Would you describe yourself as a technology evangelist?
An evangelist tries to drum up support and adoption for a particular technology, and so in that sense, I am an open source evangelist. Not only on an individual level, but the company as a whole, every employee is invested into the vision of open source web application development. Current awareness levels in India with regards to open source programming languages and frameworks leave a lot to be desired. It is therefore, the need of the hour to spread awareness about open source frameworks, like Ruby on Rails, to the industry stakeholders. They offer a world of possibilities to the programmer and more importantly, the end user, which actually provides us with immense creative satisfaction.
What goes down at these meet-ups that you organize?
We discuss world domination through open source! On a more serious note, meet-ups are excellent from the point of view of getting our collective thinking caps on and moving together towards our vision of superior applications through open source. Though the industry is nascent, interest is strong. Indians also have a more community bent of thought rather than an individual style of working. All of this means that meet-ups are probably the best source of imbibing more members into the open source community. Most meet-ups are a good mix of technical discussions, tutorials and sharing and acknowledgement of great peer achievements.
Since the first RubyConf that happened in 2010, how has the response been for the past few years? How has it evolved through the years?
Since the first RubyConf, we have received a very good response which is above what we expected. From a core group of organizers in the first year, even our annual flagship event has taken on a open source look and feel with a big developer community pitching in to make it a bigger success each year. Now people are more eager to hear about the dates for next RubyConf. Ruby on Rails has a popular anagram ‘MINSWAN’ (Matz is nice so we are nice) celebrating the communities close knit and supportive culture. I would like to say that RubyConf is the physical manifestation of this culture.
What role does RubyConf play in the propagation of RoR as a technology for more and more companies to adopt? Is there a corporate connect program?
The world of Open Source programming really craves validation today. RubyConf delivers just that on one integrated platform. Consider it a meeting place of the beneficiary (end user), the developers (Ruby experts) and everyone else in the middle. Service requestors and providers can collaborate together to communicate, highlight and showcase advancements in application development techniques. We have a whole range of sponsors looking to leverage the platform for the benefit of their brands and it is a very convenient way for companies looking to leverage this technology to network with vendors.
Despite its enormous popularity, RoR is yet to be used on most major websites (Google, Youtube, Live, Facebook, Wikipedia etc.). What is it about RoR that prevents the top websites in the world from incorporating it?
For every website you have mentioned I can give you a whole host of names like AirBnB, Twitter, Shopify, Groupon, SlideShare, Hulu and Github. Notice the vast variety in domains? But as I mentioned, the awareness/popularity of RoR is at a nascent stage locally. In India we tend to have a wait and watch approach before adapting a new language. Main and foremost reason is infrastructure availability; internet penetration is not at optimum level in India, many businesses still operate offline. Established organizations are also resisting the change even though they know its benefits, as the change may require a huge paradigm shift in operations and extra costs, which basically that our domain is affected by market dynamics like most other technology domains.
What upcoming technology do you believe will be the “Next Ruby on Rails” and why?
Ruby on Rails was a significant improvement upon existing languages at the time of inception and the continued pursuit of perfection is ingrained into human nature. This means that we are always on the cusp of the next big thing. If I had to choose, probably Go (also called golang) seems best suited to take on this mantle in the future. Loosely based on C language and open source in nature, it has the potential to fuel the innovation in this sector for the next couple of decades. We are excited about its future prospects and are actually in the process of bringing the first Go user conference to India next year. Stay tuned for more.