Belfast Ruby - Adhearsion with Sam Gaw

Tonight is the first Tuesday of the month, which can only mean one thing Belfast Ruby time.

I haven't made as many of these as I would like this year but have enjoyed every single one and tonight's was no exception.

We had one speaker with one topic of conversation, Sam Gaw talking about Adhearsion.

The Topic

If you haven't heard of Adhearsion before, don't fret, I don't think many in the audience had - I certainly hadn't. My cursory research (reading a few paragraphs from their Adhearsion homepage) had made me believe it was something like Twilio.

To clear things up let me quote directly from the Adhearsion website.

Adhearsion is a full-featured framework for the development of applications which interact with or control voice communications. It facilitates the creation of complex applications with ease, providing a simple API.

With that primer in place let me now write about Sam's talk.

The Talk

Sam started his talk by stating the following problem.

Most phone based menu systems suck, they suck really bad. Everyone has had to click through what appear to be an endless amount of menus, or try and speak clearly to a robot who was trained outside of Norn' Iron.

Voice Menus are created by this guyArtists Impression of a Voice Menu Creator

Sam argues that whilst the experiences can be bad, the underlying tech, when used right can be incredibly powerful.

Enter Adhearsion.

Sam showed how the adhearsion gem handles most of the heavy lifting when creating applications and how you can set up various telephony engines like Asterisk and FreeSWITCH with simple configurations.

After a run through of how things hang together it was time for a live demo. Unfortunately this went the way the majority of lives demos go in that it broke! I am presuming due to a Vagrant hiccup.

Luckily Sam was presenting to a bunch of developers, many of whom have had the exact same thing happen to them, no one cared.

In fact as a couple of people pointed out after the talk, watching someone debug something is fascinating.

Sam handled it brilliantly, and he was right to point out it was Melissa's fault ;-).

The talk ended with the standard “Any questions” and the audience took full advantage of this. It was clear Sam knew what he was talking about being able to answer each one intelligently.

You can see Sam's slides here.

The Sponsors

Without Sponsor's Belfast Ruby couldn't happen, so it only feels fair to mention them in my writeup!

Delicous Pizza is DeliciousDelicious pizza is delicious

The Craic

I really enjoyed tonight's event, it was great to catch up with some old pals, and of course it was fantastic to learn about a technology that was completely alien to me. Thanks to all involved for making it happen!

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