I recently attended the Mountain West Ruby Conference. It was my first time going. I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the conference. I would recommend it.
I'm new to the Ruby community. I get to use it more in my current job than I ever have before. Whenever entering a new community, it's good to find some friends. I was pleased to notice that everyone I encountered at the conference was very friendly and welcoming.
About the coolest thing about the community is one of the slogans: MINSWAN, which means "Matz is nice, so we are nice." How cool is that? Matz is the Ruby creator. Wait, who am I kidding. You already know that.
I was very impressed with the blatant lack of trolling other communities. This even with the live stream video cameras rolling (people can tend to do weird things when put on camera).
The conference attracted speakers and attendees from as far away as Australia.
I didn't look too closely at the schedule previous to attending. Once I got there, I was surprised at the caliber of those people and companies who were represented. These were big names in the tech community, such as Matz, himself, Github, Heroku, and others.
The conference is single track, so that meant I got to see everyone speak. I mostly like that but kind of hate that. I believe it also meant fewer speaking slots, so everyone was pretty top notch.
I was impressed with the stage presence of most speakers. A few were pretty droning, but in general everyone was very polished, had good slide decks, and shared engaging and useful content.
Devops was the stated subject matter of an entire day of the conference. This was cool. We can use that kind of focus on the subject. But then it bled into the next days as well. I want some pure code, pure Ruby'ness. I got some of that, but not as much as I would like. I paid my devops dues the first day. I was ready to not hear any more of it on days 2 and 3.
It was in my back yard! I loved the lack of a hotel requirement! Apparently some visitors even camped in the wilderness, Nacho style.
The Salt Lake City Public Library is a great downtown location for a small conference. In this case, with the conference being single track, the single largest room, the amphitheatre, was the only room required for all attendees. It featured plenty of seating -- at the cost of no leg room.
The wifi also held up better than it has for similar gatherings in this space. It was announced that "the city and Xmission are working feverishly" to maintain connectivity several times over the 3 days. It still didn't stay up. This is a common tech conf occurrence.
I was sorely disappointed with the lack of sugary confections meant to encourage the jollyness and attentiveness of the conference-goers. At one point, it was necessary to slip out and find a good bakery downtown. I was not disappointed. I was happy to see at least the vendors' vinyl stickers come out on the last day. We need more of that!
In all, it was a good use of my couple days. It wasn't too pricey, but then, I wasn't paying.