Calit2 Hosts MerbCamp, the First Official Gathering of the Merb Community

By Tiffany Fox, (858) 246-0353

San Diego, CA, Oct. 28, 2008 – UC San Diego became the "center of the Merb universe" earlier this month when 150 software developers from around the world converged at the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2) for MerbCamp, the first official gathering for the Merb community.

MerbCamp keynote speaker Yehuda Katz, who actively leads the Merb project, said MerbCamp was one of the best Ruby-based conferences he's been to this year.
MerbCamp keynote speaker Yehuda Katz, who actively leads the Merb project, said MerbCamp at Calit2 was one of the best Ruby-based conferences he's been to this year. To watch streaming videos of MerbCamp presentations, click here. [Windows Media and broadband connection required]  

Merb is a new, Ruby-based framework for building next-generation Web applications that need maximum flexibility and performance. Building on the success of the Ruby programming language and Ruby on Rails, Merb is a highly modular framework, allowing developers to make their own choices about templating systems, javascript libraries and object-relational mapping.

Among the conference highlights were the first public release candidate of Merb 1.0, a live webcast featuring more than 10 hours of talks viewed by software developers around the world, a BBQ dinner on Mission Bay, and several rounds of Wii Bowling on Calit2's giant auditorium screen.

The keynotes were given by Merb's creator, Ezra Zygmuntowicz, and Yehuda Katz, who actively leads the Merb project (and is also involved with the jQuery JavaScript framework). "MerbCamp was a huge success in my eyes," said Zygmuntowicz. "The talks were of very high quality and the venue was one of the best I've been to for the smaller regional Ruby conferences. Also, having all the talks streamed live on the Net was a great touch."

Added Katz: "MerbCamp was among the best Ruby conferences all year, largely due to the quality of the venue."

The conference was organized by Patrick Crowley, a freelance Web developer who runs San Diego Ruby (a local Ruby user group), along with help from developers Matt Aimonetti, Rob Kaufman, Ryan Felton and Leah Silber.

"Since Merb is a young web framework, our attendees were early adopters," Crowley said. "In most cases, they're actively contributing to the development of Merb, using the framework for their projects, or just starting to learn Merb. MerbCamp was a huge success, and Calit2 was a critical part in that. As long as it's still a good fit next year, we'd love to do it again."

Calit2's Manager for Government Programs Jerry Sheehan, who hosted the two-day conference, points out that MerbCamp was an important step in uniting business with academia and encouraging Merb developers to network in person.

"This was really a community building event," Sheehan said. "With programming and development, you often get lots of people working independently on decentralized threads of something, so this was the first face-to-face meeting for the whole Merb community.

"Calit2 was involved with MerbCamp for two primary reasons: The first being that it represents a natural extension of our interest in the evolution of the internet and having added functionality on the web, and the second reason being that Merb, which has been developed organically, is a great example of open source collaboration. MerbCamp was a way for us to engage a younger generation of software developers in town and the companies associated with them."

Media Contacts
Tiffany Fox, (858) 246-0353

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