I went to Munich the weekend before last for my third Euruko (European Ruby Conference). It’s something of an unconference in that the schedule is decided on the day and anyone who wants to speak can do so. A lot of people were using what can most politely be described as ‘just-in-time’ processes to prepare the accompanying materials for their talks—myself included!

My talk on ‘Ten things I hate about Rails’ was well received (and called probably the best one that day).

Every time I give a talk, I realise that the year I spent classroom teaching in Japan was really useful. I also realise just how similar teaching six-year-old kids and talking to a technical crowd is!

I reprised the same talk at the London Ruby Users’ Group last night, with a little more polish: in addition to the practice, I’d improved the slides slightly. It went down well, judging by the audience and the questions at the end.

Despite the inflammatory title, the actual talk wasn’t really vitriolic—but if I’d called it ‘A few minor inconveniences in Rails’, it wouldn’t have sounded nearly as good! I think that I succeeded in pitching it where I wanted it: light-hearted and not too negative, but with enough serious content to provoke analysis and constructive criticism of the Rails framework.

This talk was the first that I had given using the S5 slide show system. S5 is an HTML and JavaScript system that is actually a bit long-winded to write in, so I built a little preprocessing system to make simple text files into multi-page presentations with code syntax highlighting. I’m still not entirely proficient with S5, but I was able to get it to do what I wanted in a way that was far easier than a ‘real’ presentation package would have been.

I don’t know how well the slides work on their own without the accompanying talk, but I’ve uploaded them for those who are interested. What may be more universally useful is my Rake-driven text-to-S5 workflow, for which I’ve included all the files in the same archive. You can download the presentation and source files.