Home > RubyWorld Conference 2012 Prospectus

RubyWorld Conference 2012 Prospectus

Ruby is a programming language and essentially nothing more than one of many tools for software development. Designed by a resident of Shimane Prefecture in Japan and then spread to the whole world, Ruby has become increasingly popular as a tool to increase software productivity.

However, artificial as it may be, the Ruby language holds a larger influence than most people imagine. In Linguistics we find the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis, which states that the thoughts of people are to a certain degree influenced by the language that they use. I believe, that a similar tendency holds true for programming languages. Idioms, philosophy and assets accompany a programming language and these elements form a culture which influences the programming language’s users.

ROf the cultural elements that accompany Ruby, the chief one is Open Source. Ruby was developed as Open Source software from its very beginning. But not only is Ruby itself Open Source, the Ruby programming language has fostered a cultural sphere based on Open Source ideas, through the large number of Open Source software projects that has been developed using it. It may seem difficult for those accustomed to “Software as a commodity” to comprehend the concept of software which is distributed free of charge and free of restrictions, but for many people Ruby has become an introduction to a new and different kind of software development.

Another important element in Ruby’s culture is Agile Software Development. Agile Software Development is based on the intent to reform the traditional apt-to-become-rigid software development techniques and it aims for a flexible software development process that adapts itself to better suit the needs of the customer.

“The Manifesto for Agile Software Development”, which was published in 2001 when the Agile Movement first appeared, was signed by seventeen Software Development opinion leaders. Among the seventeen we find that Ruby book authors and Ruby fans are well represented. If we add them up, they actually turn out to make up more than half of the signees. I believe, that this shows the strong link between Ruby and the Agile Movement.

So, this is how the tool that we call Ruby is guiding people towards a new culture.

For this year’s RubyWorld Conference, which will be the fourth of its kind, we have asked Dave Thomas to make the keynote presentation. Dave Thomas is the author of the first book about Ruby to appear in the English speaking world, and he is one of the seventeen founders of the Agile Movement.

RubyWorld Conference is not only about Ruby simply as a technology; it is an invitation to the new Agile world that Ruby opens up before us.

Yukihiro Matsumoto
Chairman, Ruby Association