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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!

Networking Opportunities at SpreeConf DC

Posted on April 23, 2013 by Lynne Brehmer

We’ve built lots of networking opportunities into the SpreeConf schedule to allow you to connect with the Spree community and build lasting relationships to improve and grow your business. You’ll have a chance to meet face-to-face with the creators of Spree, Sean Schofield and Brian Quinn, to learn more about Spree 2.0 and discuss and debate the future direction of the Spree platform. SpreeConf is also a great opportunity to compare notes with other Spree Developers about projects you are working on and implementation techniques. And of course, SpreeConf isn’t just for developers. We have plenty of founders and store owners that come to our conferences as well. Whether you’re a startup or an established online business, there will be other business owners for you to network with and learn from. There’s something for everyone at SpreeConf.

Check out our full lineup of social events.

Inaugural Ignite SpreeConf Gaming Gala – Sunday, May 19th

We’d like to welcome those of you arriving Sunday evening to our Ignite SpreeConf Gaming Gala. Brian Quinn and Chris Mar are your Game Night hosts and are committed to delivering an evening of unforgettable fun and intense competition. They’re turning in their consoles and are returning to their gaming roots with some old school board games like Settlers of Catan and Ticket to Ride. The evening will include lots of board gaming fun with plenty of beverages and snacks and an opportunity to meet your fellow conference attendees and the Spree team before the serious tech talking starts on Monday.

Lightning Talks – Monday, May 20th

At the end of our first day of presentations all SpreeConf attendees are invited to join us for a few cocktails and a series of five minute lightning talks on the subject of your choice. This is an opportunity to publicly share interesting projects you are working on as well as to suggest your ideas for the future direction of the Spree project. We’ll begin taking lightning talk registrations two weeks before SpreeConf starts.

Happy Hour – Monday, May 20th

Enjoy a few happy hour drinks with your fellow attendees courtesy of Braintree. Share what you learned during the training day and find out what interesting projects your colleagues are working on. Get a chance to check out Policy, one of DC’s hottest restaurant and lounges located in the vibrant U Street neighborhood. Join the SpreeConf Turntable.fm room and help us DJ the evening with some of your favorite tunes.

After Party – Tuesday, May 21st

Join us after the conference for a few hours of drinking and lively debate courtesy of Rails Dog. The Spree team will be in attendance along with most of our speakers. The after party will take place on the rooftop of Lost Society, a boutique restaurant and lounge located in the U Street corridor. Keep your fingers crossed for good weather. Lost Society has a great view of the Washington, DC skyline.

There’s less than a month until SpreeConf and tickets are selling fast. Get your ticket now before we sell out. See you there!

Rails Dog Announced as SpreeConf Sponsor

Posted on April 22, 2013 by Lynne Brehmer

We’re delighted to announce that RailsDog, which specializes in Ruby on Rails web development, Spree e-commerce development, and UI/UX design, will be sponsoring the SpreeConf after party. SpreeConf is a two-day event taking place May 20th – 21st at the Studio Theatre in Washington, DC and features training on Spree as well as presentations from thought leaders in the e-commerce and Ruby communities including Sandi Metz, Adil Wali, and Eric Koester. The Rails Dog sponsored after party takes place the second evening of the conference on May 21st on the rooftop bar of Lost Society. The Spree and Rails Dog teams will be in attendance as well as most of our speakers.

Get To Know Your Fellow SpreeConf Attendees

SpreeConf is a great opportunity to get to know the Spree core team and to meet your fellow Spree community members. This year’s SpreeConf attendee list includes folks from all areas of our community – developers, marketing managers, design agencies, store owners, founders, and investors. We’ve built lots of networking opportunities into the schedule so you’ll have a chance to meet each other, have some fun, and chat further about your Spree projects.

Conference tickets are selling fast so make sure to secure your spot at SpreeConf DC before we’re sold out.

Top Five Reasons to Come Back to SpreeConf

Posted on April 18, 2013 by Lynne Brehmer

If you’ve attended SpreeConf before you know what a great experience it is. We want to make sure that you don’t miss out on the great lineup of speakers and events we have planned for the conference this year. As a thanks for your ongoing support, we’re offering past attendees a special discount off the regular SpreeConf ticket price. Email lynne at spreecommerce.com for the discount code.

#1 Learn About Spree 2.0

The Spree 2.0 release is just a few weeks away. SpreeConf offers the opportunity to talk with the Spree core team in person about how you can take advantage of the new Spree 2.0 features including: split shipments, the re-architecture of the Spree core, and internationalization improvements.

#2 Get Testing Advice from Sandi Metz

Tests are supposed to save us money. How is it, then, that many times they become millstones around our necks, gradually morphing into fragile, breakable things that raise the cost of change? Many times we write too many tests and we test the wrong kind of things. Sandi Metz’s SpreeConf talk will offer simple, practical guidelines for choosing what to test and how to test it.

#3 Put Rails 4 into Action

Rails 4 brings a bunch of really cool, new features including: 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.Nick Gauthier will show some of the ways he’s used the new Rails 4 features to build applications efficiently with the latest web technology.

#4 Get Lessons from the Field

eCommerce is one of the hottest and highest-growth spaces driving the world economy right now and while most companies attempting this space have quality products and a solid target customer, many of them will fail because they cannot execute quickly enough to beat their competition. Adil Wali will cover lessons learned scaling multiple e-commerce business, including ModCloth, one of the fastest growing companies in the world of fashion. Denis Ivanov will also offer advice about how to perfect your e-commerce frontend through SEO techniques and conversion rate management.

#5 Find New Clients and Developers

SpreeConf is a great place to meet store owners looking for help with their Spree stores. It’s also a great place to find developers to join your team. We’ve built lots of networking opportunities into the SpreeConf schedule so you can discuss future Spree projects together.

There are less than five weeks until SpreeConf and tickets are selling fast. Make sure to secure your spot at SpreeConf DC before we’re sold out.