Regional Ruby Conferences in 2008

What’s interesting about the Ruby community is that there are a lot of regional Ruby conferences. I think this is at least partly due to Ruby Central’s Regional Conference Grant Program. Which is great because smaller conferences provide you more opportunities for connecting with fellow programmers. There’s so many though that I thought I’d run through them all here. Here’s all the ones I spotted for 2007 and hopefully they’ll all be back in 2008. I’ve put in the confirmed 2008 ones in bold.

February 8-9, 2008(Sadly already over.)
Orlando, FL

Philly Emerging Technologies for the Enterprise
March 26-27, 2008(The Ruby “track” is only March 26.)
Philadelphia, PA

MountainWest RubyConf
March 28-29, 2008
Salt Lake City, UT

Silicon Valley Ruby Conference
April 2008? (last year it was April 21-22, 2007)
San Jose, CA

GoRuCo (sold out)
April 26, 2008
New York City, NY

Ruby Hoedown
August 2008? (last year it was August 10-11, 2007)
Raleigh, NC

Lone Star Ruby Conference
September 4-6, 2008
Austin, TX

Ruby East
September 2008? (last year it was September 28, 2007)
Fort Washington, PA

Any out there that I missed?

Update: Added acts_as_conference and Emerging Technologies for the Enterprise, which is done by the same folks who brought you Ruby East.

2007 Training in Review

Last year I took a lot of training. In the past, my employers would usually send me to one training event. Sometimes I would get to go to two if times were good. Other times, there was no training budget.

In 2007, I was self-employed as the sole member of Happy Apps LLC. So being in charge of the training budget (well actually the entire budget), I went to six training events:

  1. Rails Edge in Reston, VA
  2. Advanced Rails in Chicago, IL
  3. WWDC in San Francisco, CA
  4. RailsConf in Portland, OR
  5. Advanced Ruby in Reston, VA
  6. RubyConf in Charlotte, NC

So that’s 2 Ruby conferences, 3 Rails conferences, and one Cocoa conference. I actually was scheduled to go to another Cocoa conference, C4[1] over in Chicago, but had to cancel due to personal reasons.

So which ones were good and which ones were bad? I think they were all quite good. Obviously, if you want to make Mac applications like I do with WebnoteHappy, you’ll want to go WWDC.

In terms of being a good Ruby on Rails developer, I’d have to say that assuming that you already have a good background in object-oriented programming and web development, have worked through a beginning Rails book like Agile Web Development with Rails, then you really should take both the Advanced Ruby course by Pragmatic Studio, followed by the Advanced Rails course. Both taught me quite a lot of things that I hadn’t known before.

Once you’ve got that though, I think its important to keep up with the latest in techniques and also be involved in your programming community. I think The Rails Edge Conference is top notch in keeping up with what’s new in the Rails world. I hope that a date is announced soon though – I don’t see one for 2008 as of today.

RailsConf is also good for keeping up with Rails, but I think is maybe even better for just being involved in the Rails community. There were a lot of opportunities, scheduled and unscheduled, to get together with fellow RoR developers and you could sense that Rails is really changing the way that web development is being done.

RubyConf on the other hand reminded me that Ruby is not just about Rails. There’s certainly been a lot of growth of Ruby use because of Rails, but there is a deep and wide pool of talent that has fallen in love with Ruby. It was interesting to see all the different uses that people have made of Ruby. And it was definitely an honor and a pleasure to meet Matz in person. In the end, it does seem like most people who are doing Ruby full-time are making their money with Rails.

I’m trying to plan out my training in 2008 now. So I’m curious to hear what good conferences or classes other people went to in 2007. Also if there were any bad ones.

What tools do you use for Ruby on Rails?

I’m curious to see what people are using for Ruby on Rails development. I know there are a lot of products coming out nowadays – 3rd Rail from Borland, IntelliJ IDEA (my preferred IDE before Eclipse when I used to Java/Swing) does Ruby now, NetBeans is positioning itself as a Ruby IDE, Aptana, Eclipse/RDT, etc. But I don’t have enough time to try them all out.

I personally use TextMate. It’s simple but powerful. I do a fair amount of work on the command line too, using rake tasks and then shortening up my most used rake tasks or ruby scripts with bash aliases.

Is there something out there I should try that would work better? I’d preferably like something still lightweight, makes it easy to run tests and navigate files, but supported code completion, refactoring, and some sort of double-clicking to find the declaration of a method.

So… what tools do you use for Ruby on Rails?

rcov 0.8.1 fixes Safari 3 colorization

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I hope you enjoyed time with your family and friends.

Well one new thing that you can be thankful for is rcov 0.8.1. This new version of rcov fixes the colorization problem with Safari 3, which by the way now affects Ruby programmers on 10.4.11, not just those of us on Leopard 10.5.0 – 10.5.1. Note that the WebKit team is hard at work fixing the old underlying problem. It does pay to report bugs.

Anyways, enjoy the new rcov and your turkey leftovers. The easiest way to get it if you already have rcov is to do:

sudo gem update rcov

or if you don’t already have it:

sudo gem install rcov

Related posts:


Ruby bugs on Leopard

Reinstalling RubyGems on Leopard

So you’ve got your nice shiny Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard install with all the Ruby goodies you need. Why would you want to reinstall RubyGems? Well the Ruby community moves fast and RubyGems is sort of like Software Update for Ruby. There’s also a lot more gems out there that Leopard doesn’t come with.

Oh and also you might try some things which break your local rubygems install. Like I did today after a failed attempt at updating to 0.9.5 using

sudo gem update --system

~>sudo gem list
/usr/bin/gem:23: uninitialized constant Gem::GemRunner (NameError)
~>gem list
/usr/bin/gem:23: uninitialized constant Gem::GemRunner (NameError)
~>sudo gem update --system
/usr/bin/gem:23: uninitialized constant Gem::GemRunner (NameError)
(uh oh)
~>gem update --system
/usr/bin/gem:23: uninitialized constant Gem::GemRunner (NameError)

Hmm.. that’s not good!

One more reason to update your RubyGems is that the 0.9.5 version just came out and Leopard comes with 0.9.4. And yet another reason is that after doing so, it seems like “sudo gem” and “gem” act the same now.

Now before we start, you should:

  1. Open up ~/.bash_profile in your favorite editor (create it if its not already there)
  2. Type in
    export GEM_HOME=/Library/Ruby/Gems/1.8
  3. Type in
    export GEM_PATH=/System/Library/Frameworks/Ruby.framework/Versions/1.8/usr/lib/ruby/gems/1.8
  4. Save ~/.bash_profile
  5. Execute
    source ~/.bash_profile

This makes it so that no matter what version of rubygems you have, you have access to the Apple-provided gems in $GEM_PATH and you’re able to install/update new gems in $GEM_HOME.

Now, download the latest version of RubyGems from

Finally, execute

sudo ruby setup.rb

There you go – enjoy your newly re-installed RubyGems! In the future, you should be able to just do a

sudo gem update --system

, but if that fails (which it did for me tonight), then you know how to re-install from scratch.

RubyGems 0.9.5 is now available

rubygems 0.9.5 was just released. It’s got quite a few new features, but the big one that’s bugged me for quite a while and I was going to fix but I never got around to it and now it’s finally here is: *drumroll please*

Automatic installation of the gem that is appropriate for your platform.

So now you won’t see a listing like:

gem update fastthread
Updating installed gems…
Attempting remote update of fastthread
Select which gem to install for your platform (universal-darwin9.0)
1. fastthread 1.0.1 (ruby)
2. fastthread 1.0 (ruby)
3. fastthread 1.0 (mswin32)
4. fastthread (ruby)
5. fastthread (mswin32)
6. Skip this gem
7. Cancel installation

Instead you’ll see:

gem update fastthread
Updating installed gems...
Attempting remote update of fastthread
Building native extensions.  This could take a while...
Successfully installed fastthread-1.0.1
1 gem installed
...more lines about documentation and dummy_dump and rb_queue_*...
Gems: [fastthread] updated

Ruby bugs on Leopard

I installed Leopard about 2 weeks ago and been doing Ruby on Rails development on it since. I encountered some bugs initially, but I managed to conquer them. I think Leopard’s great for doing RoR development. It seems faster, it seems more polished, its just very pleasant to do work in.

Here’s what I learned though about Ruby in Leopard:

1. Don’t update rubygems. It’s already up-to-date (at least as of this writing.) If you do a “gem update –system” on Leopard, you will be sorry. Because you’ll suddenly break the careful packaging Apple has done with Ruby and reduce the 20 or so gems (not sure the exact count) available down to 0.

There’s a simple fix for this though – what happens is that the places where it looks for your gems gets mixed up. What you need to do is go into your ~/.bash_profile and enter in:

export GEM_HOME=/Library/Ruby/Gems/1.8
export GEM_PATH=/System/Library/Frameworks/Ruby.framework/Versions/1.8/usr/lib/ruby/gems/1.8

Then do a

source ~/.bash_profile

The reason why this fixes it is that GEM_PATH now points to the place where Apple put all the system-provided gems. GEM_HOME points to where Apple originally set to where you install gems. Note that GEM_PATH is “read-only” whereas GEM_HOME Is “read-write” by rubygems. Oh and if you do this, you can safely update rubygems. :)

2. rcov is broken, but you can fix it.

For some reason, rcov out of the box will include some of its own classes in the reports when profiling functional tests on Leopard. This throws off the coverage statistics.

The fix for this is to include “#{ENV[‘GEM_HOME’]}” in the rcov exclusions parameter –exclude.

3. rcov reports don’t show up colorized in Safari 3.

Now once you’ve got rcov working, when you click on a class to see what lines are covered and which aren’t, you find out that you can’t on Leopard. Well that’s not exactly right. It turns out that its Safari 3. I also tested it out with the latest WebKit nightlies – its broken too. I looked into this and found that some old rcov 0.4 reports on the web render fine, but the newer rcov 0.8 ones don’t. It seems Safari 3 doesn’t like some of the internal anchor tags.

The workaround for this is to use any other browser for viewing your rcov reports on Leopard. If you’re using Firebug, you might as well use Firefox. Otherwise, Camino is good. Or if you’re the power user type, OmniWeb. Cutting edge – Shiira. I could go on and on – I’m a browser fanatic. Did I mention Flock?

Anyways… Ruby development on Leopard is actually quite good. These 3 bugs were not that big a deal. I think its great that Leopard ships with all sorts of Ruby goodness built right in. And I didn’t even mention RubyCocoa or anything like that.

Any other tips for Ruby development on Leopard? Let me know via a comment!

I’m at RubyConf 2007

RubyConf 2007 is in Charlotte, NC this year. I’ve never been here before but its within driving distance from me. Its got a nice sized downtown with tall buildings. Sort of reminds me of a mini New York City in the south.

If you’re going to be at RubyConf as well, feel free to say hi – you can see my picture over at the Streamlined team page. Speaking of the Streamlined team, I know Justin, Stu, and Matthew will be there as well.