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Ottawa Group of Ruby Enthusiasts (OGRE)

January 26, 2006
Ruby on Rails

Last night a group of us here in Ottawa, formally known as OGRE (Ottawa Group of Ruby Enthusiasts), got together for a few hours to chat about some new things happening locally and to generally “get out of the house” (at least that was a good part of my reason for going – when you’re working for yourself, its very easy to get stuck in “work all day and never leave the house” mode)

Here’s a few notes, observations and questions:

  • I met a number of pretty cool people once the socializing part of the evening started (you know – the socializing part; where everyone starts talking shop to each other, even though they are actually away from the shop and have a chance to talk about something else?)
  • Tobias and I finally had a chance to meet after a few email exchanges and not being able to find a time to get together. I became familiar with Tobias’ work when I found Hieraki which a top secret group of us were going to use for a top secret project but ended up not doing for top secret reasons.
  • If you were there, feel free to leave a comment so that I can put blogs to faces.
  • I was absolutely amazed that in the entire room, nobody was snapping photos to put up on flickr. Shocked. I don’t know what to make of this. Did everyone just leave their cameras at home expecting that someone else would have theirs so they didn’t have to worry about bringing their own? Wierd.


Tobias, Justin Palmer, Daniel Weinand, and Scott Lake of JadedPixel shared some of the ideas and strategy behind their upcoming product Shopify – a hosted e-commerce solution using Ruby on Rails. While I didn’t hear much of the discussion, what I did hear sounded promising and exciting. What I found interesting was that they are taking the time to do it right, rather than rushing to get their product “out there” – certainly a different approach than the bad old days, when almost everything was rushed in order to be “first to market.” We all know where that got us.


I also found it interesting to see how a particular technology was a motivator for people to come together. This has been going on for years. You see Linux User Groups all over the world, and loads of other groups that unite around a language or framework.

I wonder aloud – why doesn’t this happen more for other areas of interest like Web Standards and Accessibility? Or does it happen and these groups are just “hidden” from view? I’m thinking of groups like the Web Standards Group primarily. I know we have WebStandards.TO, but I’m not aware of any other groups like this in Canada, and certainly not in the Ottawa area.

What is it like where you are? Are most of the small ad hoc communities and user groups language based? or are there groups of people interested in web standards, accessibility, usability, user experience in your area?

7 Responses

Comment by Jonathan Snook — Jan 26 2006 @ 7:05 am

I’ve just miffed that I’ve missed two events now because I’ve been busy. Here’s hoping I can make the next one!

Comment by Jeff Smith — Jan 26 2006 @ 8:56 am

I’ve found that user groups are pretty much non-existant in my area, which is a real shame, because we have some great talent here in Edmonton.

Comment by Scott Lake — Jan 26 2006 @ 3:59 pm

I was at the meeting last night and I have to agree with Derek, it was weird that no one was took pictures to upload them to Flickr. Today you dont even notice it anymore. In fact, we so often use flickr to document events in our lives that now it seems weird when you dont. It wasnt until Justin and I were walking home that he remembered his camera so we documented some icicles instead.

Comment by Greg — Jan 28 2006 @ 12:48 am

I’m an Ottawa native living in Toronto. There was a meetup this past Tuesday, Jan 24 … weather was sort of crummy so not much of a turn out but a good time regardless (thinking the beer played a part in that). I’m entertaining thoughts of moving back to Capital City sometime in the spring or early summer and would be more than interested in getting an Ottawa-based standards group going, or at least making myself known at other web meetups. I’ve been ooking forward to meeting the “capital crew” for a while — primarly because with the exception of you, Derek, and Jonathan Snook I didn’t think there was anyone in Ottawa that cared about standards et al …

Comment by Bronwyn — Jan 29 2006 @ 10:33 pm

I’d certainly like to meet other Ottawa people who are interested in user experience and so on! If anyone wants to meet up, you can write me at arndis at gmail dot com.

Comment by Matt Rose — Feb 04 2006 @ 10:57 am

I live in ottawa, and I recently picked up ruby. Is there a mailing list or some way I can get notified of the next meeting?

Comment by Justin Palmer — Feb 06 2006 @ 3:08 pm


Just wanted to say (even if a little late) that it was great meeting you and the rest of the OGRE. I had a blast while I was in Canada! Hopefully I’ll make it back to Canada again and we can grab another beer (or three).. ;-)