Railscamp X

Wow - this post has been sitting on my draft folder for more half a year! Since then there was even another Railscamp held. Anyway here it is - Railscamp X review.

I had the opportunity to head down to Adelaide last month to geeking it out at Railscamp X.

Railscamp, in a nutshell is: a weekend away for a bunch of geeks who mostly does Ruby (but not limited to) - during that time people hack, socialize and have fun in various ways.


From the few first timers that I met - we all seemed to expect a more structured event - like a conference for instance. We assumed that there would be lots of talks and presentations (plus hacking session thrown in).

Well, it turned out that Railscamp is kind of different. It is not as structured - the main focus seemed to be way more on hacking and socializing. And it’s really up to you on what you want to do and what you want to get out of the camp. So for example some people just want to get some coding done during the camp, but for some others they just want to hang out and have a good time with friends.

Having said this, there were some talks/presentations though - but these are few (around 5-6 for 4 days) and voluntary, ie: people just kind of put their hands up to talk on topics that might be of interest to the campers.

I kept a note of things that I did during the camp, to give you an idea how day to day like there:

Day 1

Boarded the “party” plane with few Sydney railscampers - we arrived around 12:30pm. Bus to the camp won’t come till few hours later - so we went to the nearest pub from the aiport and had a lunch.

Long bus drive to the campsite - upon arrival, we were presented with the choice of staying at the “Old House” or the main site. I chose to stay at the Old House

  • which is about 500m away from the hall - figured out that the night owls will be noisy at night. Old House turned to be a very beautiful old building - happy with the choice. Shared the room with other 6 campers (the room can accomodate 12).

After settling down - went to the hall, found that many people have started hacking away on their Macs. Talked to few people - trying to get to know people. In the evening - I joined the famous game of Werewolf. Note to self - do not wear a noisy jacket when playing.

Day 2

Morning, had the opportunity to learn on how to make a coffee (thanks to @snapperwolf). I then did some hacking on the Octopress importer. Head down to the obstacles hill with some folks.

In the afternoon when to vim session, got few ideas of out it - but most of the things are just above my vim-fu level.

There was a special session in the afternoon with regards to the formation of Ruby Australia organization. This is a big step forward for Ruby community, kudos to those who are involved.

Later on, hacked more on the importer and finally happy with the state of the importer and managed to get runningitis converted.

Evening - more werewolf.

Day 3

Did a short morning run around the site, very nice scenery, enjoyed the solitary quality of the run.

Pretty much hacking hacking afterwards. In the afternoon went to live coding session w/ Pat Allen. Learned about Test Driven Design (it’s slightly different to Test Driven Development). Picked up few concepts and tips for designing application such as using services instead of having fat models (which seem to be the growing trend among Rails developers - fast test FTW?).

In the evening, folks were presenting on things that they had been hacking off during the weekend. A lot of awesome projects presented but to me the winner would be the ROFLbalt game - a side scrolling ASCII game for your console, seriously check it out.

Day 4

Breakfast, helped out w/ cleaning and packing, thanking the organizers and helpers - went home.


I had a good time and am glad that I have attended it.

Few tips for first timers:

  • Come with a project to hack on.
  • Best if you go with some people you already know - otherwise you might feel a bit lonely (unless you can easily make friends w/ strangers).

Big thanks to the organizers Sebastian and Liam and other folks to make it happen.