and got plenty of awesome feedback and ideas for the site.

As for hacking, it was an interesting mix of people and skill levels. Quite a few developers were there mostly to observe what others were using for tools and to understand how they work. I loved showing off Cucumber and I definitely heard the good word of TATFT being preached. I wish I could have watched a little more, but I was having too much fun coding away.

My adventure went something like this: The start of Saturday got a few people talking about ideas to hack on, and perhaps a project the group could work on together. Nick Plante mentioned games via Twitter, and that eventually lead to implementing DopeWars. From there, some went outside on the porch to sketch out how the app would work, and we then wrote some basic user stories. It ended up that Jason and I banged out a quick prototype in Sinatra and got something decently working. On Sunday, amongst recovering from some late night Urban Terror, I hacked with some others on searching gems via Gemcutter’s web interface.

If there’s a RailsCamp going on even remotely close to you, do everything you can to get there. It was more hands on than RailsConf, and the amount of networking and fun being had was multiplied. I’d just like to say thanks to the organizers, Pat Allan and Brian Cardarella, for working hard to put on a great time for all. I’d love to help organize a RailsCamp in the future, perhaps since I’m returning to Rochester soon it could include the Great Lakes region and bring in hackers from NY, PA, OH, MI, and more. (If you’re interested too, leave a comment!)

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