Last Wednesday (30th September 2009), the first-ever meatspace gathering of Sri Lankan Ruby Users was held at Ridgecrest Asia (Pvt) Ltd. There were more than 20 passionate, enthusiastic Rubyists filling the room and I would call it a promising start.
For several years, myself personally knew only handful of Rubyists in the country. Though, we had shared the love for the language, we doubted whether we could anticipate large adoption of Ruby culture in Sri Lanka and ever have a active community going here. One of the main reasons for that was at that time there were no mainstream industry demand for Ruby. There were only couple of startups doing Ruby (Rails) based development and very few of developers had the freedom to choose their development toolbox by themselves. So someone choosing Ruby as their main language of choice was a rarity.
However, in the last couple of years things have started to change. Globally, Ruby has received a mainstream adoption and success of Rails made it a de-facto consideration when it comes to web apps. This has made Sri Lankan developers and firms to think about Ruby more seriously. We've seen several new interesting Ruby based projects coming up, also, heard several firms considering to migrate their legacy code to Ruby. Overall, these are great signs promising some exciting times ahead to aspiring Ruby developers in the country.
Unlike Java, .NET or other commercial mainstream platforms Ruby developers are not gauged through professional certifications or training programs. As Matz believed, people should be able to express themselves freely when programming. This is something that cannot be trained or teached, only way one could absorb these Rubyisms is through passion and practice. That's the key difference between a Rubyist and other commercial developers. But Ruby community believes in collective efforts and in helping each other to groom themselves.
The main idea of forming a Sri Lankan Ruby User Group (LK-RUG), was to help the developers to be inspired. It is harder to be inspired while working in isolation, especially when you are starting to grasp things. A gathering like this could help the people to share what they learnt from their experiences, while learning few tips and tricks from others. Behind many great rubyists there is a community which helped them groom. I believe same could happen in this country too. And the very first meeting gave positive signs for that. It was informal, friendly and very enthusiastic gathering. Let's hope we could maintain the same spirit in the future meetings too.
So, if you already hacks with Ruby or eager to learn about Ruby culture, join with the Sri Lankan Ruby User Group and participate in the future meetings.
BTW, Here are the slides from my presentation on "Evolution of Rails", which was done in the first meeting.
P.S. Special Thanks to Sameera Gayan, for coordinating the event and Ridgecrest Asia (Pvt) Ltd. for offering the the location for the meeting.