BarCamp Canberra 2010 and an Introduction to Sinatra

Earlier this month was BarCamp Canberra 2010, this city’s third BarCamp event. Having never been to one, I thought it was high time I checked it out. Given that most of the attendees would be unfamiliar with Ruby, it was also a prime opportunity to give an introductory-level talk. I chose to talk about Sinatra, since it was small enough to allow for a good overview in the 20-minute time slot.

Sinatra title slide

This was my first long-form presentation, and I’m happy with how it went. I had an interested audience with some good questions, and we were even able to fit in a live deployment of a sample app to Heroku. Hopefully I also attracted a few more people to our Canberra Ruby Crew meets!

The talk was written in showoff, Scott Chacon’s Sinatra application for building browser-based slides. I suggest you give showoff a go for your next talk; I thoroughly enjoyed the process of using it to create mine. It freed me from the burden of colours, transitions, layout, and positioning, and let me concentrate on the most important aspect of my talk, its content. It also means that you can view the slides online (thanks, Heroku!) as well as their source code.

The BarCamp Canberra organisers did a great job: everything went smoothly and the turnout was excellent. It was interesting for me to see the goings-on outside the Ruby circuit that I usually frequent. Max and I were also able to showoff our little web/iPhone hybrid app we built using Symphony and Titanium.

The proclaimed outcome of the day (according to twitter, anyway) was an increased motivation to go out and do, the program of talks was a little light on the kind of hands-on technical topics that equip people to take action and create something. In this way, I think that Ruby hackers or other web or application developers are in a position to make an important contribution to BarCamps or other similar events. It’s a great opportunity to revisit the basics (or even hit on something advanced) and share it with others.

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