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Tim Bray's keynote session at Rails Conf

Posted by arungupta on May 20, 2007 at 9:16 AM PDT

Tim Bray, Web
Guy from Sun Microsystems gave the keynote
session at Rails Conf
yesterday (May 19). With 1600 attendees, it was quite a different
experience from JavaOne last week which had approx 16,000 people. The
session was to start @ 9am and we were made to wait until 8:55am outside the

Anyway, once the session started it was packed!

Tim started the session by asking questions and here is a

  • How many people work for startups ? - Approx 40%
  • How many work for non-startups, like Sun ? - Approx 40%
  • How many for service providers, like
    ThoughtWorks -
    Approx 20%
  • How many are using Ruby as the first programming
    language - Approx 5%
  • How many came to Ruby from:
    • Java - Approx 70%
    • Microsoft - Approx 40%
    • PHP - Approx 40%

He also announced Sun will
donate servers to open-source Ruby projects. Showed screen shots of
Mephisto source code in
and RHTML debugging.

Tim invited Charles Nutter,
JRuby core developer on the stage and asked "Why
JRuby ?".

Charles: JRuby is a new different way of looking at Ruby. Because it
runs on Java, it scales very well, tested thoroughly, allows Ruby to get into
enterprises where Ruby and/or Rails have never entered and there is a vast
amount of Java libraries accessible to Ruby developers.

Tim: Any gotchas ?

Charles: If not feeling the pain under Ruby, keep doing it. JRuby is not
a solution to all problems. If you want to scale better or differently, then
this may be your solution. This gets you into enterprises where there is no Ruby
or Rails presence.

Tim: When will JRuby be released ?

Charles: JRuby RC is out
and FCS will be released by month-end.

Charles also said to give JRuby tee-shirts (pretty cool looking and has Duke
holding a Ruby gem) if you contribute to the project or submit patches. Here are
some pictures of Tim:

One of the big questions that we were getting asked at the Sun pod was "What
is Sun doing at Rails Conf ?". Tim answered that very clearly in his session:

Sun sells Computers, Infrastructures, Operating Systems (Solaris) which is
driving biggest, hairiest, ugliest and yet highly-performant systems in the
world. We have x4500 Thumper,
Identity Management
. And then we are a systems company so we have
NetBeans - a highly productive
Rails development environment,
jMaki - rich set of

widgets for Rails view
, and

of Rails applications.

Another couple of interesting topics that Tim touched on is:

  • How to make money on free products ?
    • Adoption - Aligns with Jonathan
      (CEO of Sun) says "mindshare gets market share".
      Adoption is all about friction and the biggest is payment friction.
      Being open source allows you to get rid of that.
    • Deployment - After adoption, you see deployment.
    • Monetization at the point of value - The hypothesis is "No serious
      business will deploy any serious application on any serious solution
      unless it is supported."
  • Even if Rails is successful beyond our wildest dreams, Java, .NET and
    PHP will never go away. The solution is to deal with them and integrate them
    using REST. Here are some strong positives about Java - the platform, the
    language, a set of APIs, the community:
    • Highly concurrent with multiple threads in the JVM. This allows your
      application to scale much better.
    • Security in the JVM -

      Sandbox security
      allows to build robust internet-based applications
    • Universe of Java APIs is better than C, PHP and all other languages.
    • 6 million community of Java developers

I had to leave the session early because of setting up the booth but it was a
great talk!

Check out the
for the show.



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