RailsConf: Coding Trends and the Future at Enova

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By: Kaitlin Arntz, Public Affairs
May 12, 2014

From Tuesday, April 22 to Friday, April 25, 2014, Ruby and Rails developers from all around the world descended on Chicago for RailsConf, connecting with some of the industry’s top talent and thought leaders. Now in its eighth year, RailsConf is considered the largest gathering of Rails developers in the world, and offers attendees unique insights into the state of the industry. A range of topics was covered, with a subtle but common thread of the event dealing in the importance of inclusivity within the world of development.

“Lots of ideas were covered, but this notion of prioritizing inclusion felt like an important talking point,” said Blake T., a software engineer with Enova. “It’s interesting, because inclusion is a frightening prospect for some and a necessity for others. Enova is certainly a company that has embraced diversity, with a number of our engineers claiming cultural heritages from all around the globe.

Additionally, we’ve taken great strides to improve gender diversity. I think a number of us left RailsConf feeling excited about what we’ve done so far, and at the same time feeling motivated to do more.”

Keynote speakers at the conference included Baratunde Thurston, CEO of Cultivated Wit and co-founder of the blog Jack and Jill Politics; Farrah Bostic, whose customer-centric approach resulted in strategy company The Difference Engine; Aaron Patterson, a key member of both the Rails and Ruby core teams; and David Heinemeier Hansson, the creator of Ruby on Rails.

“Hansson’s talk was a great conversation dealing with the ill effects test-driven development can have on a product, and ultimately a call to prioritize our craft above measurement or metrics,” says Blake. “He discussed the idea that while many of us think of ourselves as software engineers, it might be more appropriate to say that we’re software writers, to think of the work we do as less of a science and more of an art form. It’s certainly a compelling idea.”

Next year’s RailsConf will be held in Atlanta.