I've just spent the last week at "QCon":http://jaoo.dk:80/london-2008/conference/ and I've just about fully recovered (it was pretty intense). Considering there was only one Ruby track I was a little worried that I wouldn't find most of the talks interesting, however this wasn't the case. The most interesting talks had very little to do with Ruby.
When I go to conferences, my main goal isn't to learn lots of things it's to be inspired and generate new ideas, consequently my "things to do in my spare time" list has grown exponentially.
The two underling themes that I detected from the conference was developers are people too and scaling is important. It was interesting to hear Java guys talk about how to make developing easier (more fun), because this is one area Ruby (in my opinion) excels over most other languages.
One of the main criticisms about the Ruby community is we don't care about scaling, and scaling is something that the Java guys have been working on for years. So when "Ola Bini":http://ola-bini.blogspot.com/ says that "JRuby":http://jruby.codehaus.org/ will be the best stack/platform around, I'm starting to believe him.
Imagine having your Ruby app with objects persisting in something like "Terracotta":http://www.terracotta.org/confluence/display/labs/Terracotta+for+JRuby?
Or being able to use existing "Java aspects":http://www.eclipse.org/aspectj/ on Ruby code (and "visa versa":http://blog.objectmentor.com/articles/2008/02/25/writing-java-aspects-with-jruby-and-aquarium).
There was talk about GemStone porting their "Smalltalk VM":http://www.gemstone.com/products/smalltalk/ to Ruby so we may have an 'enterprise' stack.
And where the hell are the Ruby Specs? I mean the tests for the language itself. There should be one central repository where YARV, Rubinius, JRuby, GemStone and every Ruby developer out there can contribute to Spec'in out the language.
They are just a handful of ideas that popped into my head. I had a great time at the "conference":http://flickr.com/photos/tags/qconlondon2008/ and met many interesting people, hopefully I'll be able to do it again next year!
The slides (videos soon) from the talks are going "online":http://jaoo.dk/london-2008/schedule/thursday.jsp so take a look. Please excuse me while I go play with Erlang.
I've put some of the slides that are available on the QCon site onto slideshare tagged with "QCONLONDON2008":http://www.slideshare.net/tag/qconlondon2008 , enjoy.