January NovaRUG Meeting

Tonight was the second meeting of the Northern VA Ruby Users Group (NovaRUG) — the first was held back in November.

Rich Kilmer spoke about a project he worked on for BBN (who was contracted by the USAF) to coordinate mid-air refeuling missions written in Ruby and Flash (using his alph toolkit).

It was quite interesting to see how Rich went about writing a domain specific language in Ruby — basically he worked to understand the domain really well and began writing his program in this new DSL then he went back and wrote the Ruby code to parse/eval that DSL. The way Rich described it sounded amazing, but also intimidating — I didn’t feel like I could ever do something like that. I wonder if there’s a good resource for learning metaprogramming — perhaps the Pragmatic Programmers will add such a book to their Facets of Ruby series.

After that Rich gave a demo of InfoEther’s new indi software which resides on a USB key and embeds everything necessary to run on Windows or Mac OS X (a Ruby interpreter, Flash 8 Runtime, WebKit, etc). It includes the basic PIM functionality along with games, IM and an on-line store where you can purchase more apps/plugins. It looks quite interesting and I’ll post more about it once they start the public beta.

It looks like future NovaRUG meetings will be on Wednesday evenings (from 7-9pm). And it looks like FGM will continue to host them for the time being.