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Get to Know SpreeConf DC Speaker: Nick Gauthier

Posted on March 21, 2013 by Lynne Brehmer

We are excited about our awesome lineup of speakers for SpreeConf DC taking place May 20th – 21st at the Studio Theatre in Washington, DC. To spread our enthusiasm, we are starting a new series called “Get To Know Our Speakers.” We’re kicking off the series today with SpreeConf speaker Nick Gauthier.

Nick Gauthier

Nick Gauthier

Co-Founder at Exobrain & B’More Awesome
Nick Gauthier is a web freelancer, consultant, and trainer specializing in Ruby on Rails and JavaScript. His experience spans from SQL to Sass and he always tests, all the time. He wrote Recipes with Backbone with Chris Strom and recently released his eBook Mobile Web Patterns with Backbone.js. Aside from freelancing Nick runs B’More Awesome, a Baltimore-based web training organization, and he also co-founded Exobrain, an online mind-mapping tool.

Rails 4 in Action

Nick will be speaking at SpreeConf DC about some of the ways he’s used the new features in Rails 4 to build applications efficiently with the latest web technology. Nick explains that Rails 4 introduces a bunch of really cool, new features: Multithreading and ActionController::Live combine to provide clients with Server-Sent Events for real-time activity feeds. Turbolinks has blasted application performance way beyond what we’re used to seeing. And, changes to how rails applications cache information has made caching simpler and easier to use.

Getting to Know Nick

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

1) What trends are most exciting to you right now?
This may come as a surprise, but I’m currently very excited about design. It’s great to see so many new products being released with a focus on user interaction and not just a barrage of features. It’s really added a new challenge for web developers to meet the design goals of an application, because it’s generally a hybrid of front and back-end coding, and it’s always unique and interesting.

I’m glad Rails is doing such a great job supporting this new style with a two pronged attack of increased performance (caching and turbolinks/pjax) and excellent functionality as an api for client-side code. Front-end libraries like Backbone.js and Ember.js pick up where Rails leaves off when really custom interactions need to take place.

2) Any interesting projects you’re working on that others may be interested in?

Always! I’m currently working on Exobrain, which as mentioned earlier is a simple and focused mind-mapping application. I’m also working on a new web-based presentation application, but it doesn’t even have a name or url yet so I can’t share it :-(.

As part of working on client projects, I’m working on an easier and faster way of wireframing UX and transitioning to an implemented application with a gem called throwup (still in its early stages). As a support for the presentation application, I’ve been working in a lot of real-time systems, and part of that is a gem called tubesock (also in its early stages). Tubesock makes it easy to use websockets in Rails, and I wrote about it recently.

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

First and foremost, I’m looking forward to all the familiar faces from last year’s SpreeConf (and of course all the new faces!). I’m also always excited to see people in the Ruby on Rails community doing Real Stuff™, serving real users with real products, so I like to hear from people using Rails and Spree to support their business.

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

I hope they remember to always push the boundaries of current technology and to try to accomplish what has yet to be done, even if there isn’t a gem for it!

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

I’m currently reading The Design of Design by Frederick P. Brooks Jr., which is a book about the process of designing complex systems. Frederick Brooks has been designing complex architecture (computers, buildings, helicopters, and more) about 12 times longer than I have, so I’m learning a lot.

Come meet Nick and hear his talk on Rails 4 in Action at SpreeConf DC, May 20th – 21st. The $199 early bird rate ends March 31st so register now and save!

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