DHH demoed the new resources_scaffold generator which is going to be available in Rails 1.2.0 (or rather, he showed the code that it’ll generate). This ensures that default Rails controllers — and hopefully, custom code that is created using them as an example — will use decent URLs and the appropriate HTTP verbs. I’m not entirely sure I’m happy with the decision to use extensions (suffixes, such as .xml or .html) to distinguish content types, but maybe that’s a way that’s easier to grasp for most people. He also showed ActiveResource, the client side framework that — based on the conventions introduced by Simply Restful — allows for very easy usage of resources via HTTP. Again, I’m not totally convinved — I wonder how well this will work when the resources you are talking to are not implemented with Rails. In general, it all seems very much reduced to a RESTful mapping of ActiveRecord and thus C/R/U/D, which is not the best possible analogy.
The second part of the talk was about Simply helpful, currently available as a plugin for edge rails. This simplifies a lot of redundancy in view development by relying on conventions, e.g. for names CSS classes and IDs, forms etc.
He did not use a “real” presentation, just his editor and shell, which worked very well. Overall, a great talk.
Update: DHH’s post on European RailsConf, sadly no slides to download (as there weren’t any; then again, he could have put up the Ruby code ;-) )