It’s great to hear a conference open with the quote, “Open Source projects are partly about technology and massively about community” [David Brady, Ruby Rogues #51]. This was how Chris Mar introduced Spree Commerce to us, setting the tone for the two days of E-commerce, Ruby and Javascript related action at the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin. It went down as an event which showed the best of Spree, the hospitality of the Irish and the folly of missing this event!

Unfortuntely, due to work commitments I missed half of the talks, so this is an incomplete account. There were also a few gaps in memory due to a whiskey surprise (more on that later) and the occasional pint of Guinness, but that was to be expected :)

The Night Before

But first there was the small matter of pre-conference drinks to get out of the way. Tuesday was the night and Kehoe’s was the venue; doubling as a pre-conf party and a RubyIreland meetup to get the mix going. It served it’s main aim pretty well - introducing the jet-lagged attendees to a tasty pint of Guinness or two and each other. There was a very nice vibe about the place and some even turned it up a notch or two by heading down to a local improv comedy gig.


Day 1

The smell of hops always engulfs the Guinness Storehouse building where SpreeConf was being held. It’s a pretty unique experience and a pleasant assault on the senses. Once the lanyards were dished out, the coffee-infused developers sat down to @cmar’s intro to Spree Commerce and the community.

Next up, Gregg Pollack walked us all through one of his interactive Code School video/codecasts, “A Sip of CoffeeScript”. His incredibly soothing hypnotic voice is good for videocasts - as well as being easy on the ears for hangovers. After the talk, it was in a discussion with Benoit Curdy (@bcurdy) on Twitter that it finally hit me that CoffeeScript has shifted from “nice to have” to “must have” territory; as it makes classic Class-based Object Oriented development possible (or at least the appearance of it).

Unfortunately, that was my day 1 talks over. But for everyone else there was Testing Spree Stores and Extensions by M. Scott Ford and Intro to Backbone.js by Nick Gauthier to look forward to before a Group Tour of the Guinness Storehouse.

Night 1

99 Ice Cream

On the plus side I did make it back apres work - just in time for dinner. Two distinct groups emerged.

Group 1: the classy, wine-sipping, Indian-lovin gourmands who went straight to Jaipur on George’s St, which served up some incredible dishes. The crown jewel had to be the Lamb Chilli Fry - lamb cubes doused in tounge curling dry spices. Yum!

Group 2: the “keepin it real crew”, out on a hunt for Beshoffs Fish’n’Chips. Some got 99’s, some didn’t. But everyone made it back for the Github sponsored Lightening Talks that evening… and the SpreeConf whiskey…

The What?

That’s right - the Spree team had a specially customised Yellow Spot whiskey just for event. And it was smooth as Greg Pollocks voice! There must be one or two budding distillers in the Spree team. Maybe one day we’ll see the Spree Distillery make its debut! But in the meantime, the razorsharp Nick Gauthier had to navigate his way through a suprise desk of unseen slides for a ‘blind’ presentation. And navigate it he did!

The SpreeConf 2012 Dublin Whiskey

Phew… and that was just day 1… huzzah!