Schedule: General sessions

Sessions at RailsConf will offer a wide variety of subject matters for all levels of Rails expertise.

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Location: Portland Ballroom 253
Dan Benjamin (Rails Machine)
Average rating: ***..
(3.55, 31 ratings)
Many of the people working with Rails are independent developers, doing freelance work or running small development shops. This makes sense - Rails provides a great framework for an indy developer, making it easy to work with with designers and other developers. Read more.
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Location: Portland Ballroom 252
John Lam (Microsoft), Jimmy Schementi (Microsoft)
Average rating: ***..
(3.09, 11 ratings)
Many folks have wondered whether IronRuby would run Rails. Our goal is to make a compliant, fast implementation of Ruby 1.8.x, and an important test is running Rails. Come to this talk to see how far we've come in making this happen. Read more.
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Location: Portland Ballroom 255
Andrea O.K. Wright (Chariot Solutions)
Average rating: **...
(2.04, 26 ratings)
In a blog post called "Multi-core hysteria and the thread confusion," DHH wrote that the advancement of "multi-core technology has caused quite a few folks to pontificate that the sky is falling for Rails because we're not big on using threads." He asserts that "It isn't." In this talk I will detail specific concerns community members have brought up and evaluate them, MythBusters-style. Read more.
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Location: Portland Ballroom 253
John Straw (YELLOWPAGES.COM)
Average rating: ****.
(4.17, 23 ratings)
YELLOWPAGES.COM is the 33rd-largest website in the U.S., handling millions of searches per day. In four months, four developers turned 125,000 lines of Java into 14,000 lines of Ruby and successfully launched a redesigned site. This session discusses the entire process, starting with project management and ending with the technical details of breakneck scaling. Read more.
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Location: Portland Ballroom 252
Micah Martin (8th Light, Inc.)
Average rating: **...
(2.47, 19 ratings)
Web applications have changed the world. Their amazingly powerful and can be slick as snot. The technologies behind them however, leave much to be desired. Come commiserate about aspects of web apps that are painful and talk about why. Then learn how the pain can go away with an introduction to using LimeLight with Rails: the open source client side tool alluded to at RubyConf 2007. Read more.
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Location: Portland Ballroom 255
Ezra Zygmuntowicz (EngineYard), Jamie van Dyke (Fear of Fish), Tom Mornini (Engine Yard)
Average rating: ***..
(3.30, 23 ratings)
What are the day to day issues with Rails hosting. How can they be solved, and what are the best practise methods of avoiding them. Engine Yard have extensive experience with high volume Rails applications and would like to talk about what we've learned and what our customers have learnt. Read more.
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Location: E145 - E146
Short adhoc presentations from the audience. Read more.
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Location: Portland Ballroom 253
Jim Weirich (Neo Innovation), Joe O'Brien (EdgeCase, LLC), Chris Nelson (Christopher Nelson Consulting)
Average rating: ****.
(4.58, 19 ratings)
Sit in like a fly on the wall with a development team as they wrestle with the issues of data modeling versus object modeling. This is not your standard slideshow and talk, but a dialogue presented in three acts in which we explore the themes of simplicity and modularity as an application is developed. Watch the sparks fly as old-school objects modelers meet the Rails generation. Read more.
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Location: Portland Ballroom 252
Stephen Midgley (Hutz.com)
Average rating: ***..
(3.10, 20 ratings)
Complex, multi-column, multi-table searches are beyond ActiveRecord's capability. This talk will explore strategies for building and maintaining complex search structures in Rails. Read more.
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Location: Portland Ballroom 255
Mike Mangino (Elevated Rails)
Average rating: ***..
(3.89, 18 ratings)
A brief look at how to create (and scale) a Facebook application with Rails. We'll start by creating a simple Facebook application using the facebooker rails plugin. From there, we'll see some tips to scale it up to handle millions of users. Read more.
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Location: E145 - E146
Yehuda Katz (Tilde Inc)
Average rating: ****.
(4.47, 19 ratings)
This session will cover using the DataMapper ORM with Ruby on Rails, and go in-depth into its code. It will focus on integration with Ruby on Rails and provide an advanced-level overview of the codebase and design philosophy. Read more.
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Location: Portland Ballroom 253
TJ Murphy (Mobian Design)
Average rating: ***..
(3.71, 14 ratings)
What happens when you combine the intensity and furor of gamers with the leverage of massive social networks? One slow rails app. This tutorial will walk through the tools used, the tools built, and the code written to bring Warbook from 1 to 1 million users and sustains it at over 16 million daily pageviews. Read more.
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Location: Portland Ballroom 252
Neal Ford (ThoughtWorks)
Average rating: ****.
(4.05, 19 ratings)
Using powerful languages makes the solutions in the GoF book look hopelessly complicated. This session shows how to solve the same problems concisely, elegantly, and with far fewer lines of code using the facilities of dynamic languages. Read more.
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Location: Portland Ballroom 255
Geoffrey Grosenbach (Ruby on Rails Podcast), Tom Preston-Werner (GitHub), Chris Wanstrath (Err Free), PJ Hyett (GitHub), Ben Curtis (Tesly, LLC)
Average rating: ***..
(3.79, 24 ratings)
Many developers have the skills to implement web applications, but often lack the business skills to make them profitable. Hear from five developers who have transitioned from full-time consulting to building financially profitable Rails-based web applications. Read more.
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Location: E145 - E146
Michael Buffington (Grasshopper Labs), Joe O'Brien (EdgeCase, LLC)
Average rating: ****.
(4.57, 7 ratings)
Join Michael Buffington and Joe O'Brien as they conduct an open conversation about what they consider to be the ideal situation: productive and exciting coding sessions while remaining as far away from other developers as possible. We'll cover what technologies and techniques work (or not), and why Michael thinks that the Xbox 360 is an unlikely, but essential, tool for effective remote pairing. Read more.
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Location: Portland Ballroom 253
Erik Kastner (Kickstarter)
Average rating: ****.
(4.00, 7 ratings)
Microapps are a great way to test ideas, blow off steam and vet your crazy ideas. No longer is the "one off" app the sole domain of PHP. Camping, sinatra, merb and friends let you create the next great microapp in hours and days instead of weeks and months. In this session, we'll examine a few live microapps and even code up the skeleton of one live. Read more.
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Location: Portland Ballroom 252
Gregg Pollack (Envy Labs), Ryan Bates (Railscasts), Christopher Haupt (Webvanta Inc.), Michael Slater (BuildingWebApps.com), Geoffrey Grosenbach (Ruby on Rails Podcast), Mike Clark (The Pragmatic Studio)
Average rating: ***..
(3.50, 4 ratings)
A Panel discussion with Gregg Pollack (Rails Envy Podcast), Ryan Bates (Rails Casts), Chistopher Haupt (Learning Rails), Michael Slater (Learning Rails), and Geoffrey Grosenbach (Peepcode & Ruby on Rails Podcast). Read more.
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Location: Portland Ballroom 255
Chris Wanstrath (Err Free)
Average rating: ***..
(3.93, 15 ratings)
There's more to launching an app than "cap deploy" -- the process is as much a psychological challenge as a technical one. So, what does it take to launch an app you can depend on and be proud of? With a handful of production launches under his belt, Chris will talk about the big picture and little details of bringing your site to life. Read more.
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Location: E145 - E146
Ryan Singer (37signals)
Average rating: ***..
(3.77, 26 ratings)
What's the UI process at 37signals like with respect to Rails? Ryan talks about how designers can move beyond HTML/CSS to take responsibility for views, helpers, and more. Read more.
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Location: Portland Ballroom 253
Michael Koziarski (Koziarski Software Limited)
Average rating: ***..
(3.53, 15 ratings)
Optimising a framework is a very different job than optimising your rails application. You can't just 'throw memcache in front of it' or disable features. The benchmarks you choose will also drastically affect your results, potentially leading to pointless optimisations that don't help real users. Read more.
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Location: Portland Ballroom 252
Scott Chacon (GitHub)
Average rating: ****.
(4.38, 26 ratings)
Git is a fast, efficient and distributed source code management system. This talk will demonstrate how Git works, how to use it to manage a Rails project and demonstrate Capistrano's new Git SCM module. Read more.
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Location: Portland Ballroom 255
Nathaniel Talbott (Spreedly, Inc.)
Average rating: ***..
(3.87, 15 ratings)
This talk is all about classic hacking: whipping up some code just because you can, because you "need" it, because you want to explore something new and shiny. We're going to talk about some specific hacks, talk about how to hack, and talk about why your boss, clients, and even your significant other should love it when you hack. Read more.
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Location: E145 - E146
Aaron Batalion (LivingSocial)
Average rating: ****.
(4.62, 8 ratings)
When working on scaling Rails to millions of users/day with complex personalization, caching becomes essential. This talk will cover edge caching, edge side includes (ESI) in Rails, and partial page caching higher in the stack. It will also cover ESI as a fabric for assembling heterogeneous applications into a single, cacheable web experience. Read more.
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Location: Portland Ballroom 253
Blaine Cook (Poetica), Bradley Taylor (Webster Clay), Ezra Zygmuntowicz (EngineYard), Jim Meyer (LinkedIn), Kevin Lawver (AOL)
Average rating: **...
(2.90, 10 ratings)
A diverse panel of experts offer their perspectives on scaling Rails apps in the real world and how the choices we make (or don't make) as developers affect our application's scalability. Read more.
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Location: Portland Ballroom 252
Ben Scofield (Heroku)
Average rating: ***..
(3.24, 25 ratings)
Designing RESTful systems in Rails carries many benefits. It is not a problem-free approach, however; there are accessibility issues with the standard conventions, and some functions are more difficult to map to resources than others. In this session, we'll look at solutions for these (and other) problems that arise when you take REST beyond the standard examples. Read more.
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Location: Portland Ballroom 255
Jon Dahl (Phronos)
Average rating: ***..
(3.91, 11 ratings)
Rails makes synchronous, request-driven processes a breeze. But what happens when you need to do something a little more complex or time-consuming? Enter asynchronous processing. We will investigate several ways to bring asynchronous processing to Rails, including cron, BackgrounDRb, AP4R, daemons, and Amazon SQS. Read more.
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Location: E145 - E146
Michael Latta (TechnoMage)
Average rating: **...
(2.30, 10 ratings)
The session is a nuts and bolts look at what is required to build a model that is composed of several other models and functions with Active Record. This "virtual" model can then be used like a regular model where the user wants to interact with the virtual view. Read more.
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Location: Portland Ballroom 253
Dave Fayram (Powerset, Inc), Tom Preston-Werner (GitHub)
Average rating: ****.
(4.00, 5 ratings)
Fuzed is a Rails server stack written in Erlang that can replace standard mongrel/reverse proxy architectures. It focuses on reliability and ease of deployment in distributed environments. Read more.
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Location: Portland Ballroom 252
Dan Manges (Braintree Payment Solutions), Zak Tamsen (n/a/)
Average rating: ****.
(4.43, 21 ratings)
Moderate to massively parallelized tests leveraging multi-core processors. ActiveRecord tests without a database. Yaml-less test data. With leveraging several open-source tools including DeepTest, Selenium Grid, and UnitRecord, in conjunction with techniques such as Model Factory, this session will show how to move beyond the plain vanilla Rails strategy to achieve optimal application testing. Read more.
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Location: Portland Ballroom 255
Scott Fleckenstein (Get Satisfaction)
Average rating: ****.
(4.22, 9 ratings)
The EventMachine gem provides a simple reactor-style programming model that allows a ruby programmer to quickly create servers, from custom DNS servers to full blown web-servers. In this talk I will explore the possibilities of this gem (pun intended) as well as present a set of tips you can take away to make your own servers better. Read more.
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Location: E145 - E146
Short adhoc presentations from the audience. Read more.
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Location: Portland Ballroom 253
Adam Wiggins (Heroku)
Average rating: ****.
(4.50, 4 ratings)
Got a Rails app that needs even more speed? Adam Wiggins of Heroku will show you how to write a custom Nginx module to bring blinding speed to critical code paths (and do HTTP tricks that can't be done with Rails and Mongrel alone), using examples from Heroku's own authentication module ngx_heroku_gate. Dust off your C compiler and prepare to push the limits of nginx, Rails, and HTTP. Read more.
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Location: Portland Ballroom 252
David Chelimsky (DRW Trading)
Average rating: ****.
(4.11, 19 ratings)
Learn how to write customer-facing executable user stories and scenarios with RSpec's new Story Runner. Read more.
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Location: Portland Ballroom 255
Ola Bini (ThoughtWorks)
Average rating: ****.
(4.00, 3 ratings)
In the beginning of 2007, ThoughtWorks decided to commit to using JRuby for several projects. This presentation will describe the results of this decision, including lessons learned and case studies. Read more.
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Location: E145 - E146
Justin Gehtland (Relevance, Inc.)
Average rating: ***..
(3.62, 13 ratings)
Exploring the evolving face of application development, building applications out of highly-granular pieces, and solutions out of highly-granular applications. We'll look at the architectures, technologies and techniques that enable this trend, from Ruby metaprogramming to single-sign-on providers to robust messaging infrastructure. And we'll do it in code. Read more.
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Location: Portland Ballroom 253
Philippe Hanrigou (ThoughtWorks)
Average rating: ****.
(4.29, 7 ratings)
Building, deploying, and maintaining large-scale Ruby on Rails applications involves overcoming a variety of vexing problems that prove difficult to investigate using just the traditional Ruby stack. This session features field-tested tools and techniques that can used to in these situations, focusing on techniques for DTrace, strace, gdb, lsof and XRay. Read more.
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Location: Portland Ballroom 252
Josh Susser (Pivotal Labs)
Average rating: ****.
(4.00, 14 ratings)
When Rails was first released, there was just one framework for testing applications and things were simple, if not always ideal. Now there are enough frameworks that choosing which one to use for your Rails application can be a difficult decision. This presentation provides a survey of the major Rails testing frameworks and compares their strengths and weaknesses in various areas. Read more.
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Location: Portland Ballroom 255
Adam Pisoni (Geni.com)
Average rating: ****.
(4.80, 5 ratings)
Skynet is an open source Ruby implementation of Google's Map/Reduce framework, created at Geni. With Skynet, one can easily convert a time-consuming serial task, such as a computationally expensive Rails migration, into a distributed program running on many computers. Learn how Geni uses Skynet to send email newsletters, build reverse indexes, invalidate caches, and run other asynchronous jobs. Read more.
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Location: E145 - E146
Patrick Farley (ThoughtWorks)
Average rating: ***..
(3.80, 20 ratings)
Rails programmers are Ruby programmers. In this session we'll cover some useful Ruby metaprogramming techniques as used in real world Rails applications and extensions. Then we'll dig deep into MRI and JRuby source to gain a nuanced understanding of the implementation details of Singletons, Mixins and the Ruby Object model. Read more.
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Location: Portland Ballroom 253
Hongli Lai (Phusion), Ninh Bui (Phusion)
Average rating: ***..
(3.83, 6 ratings)
Phusion Passenger (a.k.a. mod_rails) enables people to deploy their Ruby on Rails applications in an upload-and-go manner, very reminiscent of the PHP way of deploying, while retaining stability/robustness and performance. Read more.
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Location: Portland Ballroom 252
Obie Fernandez (InfoQ)
Average rating: ***..
(3.00, 1 rating)
Most Rails conference talks, programming blogs and reference books try to teach you the "right way" to code your applications. The thing is, the right way to code an application is very dependent on the context in which you are coding it. Unfortunately, most of us learn those things via cold, hard experience. Read more.
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Location: Portland Ballroom 255
Evan Phoenix (Engine Yard)
Average rating: *****
(5.00, 1 rating)
Come and chat with Evan Phoenix and other CS nerds We'll discuss Ruby, C++, whereever the conversation takes us. Read more.
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Location: E145 - E146
Neal Ford (ThoughtWorks)
Average rating: ****.
(4.00, 5 ratings)
Using powerful languages makes the solutions in the GoF book look hopelessly complicated. This session shows how to solve the same problems concisely, elegantly, and with far fewer lines of code using the facilities of dynamic languages. Read more.
Add to your personal schedule
Location: D135-136
Micah Martin (8th Light, Inc.)
Web applications have changed the world. Their amazingly powerful and can be slick as snot. The technologies behind them however, leave much to be desired. Come commiserate about aspects of web apps that are painful and talk about why. Then learn how the pain can go away with an introduction to using LimeLight with Rails: the open source client side tool alluded to at RubyConf 2007. Read more.
Add to your personal schedule
Location: D138-139
Stephen Midgley (Hutz.com)
Average rating: ****.
(4.00, 2 ratings)
Complex, multi-column, multi-table searches are beyond ActiveRecord's capability. This talk will explore strategies for building and maintaining complex search structures in Rails. Read more.
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Location: Portland Ballroom 253
Rick Bradley (OG Consulting), Yossef Mendelssohn (OG Consulting), Kevin Barnes (OG Consulting)
Average rating: *....
(1.90, 10 ratings)
As veterans of maybe the largest enterprisey Rails project ever written, the panelists have written, tested, re-tested, and rewritten more legacy and new-legacy code than your mom has baked nasty green-pepper-with-ketchup-and-saltines meatloaf. Now tackling Ruby and Rails projects as a consulting team, they share their "insights" on software and politics with the old guard, startups, and now you. Read more.
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Location: Portland Ballroom 252
Ezra Zygmuntowicz (EngineYard)
Average rating: ***..
(3.73, 11 ratings)
This is a talk about what it takes to *really* scale Ruby applications. We will not only examine all the aspects of hardware and web server configurations, we will also look at scaling the ruby interpreter itself. Including performance quirks of MRI and how Rubinius is set to fix a lot of these problems. Read more.
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Location: Portland Ballroom 255
Aaron Bedra (Relevance, Inc.)
Average rating: ***..
(3.25, 16 ratings)
Security is often overlooked when developing software. Take a look at the little demons that can haunt your application with security expert Aaron Bedra. He will show you not only tips and tricks to secure your Rails code, but guide you through the entire stack and help you make safe decisions as to how to maintain / run it. Read more.
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Location: E145 - E146
James Lindenbaum (Heroku)
Average rating: ****.
(4.25, 4 ratings)
Mongrel is a pure-Ruby webserver, so why aren't you hacking it? Learn how to tailor Mongrel specifically for your app with custom Mongrel handlers and GemPlugins. Extend mongrel_rails, run filters on static assets, or parallelize high-volume actions - all with direct access to your underlying Rails app. Get hands-on with well known Mongrel add-ons, plus app-specific examples from Heroku's code. Read more.
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Location: Portland Ballroom 253
Scott Barron (EdgeCase), Chad Humphries (Relevance, Inc.)
Average rating: **...
(2.91, 11 ratings)
Have you ever wanted to know why a part of your application is slow? How about how long that query takes? Wouldn't it be nice if you could get this type of information for ruby, rails, and the database server in one place? You can now with DTrace on OSX 10.5. We'll show you how to best use this tool-chain to debug, profile, and gather more information about your application. Read more.
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Location: Portland Ballroom 252
Matt Wood (Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute)
Average rating: ****.
(4.60, 5 ratings)
The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute played a central role in sequencing the human genome. Learn how we're using Ruby and Rails to quickly build and deploy the next generation of genomic sequencing platforms: high throughput, scalable, multi-petabyte. Twitter have it easy. Read more.
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Location: Portland Ballroom 255
Adam Keys (Gowalla)
Average rating: **...
(2.89, 9 ratings)
The best way to learn is by falling down. Unfortunately, some things you can only learn by falling down. Based on real world failure, find which parts of Rails sound good at first, but can get tiring once you use them a lot. Discover how to better interact with customers and teammates. Find out how to learn more, faster. All this without actually embarrassing yourself. Read more.
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Location: E145 - E146
Short adhoc presentations from the audience. Read more.
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Location: Portland Ballroom 253
Josh Owens (Four Bean Soup), Chris Selmer (Intridea, Inc.)
Average rating: ****.
(4.00, 4 ratings)
So you want to build a Rails app quickly? Competitors in the Rails Rumble had 48 hours to design, develop, and deploy a complete application. We’ll take you through the development processes of the winning four-man Tasty Planner team, and compare it with those of the one-man Your Pet Records team. We’ll discuss techniques, short-cuts, helpers, and Rails plugins that helped speed development. Read more.
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Location: Portland Ballroom 252
Chad Pytel (thoughtbot, inc.)
Average rating: ****.
(4.19, 16 ratings)
This talk will cover several of the more advanced Active Record features by presenting code samples and walking through a best practice refactoring of that code, using the tools given to us by Active Record ('the Rails way'). Some of the topics that these refactoring examples will touch on include Callbacks and Observers, Complex data models, Validations, and other tips, tricks, and gotchas. Read more.
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Location: Portland Ballroom 255
Average rating: ****.
(4.00, 1 rating)
Open Discussion with JRuby Developers and Users Read more.
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Location: E145 - E146
Nick Kallen (Pivotal Labs)
Average rating: ****.
(4.91, 11 ratings)
Ever wondered how has_many, belongs_to, etc. really work? The secret sauce is the Proxy pattern, whereby one object acts on behalf of another, intercepting and transforming messages. In this tutorial, you will learn advanced features of ActiveRecord associations, how to monkey-patch these associations to do your bidding, and how and when to implement the Proxy pattern in your own metaprograms. Read more.
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Location: D135-136
Andrea O.K. Wright (Chariot Solutions)
In a blog post called "Multi-core hysteria and the thread confusion," DHH wrote that the advancement of "multi-core technology has caused quite a few folks to pontificate that the sky is falling for Rails because we're not big on using threads." He asserts that "It isn't." In this talk I will detail specific concerns community members have brought up and evaluate them, MythBusters-style. Read more.
Add to your personal schedule
Location: D138-139
Geoffrey Grosenbach (Ruby on Rails Podcast), Tom Preston-Werner (GitHub), Chris Wanstrath (Err Free), PJ Hyett (GitHub), Ben Curtis (Tesly, LLC)
Average rating: ****.
(4.00, 3 ratings)
Many developers have the skills to implement web applications, but often lack the business skills to make them profitable. Hear from five developers who have transitioned from full-time consulting to building financially profitable Rails-based web applications. Read more.
News and Coverage
co-presented by Ruby Central, Inc. O'Reilly
  • Engine Yard
  • Sun Microsystems
  • FiveRuns
  • GotThingsDone
  • Heroku
  • ThoughtWorks
  • Atlantic Dominion Solutions
  • Blue Box Group
  • CodeGear
  • E-xact
  • ELC Technologies
  • EnterpriseDB
  • GemStone Systems
  • Intridea
  • Morph Labs
  • RightScale
  • TechRepublic

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Program Ideas

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