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It's happening in Bmore!

You'll probably notice a larger than normal concentration of geeks from around the world in and around downtown Baltimore this weekend, thanks to RailsConf, the annual conference for the Ruby on Rails web app design community. The conference, held June 7-10, will turn the Baltimore Convention Center into the center of the universe for devotees of the open source web application platform.

RailsConf, the largest Ruby on Rails conference in the world, will feature the usual array of keynote speeches, sessions, breakout sessions, tutorials, etc. that attendees who have shelled out around $1000 to register for the conference have come to expect.

For those without 1000 bucks to spare, there is an alternative, however, BohConf, the RailsConf unconference. Sporting the tagline "The Conf of Pleasant Coding, the unconf follows the model of Barcamp, etc. offering attendees a free and largely unstructured, agenda-free alternative to discuss and learn about new developments in the Ruby on Rails community.

The cheif architects of BohConf are Yair Flicker, John Trupiano and the SmartLogic Solutions staff. Flicker and Trupiano, co-founders of SmartLogic Solutions, a local custom web design firm that works largely with startups, marketing firm and large enterprises, wanted to offer something "a little more adhoc and that would speak to a different part of the [Ruby on Rails] community."

"We also wanted to do something that was free. So that people who can't afford RailsConf could come to town and still get a lot of the value that's inherent in having the smartest Ruby on Rails developers in one area," Flicker says.

BohConf will feature Barcamp-style sessions where anyone can speak and topics are suggested and then voted on by the attendees. It will also include a Community Code Drive, that'll bring the authors of some of the most popular open source projects in to chat about how they created their code.

There'll also be programming contest in conjunction with SpotCrime, a Baltimore-based startup with the nation's largest crime tracking database.

RailsConf organizers have given BohConf a room at the convention center and added the ability to register for the free conference on the RailsConf website. So far, about 100 people have registered for the three-day event.

According to Flicker, he hopes that BohConf will leave attendees with a positive take on Baltimore. The Rails community in Baltimore has gone the extra mile so conference attendees feel the love. "They've organized rides from the airport so people don't have to pay for taxis and they have a welcoming face to greet them at the airport, tell them about Baltimore and what they can do around town," Flicker says.

There's also 'Stay with a local," nine people who have opened their homes to conference goers. "I've got two people from Mexico staying at my house," says Flicker. "I hope we'll have interesting conversations. I haven't seen a city do this kind of thing for a conference before. We're really happy that RailsConf is coming to Baltimore, and we really want to welcome everybody and let them know that Baltimore is a cool town."

O'Reilly, the RailsConf organizer, chose Baltimore "because it is a beautiful, vital city with an active developer community in a very accessible location," says Gina Blaber, vice president of Conferences.

"We tend to move the annual RailsConf event to a new US location every year or two. We look for locations that have a lot of Rails developers in easy proximity, with an appealing city culture and easy access to national and international flights. Baltimore seemed like an excellent choice based on that criteria," she adds.

So far, about 1000 people have registered for the conference.
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