Jay Zimmerman, Founder of NFJS and mystery woman:
My thoughts on Ruby on Rails
I remember seeing J2EE for the first time and thinking: "This is way complicated."
I remember seeing .Net for the first time thinking: "This is a lot like J2EE."
Seeing Ruby On Rails for the first time I thought: "This is way, way cool." I was very impressed that testability is baked into the very DNA of RoR. I liked the way all projects had the same directory structure, so you can understand a new project quickly. I like how in Ruby projects everything is Ruby, you don't have to learn (n)ant, and then different xml config files. The config files are Ruby, not some XML syntax.
Dave Thomas did a great keynote speech. He compared methodologies to the Cargo Cults in New Guinea. Basically saying that we ape some process that worked well in the past, but don't really think about if it's appropriate for us today.
Bruce Tate did a demonstration of Test-First programming that was very impressive. Using the Test-First process, the audience created a Tic-Tac-Toe program that was remarkably simpler than would have been done with a classic UML design.
Some other tidbits:
The Spring Framework came from real developers solving their own problems which is a key to its success.
"Type Declarations are Programming Chains."
Many Design Patterns just go away in Ruby.