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Madison Ruby – A 2 Day Ruby Conference in Wisconsin With An Awesome Speaker Lineup

By Zach Inglis / August 10, 2011

Between August 19—20, 2011, Madison, Wisconsin plays host to thirty-seven speakers and panelists to discuss Ruby, OSS, and community in the form of Madison Ruby Conference. Speakers include Jeff Casimir, Giles Bowkett, Bryan Liles, Sven Fuchs, Steve Klabnik, Brian Hogan, Jacqui Cox, Lori Olson, Gerred Dillon, Barry Hess, and Chad Pytel amongst others.

I sat down with Jim Remsik, the driving force behind the conference, to discuss what awaits attendees.

Zach Inglis (for Ruby Inside): Hi Jim. So why Madison?

Jim Remsik: I've attended conferences from Scotland to Phoenix and Orlando to Seattle. Everywhere I go I wind up talking with folks and thinking they would love Madison if they ever had a reason to visit. Jen, my wife and I talked it over, and we decided to bootstrap and organize the conference from Jacksonville, FL where we lived at the time. Since then the details of the conference have cemented and we relocated back to Madison full-time.

Madison gets associated with Wisconsin's Dairy image and most people think cheese or maybe beer. Once you've spent time here you realize this is an intelligent, progressive, and motivated town, and we wanted to share that with people. We are not letting go of our roots; in fact, we have a few speakers in our lineup to share their experience with those iconic elements of our culture. Local Brewmaster Rob LoBreglio (Great Dane Pub & Brewery), Master Chocolatier Gail Ambrosius, and Jeanne Carpenter (Dairy Business Innovation Center) will all share their experiences in a forty-five minute slot we've titled "Local Flavor".

Jim Remsik

Is there a large Ruby community in Madison?

Yes and no. There are a few Ruby shops in town and a few well-known products that formed in the Madison area. Zencoder, a Y Combinator alumnus formed here as did who still operate out of neighboring Middleton, WI. Madison is the seed of local government and Ruby is represented in applications such as the Circuit Court Automation Project (CCAP) and various other roles throughout government.

There is a sizable number of Rubyists here, but we felt that many of them weren't attached to the community. What better way than to bring the community to them? Our presenters include a lead developer on JRuby (Charlie Nutter), Hackety-Hack and Shoes maintainer (Steve Klabnik), and the dynamic-duo behind the continuous integration in the cloud phenom TravisCI (Sven Fuchs and Josh Kalderimis).

Locals of the past, present (and hopefully future) are also being represented on stage. Jon Larkowski who is a UW-Madison Graduate will be give attendees the lowdown on testing while local Matt Margolis will share the trials and tribulations of Scripting Vim with Ruby, and Brian Hogan talks about building gems from scratch.

Jim Remsik

What will surprise attendees the most about Madison Ruby?

Honestly, it will probably be the venue. Overture Center for the Arts is a stunning complex, and we're taking advantage of all they have to offer. From breakout rooms to the three-hundred-and-fifty-seat Playhouse Theater to the after-party at the rooftop sculpture garden of the adjacent Madison Museum of Contemporary Art there is little space we won't be using.

Other than the stunning venue, the number and variety of speakers, and the incredible after-party. I think the biggest remaining surprise will be the time allotted to digest sessions. Madison Ruby adopted the Nordic Ruby format of thirty-minute talks followed by thirty-minute breaks with a few exceptions. This is intended to allow discussion about the topic of the last session or just generally getting to meet and interact with fellow attendees. At the end of the day that is what conferences are all about, connecting with people.

Jim Remsik

Madison Ruby is during the weekend of August 19th-20th. It is looking to be a popular event, so book your tickets now to join one of the most innovative Ruby conferences this year.


  1. Robb says:

    Oh well at least we have MagRails coming up...

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