Today was my first day at OSCON. This is the first time I've signed up for the tutorials at a conference. Monday and Tuesday are tutorials and then the actual conference sessions start on Wednesday.
This morning I went to a tutorial on Subversion API's. I had an idea that we might be able to use Subversion for Suneido's version control. Suneido currently has its own version control but it has a few limitations and there would be some advantages to using Subversion. The big hurdle, I realized during the session, was that Subversion assumes the working copy is stored in files in the file system. But Suneido stores the working copy in libraries in the database. One option would be to modify/extend Subversion to access working copies differently, but it doesn't sound like that would be easy. Another option would be to use the repository interface directly and ignore the existing client/working copy stuff. This would probably be the way to go, but still not easy.
In the afternoon I went to the Rails Guidebook tutorial by Dave Thomas (of Pragmatic Programmers fame) and Mike Clark. The big problem in this session was that so many people had their laptops plugged in that the breaker blew several times! Eventually they asked everyone to unplug. Most of the material I was already familiar with, but there was some newer Rails stuff and some explanations and background that were useful. It really got me thinking about implementing some of these things in Suneido. For example, ActiveRecord (or at least a simple version), migrations, scaffolding generation, rxml, etc.
For me, the best part of conferences is getting ideas. If I just wanted to learn some software I'd rather get a book and try it out. Of course, ideas are one thing, actually implementing them is a whole different story. Not that good ideas are easy and a great idea can be worth a lot. But unless you can implement them, they're not worth much!
PS. The other "downside" to my ideas is it tends to make my programmers groan and roll their eyes and say "oh no, not another epiphany!". This is, of course, because one of my ways to get ideas implemented is to get them to do it :-)