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Get to Know SpreeConf DC Speaker: Ryan Bigg

Posted on April 23, 2013 by Lynne Brehmer

Last Thursday we introduced you to SpreeConf speaker, Adil Wali who will be talking about lessons learned scaling multiple e-commerce businesses at SpreeConf DC May 20th – 21st in Washington, DC. Today we’d like to introduce you to one of our own, Ryan Bigg. Ryan is the Community Manager at Spree Commerce and will be speaking at SpreeConf about open source war stories.

Ryan Bigg

Ryan Bigg

Community Manager at Spree Commerce
Ryan is a Ruby and Rails technical writer based in Australia. He co-authored the book Rails 3 in Action with Yehuda Katz. He was granted the Ruby Hero award recognizing his documentation for Rails. Ryan joined the Spree team in 2011 as Community Manager. His job is to make your life with Spree an amazing experience by triaging issues, replying to user questions, and contributing to the Spree project. He enjoys writing (text + code) more than most people would deem normal.

Open Source War Stories

At the end of 2011, Ryan switched from being a Ruby consultant to being one of the lead maintainers of the Spree Commerce open source project. During that time, he learned an awful lot about what it means to be responsible for something as massive as the Spree project. Refactoring the code without causing tears for loyal users has been an extremely challenging problem to have.

He has some rather interesting stories to tell, like the time he renamed most of the files deliberately on purpose, or that time he ripped out a component that people depended on, and everyone was still happy. There have even been instances where code has been moved out of the models and into new classes, which seems to be the cool thing to do.

Getting to Know Ryan

We asked Ryan to give us his thoughts on the latest happenings in the Ruby on Rails space and some of the interesting projects he’s working on right now.

What trends are most exciting to you right now?

The most exciting trends to me right now are more JavaScript heavy apps that use frameworks like Backbone, Angular and Ember. There’s still quite a lot of change going on in this area. It’s in a constant state of improvement. I think having a JavaScript-based frontend on Spree would be a step in the right direction, showing off what Spree’s API can do.

Any interesting projects you are working on that others might be interested in?

There’s this e-commerce platform I’m working on right now called Spree ;) …

Besides that, I’m working on my Multitenancy with Rails book and keeping Sharon (my girlfriend) happy. Oh, and sleep. Sleep is highly recommended.

What are you most looking forward to at SpreeConf this year?

It’s SpreeConf. What isn’t there to look forward to? Amazing talks by amazing people at an amazing location. DC will be nice during the Spring, too.

What do you hope SpreeConf attendees remember about your talk when they get home?

Maintaining a project as large as Spree and having it be open source is a huge undertaking. We deal with the incoming posts and issues for Spree in very smart ways, and I’ll go through some of those in my talk.

Do you have any interesting picks – blogs, technology, books, new companies to follow?

I don’t read blogs as Twitter is my main source of information. If there’s a good blog post out there, it’ll be on Twitter.

Regarding books: While I haven’t read it yet, I hear good things about Sandi Metz’s Practical Object-Oriented Design in Ruby book. Like, really good things about that book. She’s speaking at SpreeConf, so while I’m semi-obligated to cross-promote her, I honestly think that this book is good.

Another one that’s been doing the rounds is Patterns of Enterprise Application Architecture by Martin Fowler, which covers some great patterns (Data repository, Active Record, Data Mapper).

Technology + company wise: Tesla, Deep Space Industries and SpaceX. These guys are the future. Look at all the cool stuff they’re doing.

Come meet Ryan and hear his talk about open source war stories at SpreeConf DC, May 20th – 21st. get your ticket now. Less than one month to go!

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