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Interview with Dave Thomas – Advanced Ruby Workshop

Monday, January 20th, 2014

Dave Thomas is one of the keynote speakers at Agile India 2014. Many of you might know him  as one of the 17 original authors of the Agile Manifesto or the founder of Agile Alliance or the person who brought Ruby programming language to the western world or the co-author of The Pragmatic Programmer or the co-founder of Pragmatic Bookshelf.

Dave Thomas

Besides the keynote, Dave is also running a one-day workshop about the advanced features of Ruby 2.0.

Dave Thomas Books

We did a short interview with him to understand his views about Ruby and programming in general.

1. Tell us a little bit about your first introduction to Ruby? What was your reaction?

I am a programming language nut. I love trying new languages. Back in the 90’s, I’d download languages from Usenet (ask your parents) and play with them—normally several a week.

Back in 1997 or ’98 I downloaded Ruby. I think it was version 1.4.

Normally when I try a language, I stop after an hour or so. Very few are different enough to warrant the time. With Ruby, I was still playing hours later. At the end of the day, I called my business partner Andy Hunt and told him he should try it too.

And I’m still using it today.

2. How do you think Ruby has changed the way we program today?

I think Ruby has done several things.

First, the Ruby community has really lead the way with  testing. Andy and I were among the authors of the Agile Manifesto, and so we helped spread the word about Ruby among the early Agile crowd. In turn, those folks used Ruby to experiment with agile concepts. The result is that the Ruby world probably has more commitment to testing than any other language.

Second, I think Ruby has shown that dynamic languages can be used in the real world. In the early 2000’s, there was a lot of skepticism—sure these “scripting languages” were fun, but to write real programs, you needed grown-up languages with type checking.

Of course, these people were wrong. They were wrong firstly because, at least back then, Java, their language of choice, was effectively dynamically typed—the majority of runtime objects were help in collections, and were untyped in those collections.

And secondly, they were wrong because type checking, at least as they meant it, didn’t really catch the kinds of errors people actually made.

So I think Ruby has made a fundamental difference to the way we see programming today.

3. What are the advantages of Ruby over other programming language?

It makes people happy.

4. After reading your book, Pragmatic Programmer, it changed the way I thought of my career as a developer. Recently Chad wrote another book, Passionate Programmer. How is it different?

Thank you for the kind words.

The Pragmatic Programmer was largely about programming—our advice was aimed at helping developers become better programmers.

The Passionate Programmer is a truly great book because it takes a different, and in a way more important, tack. It is not about programming. It is about  programmers. Chad writes about how you, as a programmer, can become a better, more rounded, and happier individual. Yes, it will make you a better programmer. But mostly it will make you a better person.

I think everyone should read this book (even non-programmers).

5. With power comes responsibility- How do you think the Ruby community is utilising the power of this languages responsibly?

We touched a little on this when we talked about testing and agility. But let’s flesh it out.

Let’s start with “with great power comes great responsibility.” That (I think) is a quote from Spiderman – Peter Parker’s Uncle is giving him advice. And look how happy that makes our hero. He is weighed down by the burden.

So, while the quote may be true, I don’t necessarily believe it is a good thing.

In general, great power is a burden – people with power constantly need to be exercising it or they feel that they are wasting a gift. It is also a curse, because people become scared of losing that power, and as a result tend to stagnate rather than try risky things. It is true of people, and it is true of communities.

So I’m proud of the Ruby community for taking a middle road. In general, I think that are pretty responsible and mature (with certain glaring exceptions :). But I also think that they remember to have fun. They do take risks, they do explore, and they do exhibit whimsy.

6. Are you happy with how Ruby, as a language and as a community has evolved? Where would you like it go?

I think I answered the first part of this.

The second part – well, I don’t think I have a direct answer.

You see, I don’t think programming languages are special things. They don’t exist because someone came up with a syntax, or because someone published a book.

Programming languages are simply tools. They let developers like us solve problems. The better languages help us to feel good while we are doing it.

So we need to be careful to avoid the trap of becoming religious about one particular language. We need to have the breadth to choose tools that are appropriate to the task at hand. Ruby is a particular tool, with strengths and weaknesses.

Maybe you’re a carpenter. After many years of searching, you’ve found a great hammer. It fits your hand, it’s the right weight, it drives all kinds of nails. And then you come across a screw.

There are two reactions to this. One is to say “my hammer is a great tool. Let’s see if I can adapt it to drive screws, too.” Maybe you weld a blade to it, or maybe you grind a ridge into the top that fits the screw slot.

Or maybe you go out and find a screwdriver.

That’s how I feel about Ruby. It is a fantastic tool, and one I still use daily. But I don’t want it to become something where developers say “I am a Ruby programmer.” Instead, I want to hear “I am a programmer, and I use Ruby in many jobs because it means I can deliver stuff better.”

So, what do I want Ruby to become? Anything that helps people be better developers.

7. What is the key takeaway from your Advanced Ruby workshop?

Ruby often seems magic. That’s part of the fun. But, in reality, the magic comes from some simple but subtle underlying principles. Understand this, and you master Ruby. And that’s where the _real_ fun is.

This workshop has limited seats and only few are left. Book early to avoid disappointments:

Agile India 2014 Conference Schedule

Saturday, January 11th, 2014

World’s First Agile Job Fair at Agile India 2014 Conference

Saturday, January 11th, 2014

Come, join the very FIRST Agile Job Fair in the World!

A platform dedicated for the Agile practitioners to meet their potential Agile employers.

Agile India Job Fair is being organised by Agile Software Community of India, a registered non-profit society. We have been running conference and other events in India since 2004. This job fair is on the very next day, after our international conference – Agile India 2014, which attracts about 1000 international participants.

Why a job fair?

Agile methods have become mainstream and they are here to stay. In India, many companies are having a hard time finding needles in the haystack .i.e. finding really good Agile practitioners from a whole lot of posers.

The few, really good practitioners out there, have a similar problem. Every company wants to hire Agile people, but are they ready? Do they really believe in Agile culture and even have an agile mindset?

Many practitioners want to talk to real people from the company to really understand the culture of the organisation and the nature of the work.

Browsing the classifieds or surfing the Internet or talking to headhunters (recruiting companies) can only get you so far.

To solve this problem, we are creating a first-of-its-kind, unique opportunity where job-seekers can meet several top Agile employers face-to-face under one roof, clarify their doubts, interview with potential companies and also socialise with other candidates.

Walk-In to explore a gamut of Agile career opportunities with the best Agile employers in India.

What kind of candidates would this event attract?

We have a database of 56,512 software professionals from top companies in India. We will market this event to all these folks. However, who will attend will largely depend on the kind of companies that will be participating to hire candidates. We would filter the companies, to make sure only top companies are part of this event and hence ensure that we would be able to attract really good practitioners.

What can a participating Company (Employer) do to attract participants?

Seeing is believing! So we would strongly suggest you give participants a glimpse of your work culture. May be setup a pair-programming station and project the programming session on a large screen. May be you can setup a story card wall. Showcase some the nature of problems your company is solving. Run a slideshow of pictures from your office. And may more. Just get creative!

What is the cost to participate?

This is a non-profit event. There are 2 major costs, the hall rental and the cost of setting up stalls. We would pass the actual cost to the companies. Our estimate is 35,000-50,000 INR per company. And we are planning to keep it free for Job Seekers (Agile Practitioners) to attend.

Exclusive Event: Get FREE agile career counseling and coaching from Naresh Jain, the founder of the Agile movement in India.

Sounds interesting? Fill the form to participate…Agile Job Fair

Agile India 2014 Confirmed Invited Speakers as of Sep 5th 2013

Thursday, September 5th, 2013

Online Registratrions open for all 3 Agile India Conferences

Thursday, September 5th, 2013

Register for the three existing conferences coming up in India:

1. Agile Goa 2013 – Our 6th Annual Conference in Goa
We’ve a superb speaker lineup. Check out the program
Limited seats available, register today at:

2. Agile Kerala 2013 – FIRST ever Agile and Lean Conference in Kerala. Check out our Planned Program
Take advantage of the Early-Bird pricing, register today at:

3. Agile India 2014 – Asia’s Premier and Largest conference on Agile and Lean Methods. Get an opportunity to meet Martin Fowler, Dave Thomas, Dave Snowden, Ash Maurya and many other thought leaders…

We launched the online registration on Sep 2nd at 10:00 AM. In a matter of 40 mins, the entire Super Early Bird Registration Slab of 100 tickets was completely SOLD OUT. This is the best response we’ve got in the last 9 years of organizing these conferences.

Don’t miss this unique opportunity to grab a conference ticket at these special, limited-time, attractive prices –

Agile India: 4 New Exciting Conferences Coming Up…

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

Agile Software Community of India is happy to announce 4 new exciting conferences.


* Agile Coach Camp is an unconference for Agile Coaches, Scrum Masters, Agile Trainers, Leaders, Change Agents and Mentors. (Last coach camp in June was completely sold out 2 weeks in advance. Since we had a waiting list of 43 coaches, we’ve organized another coach camp in July. Last few seats left – register today –


* Agile Goa 2013 conference is our 6th Agile Conference in Goa. It will be held at Taleigao Community Centre, Panaji.
Interested in presenting at the conference? Submit your speaker proposals before July 31st. More details:
We are also looking for program reviewers, if interested find details at


* Agile Kerala 2013 conference is the FIRST ever Agile and Lean Software Development Conference in Kerala. It will be held at Park Centre, Technopark Campus, Trivandrum.
Interested in presenting at the conference? Submit your speaker proposals before August 31st. More details:
We are also looking for program reviewers, if interested find details at


* Agile India 2014 conference is Asia’s largest & premier international conference on Agile and Lean Software Development methods. Unlike previous years, next year, each day has a specific theme. Also each day is a stand-alone event and participants can register for 1 or more days. We’ll limit the participants to max 500 on each day to ensure higher collaboration.
Based on consistent feedback, in 2014, we’ll focus on have more practitioners sharing their Case Studies and Experience Report.

** Day 1 – Scaling Agile Adoption
** Day 2 – Offshore/Distributed Agile
** Day 3 – Agile Lifecycle
** Day 4 – Beyond Agile

Currently we are forming the program team. You can apply before June 30th to be a reviewer.

Conference overview presentation: slideshare or PDF

Stay tuned for more…

Agile India 2014 – Call for Reviewers

Monday, June 17th, 2013

Agile India 2014 – Call for Chairs & Core Team Members

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

Agile Coach Camp Bangalore 2013

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

Agile Coach Camp Bangalore

What: Unconference for Agile Coaches, Scrum Masters, Agile Trainers, Leaders, Change Agents and Mentors.
When: 7th-8th June 2013
WhereHotel Ramada, Bangalore
Theme: True Essence of Coaching

Role of a Coach?
Many of us have embraced an agile coach’s role, but do we really understand what coaching is all about? How coaching is different from mentoring?
To help us learn about the true essence of coaching, during this Coach Camp, we’ve dedicated one full day to work with Judy van Zon, who is

Other Popular Topics for Day 1
  • Agile Estimation Techniques
  • Part-time vs. Full-time Coaching
  • Getting team buy-in
  • Enterprise Agility
  • Coaching == Leading by Example
  • Agile Fixed-bid Projects
  • TDD on Large, Legacy Code
  • Agile Adoption Patterns
  • Code Quality Metric
  • Performance Evaluation in Agile
  • Product Discovery & Story Mapping
  • Agile and Audits- Oxymoron?
  • Slicing User Stories
  • Agile Portfolio Management

Register online at

Agile India 2013 – Final Attendees Profile

Thursday, March 21st, 2013

Agile India 2013 Conference hosted a total of 904 attendees over the 4 days. These attendees represented the following 195 different companies:

99tests ABB IDC Accenture
Aconex India Pvt Ltd Aditi Technologies Aditya Birla Minacs IT services
Agile Developer, Inc. AgileFAQs Alcatel Lucent India
Alliance Global Services Allscripts Healthcare Solutions Allscripts India Pvt Ltd
Altair Engineering AppDev Aricent Technologies
ASCI Aspire Atex
Atlassian BA Continuum India Pvt Ltd Bank of America
BKTB Infosolutions Pvt. Ltd. BMC Software BNP Paribas India Solutions
Bwin.Party C-SAM India Solutions Pvt Ltd Centurylink Technologies India Pvt Ltd
CGI Inc Change Vision, Inc. Cisco Systems
Clear2Pay Cleartrip Cognizant Technology Solutions
Collabnet Software Pvt Ltd Comakers CommonFloor
Comviva Technologies ConceptBytes Consulting Consultant
Crest Premedia Crisp CSC
Curbralan Cybage Software Pvt. Ltd. Deinersoft, Inc.
Dell India R & D Dell International Services India Pvt Ltd Deloitte Consulting
Dev Bootcamp Digiata Digite Inc.
Directi Internet Solutions Pvt. Ltd. Direction Software Solution DuraSoft
Edventure Labs eGain Communications Enteleki Technology Solutions
Envestnet Asset Management India Pvt Ltd Equal Experts Ericsson
ESBU Exelplus Services Exilesoft Pvt Ltd
Fiberlink Software Pvt Ltd FICO India Fidelity Business Services India Pvt. Ltd.
Fidelity Worldwide Investment Fred George Consulting Freelancer
GE Appliances & Lighting GE Energy Management GE Healthcare
GE India GembaTech GSU
HCL Technologies Ltd Host Analytics Software Pvt Ltd Huawei Technologies
IBM India Pvt Ltd Independent Consultant Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur
InfoQ Infosys Limited Infotech Enterprises Limited
InMobi Ino software solutions InRhythm
Institut Agile Inteamo innovations IntelliGrape Software Pvt. Ltd.
Intense Technology Intergraph Consulting Pvt Ltd Intuit
Invision IVY COMPTECH John Deere India Pvt Ltd
JP Morgan Juniper Networks Khanyisa Real Systems
KulChitr Lean Mantra Leanpitch Technologies Pvt Ltd
Linda Rising LLC MailOnline Maxheap technologies
McAfee McFadyen Solutios McKinsey & Co
MEDIA iQ Digital Mindtree Limited Monsanto India IT
Moolya Software Testing Pvt Ltd MSCI Multunus Software Pvt Ltd
Napa Software Services India Pvt Ltd National University of Singapore Navteq India Pvt Ltd
NDS Services Pay TV Limited Ness Technologies India Pvt Ltd NIIT Technologies Ltd
Nokia Location & Commerce Novell Ostrya Labs
Pitney Bowes Software Pixelogue PM Power Consulting Pvt Ltd
Prowareness Pulse Energy Qualcomm India Pvt Ltd
Rakuten Ichiba Rally Software Development Reaktor
Renatus Consultants Rotary International Infotech Pvt. Ltd. S.I. Systems
Saab India Technology Sabre Holdings SAP Labs
Sapient SAS R&D, India Satyam
Schneider Electric India SCIT SCRUMguides
Sears Holdings India Shah Abdul Latif University Shop Smart Inc/
Shoptree Technologies Pvt Ltd ShuHaRi Agile Siemens Technology and Services
Siemens, CT DC AA Silver Stripe Software Simpthings
Societe Generale Software Artisan SolutionsIQ
Springer SSN College of Engineering Still Point Software
Stixis Technologies sumHR Support
Symphony Teleca Corporation Synerzip Softech Inida Pvt Ltd Tata Consultancy Services
TenXperts Technologies Tesco Hindustan Service Centre The Advisory Board Company
Thomson Reuters ThoughtObjectz LLC ThoughtWorks
Toboc International / Toboc Deals Transcendence Corporation U2opia Mobile Pvt Ltd
UNICOM UNOPS Valtech India
Valueinnova LLC Velammal Engineering College Visteon
VMware India Volvo India Pvt LTd Walmart Global Technology Services
Waseda University Watchy Wipro Technologies
Xicora Consultants Yahoo India Pvt Ltd Yellowtail Software
Yodlee YourBus Zenbilling

We had participants with 320 different roles at the conference:

Account Manager Advisory Technical Analyst Agile & IT Process Consultant
Agile and Lean Coach Agile Coach Agile Coach and Lead Engineer
Agile Coach and Scrum Trainer Agile Coach/Scrum Master Agile Consultant & Coach
Agile Head Coach Agile Project Manager Agile Strategist & Coach
Application Development Lead Architect Assistant Manager – Quality
Assistant Professor Assistant Vice President Associate
Associate Architect Associate Architect – QC Associate Manager
Associate Manager Development Associate Principal Architect Associate Professor
Associate Project Manager Associate Software Developer Associate Test Architect
Associate Vice President Blackbelt BUSINESS ANALYST
CFO Cheif Consultant, Agile Coach and Trainer Chief Architect & Head – Central Architecture Group
Chief Manager Chief Project Officer Chief Technical Lead
Chief Technology Officer Client Principal Co-Founder
Co-Founder & Managing Director Co-Founder and CEO Coach
CoE Lead – Agile SW engg and Web Technologies Commander Consultant
COO CTO Delivery Manager
Delivery Manager – Testing Deputy General Manager Designer/Founder
Developer Development Engineer Development Manager
Development Team Lead Development Vice President DGM
Director Director – Engineering Director – Enterprise Architecture & Core Technology
Director – Product Development Director – Products Director – Quality
Director – Software Development Director and Software Architect Director Engineering
Director ePlatform Development Director of Enterprise, Enterprise Applications Director of Programme Management
Director Sales Director Software Engineering Director, India Sales
Director, Product Marketing Director, Wireless Division Engineer
Engineering – Director Engineering Best Practice Specialist Engineering Lead
Engineering Manager Engineering Sr Director Enterprise Agile Coach
Enterprise Agile Coach, Delivery Manager Enterprise Architect EVP & CTO
Executive Manager Expert Software Engineer Founder
Founder, Director Free Agent Function House Head
General Manager General Manager – PMO General Manager – Quality
General Manager – Software Development Globla Operations Director Group Development Manager
Group Manager Group Manager – Consulting Group Manger
Group Product and Technology Director, Technology Group Program Manager Group Project Manager
Group Technology Director, Technology Head – Enterprise Architect Head – India Consulting
Head – IT Quality & Tools Head – Quality & Process Head – Tools Group
Head – IT,Defence and Aerospace markets Head Marketing Head of Engineering
Head of Project Management Head Product Manager – Partner Management HR Executive
ICT Development Team Lead Independent consultant India Sales Manager
Inside Sales Manager Integration Manager IT Architect
Lead – Development and Testing Lead Analyst lead application developer
Lead Business Analyst Lead Consultant Lead Developer
Lead Engineer Lead Enterprise Architect Lead Executive Quality
LEAD HR Lead Product Develper Lead Programmer
Lead Software Architect Lead Software Developer Lead Software Engineer
Lead Software QA Engineering Lead-Quality Assurance Lead-Software Engineer
Leader Engineer Lecturer Management and Organizational-design Consultant
Manager Manager – Projects Manager – QA
Manager – Software Development Manager – Software Engineering Manager – Software Quality Engineering
Manager Projects Manager Sales Manager, OPERATIONAL EXCELLENCE
Manager, R&D Program Management Managing Director MANAGING DIRECTOR & CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
Managing Director & Chief Technology Officer Manual QA Engineer Market Principal
Master Shifu Mentor-Coach MTS
Offshore Development Manager Operations Manager Owner
Partner PhD Student Portfolio Manager
Practice Head – Microsoft and Agile Transformation Services Practice Lead – QA Pre-Sales Consultant
President Principal Principal Agile Coach
Principal Agile Coach & Manager-Consulting Principal Architect Principal Consultant – QA
Principal Consultant & Agile Coach Principal Software Engineer Product Architect
Product Developer Product Development Manager Product Lead
Product Manager Product Manager, Platform & Analytics Product Owner
Product Owner – Non Functional Requirement’s Product Owner/Technical Lead Professor
Program Director Program Director – BSC Program Manager
Program Manager – Core Map Products Program Manager – QA Program Manager Quality
Program Mnager – QA Project Lead Project Lead and Scrum Master
Project Manager Project Quality Manager Projects Manager
PSC PSE QA Engineer
QA Lead QA Manager QA Project Lead
QA Technical Lead Quality Manager R&D Director
R&D Lead Project Manager Release Manager Research Engineer
RESEARCH SCHOLAR Ruby on Rails Programmer SAP Practice Manager
SBU Head Scrum Master Scrum Trainer and Agile Coach
SE Self Senior Agile Project Manager
Senior Architect Senior Business Analyst Senior Consultant
Senior Developer Senior Director Senior Engineer
Senior Engineer – QA Senior Engineer, BSP Senior Engineering Manager
senior executive – quality Senior Group Manager Senior IT Project Management
Senior Lecturer Senior Manager Senior Manager – Consulting
Senior Manager – Creative Senior Manager – QA Senior Manager – Software Development
Senior Manager – Technical Group Head Senior Manager – User Experience Senior Manager Engineering
Senior Manager Technology Senior Manager- Test Engineering Senior Manager-Technical Group head
Senior Manager, Agile Coach Senior Member – Technical Staff Senior Member Technical Staff
Senior Performance Lead Senior Perogram Manager Senior Product Manager
Senior Program Manager Senior Project Lead Senior Project Manager
Senior Project Manager – Infosys Tools Group Senior QA Engineer Senior QA Lead
Senior QA Manager Senior Quality Assuarance Enginner Senior Software Architect
Senior Software Developer Senior Software Development Engineer Senior Software Engineer
Senior Software QA Engineer Senior Systems Analyst Senior Systems Specialist
Senior Technical Architect Senior Technical Lead Senior Technical Manager
Senior Technical Specialist Senior Test Manager Senior Vice President
Service Manager Software Architect Software Artisan
Software Developer Software Developer (Embedded System) Software Development Manager
Software Engineer Software Engineering Sr Mgr Software Manager
Software Manager – Technical Writing Software Product Manager Solutions Architect
Specialist SSE Staff Engineer
Strategy and New Product Development Student Supervisor Software Development
Systems Analyst Team Lead Team Lead – Product Affiliates
Team Lead Software Development Team Manager Tech Fellow
Technical Architect Technical Director – Software Development Technical Leader
Technical Leader / Scrum Master Technical Product Manager Technical Project Lead
Technical Specialist Technologist Test Engineer
Test Engineer Manager Test Lead TEST MANAGER
Tester UI Engineer Vice President
Vice President – Engineering and Site Operations Vice President – Global Agile Strategies Vice President – Value Engineering
Vice President, Process Design Consultant VP – Corporate Relations VP & GM – APAC Sales
VP Market Development VP Solutions

Participants from 25 different countries participated in the conference:

Australia Brazil Canada
China Denmark Egypt
Finland France Germany
Gibraltar India Indonesia
Israel Japan Malaysia
New Zealand Pakistan Russia
Singapore South Africa SriLanka
Sweden Ukraine United Kingdom
United States

They had the following Agile experience:

Number of Years of Experience

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