The fourth annual Rubyfuza conference will be held from 6 – 7 February in Cape Town, with a workshop day on the 8th. Organised by local Ruby developer Marc Heiligers, the event brings together a selection of local and international speakers and local Ruby developers to discuss, debate, share knowledge and network.
This year’s keynote address is being delivered by local developer Charlene Tshitoka. Tshitoka is part of the team at ThoughtWorks, a global software company that comprises a community of passionate individuals. ThoughtWorks believes in sharing its knowledge for the benefit of the industry at large through books, blogs, running events and talking at conferences.
Tshitoka’s keynote is entitled ‘Software Development in Africa’, and, she says, “will take a view of software development in Africa, looking at what’s been happening, and the challenges we experience.”
She aims, she says, to tell the African software developers’ story. “It’s about how you can approach software development from an African perspective. We have our own reality and baggage and we need to consider that as developers and how it fits into our story.”
Heiligers says the event is expecting to attract around 140 developers, up from an initial 64 in 2011. From one international speaker at the inaugural conference (US-based Dave Hoover, who initially suggested Heiligers host the conference in SA), Heiligers has now made an executive decision to never have more international speakers than local.
“At this stage the interest is so great I could fill the slots with international speakers only but it’s important for us to have local speakers, and it’s also important to have new speakers every year so we’re making sure we refresh the line up,” he says. This year’s lineup features seven international and 13 local experts.
For local Ruby developers, Heiligers and Tshitoka agree, it’s important to be able to attend a local conference where they can network and share knowledge and skills, rather than having to go overseas to do so, which South Africans usually have to do.
Several workshops run alongside the conference (and sometimes go travelling around the country if a particularly knowledgeable international expert is in town), and Heiligers says he’s adding to these as sponsorships allow. So far he’s managed to host the first ever Coderetreat (2012) and RailsBridge (2013) events in SA, alongside the conference.
A Coderetreat is a day long event focusing on the fundamentals of software development and design. Since the first one was held last February they are being hosted regularly here.
RailsBridge workshops are held for free and offer a fun way to get people coding on Ruby, Rails and other web technologies. Workshops were held in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Port Elizabeth last year and are now running regularly in Cape Town.
This year’s workshops include a RailsBridge, Introduction to Functional Programming, Coderetreat, Scrum Simulation and AWS Workshop.
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