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The Mega RailsConf 2008 Round Up

By Peter Cooper / June 2, 2008


RailsConf 2008 - the primary conference for Rails developers - took place over the last few days (May 29th to June 1st, 2008). By all accounts, everyone had a great time, but not everyone could attend so here's a casual roundup of what happened.

The best overall "walkthrough" of the conference I've seen has been by Drew Blas who put together a great set of blog posts covering: Friday morning, Friday afternoon, Friday evening, Saturday morning, Saturday afternoon, Saturday evening, Sunday morning and Sunday afternoon. He even put together a final summary. Great work Drew! For Italian readers, RailsConfLive is a remarkable resource too. Alternatively, Gregg Pollack's set of videos, including "Railsconf in 36 minutes."



Quite a few informal interviews took place at the conference, mostly by the guys from GotThingsDone. Worth watching are Geoffrey Grosenbach, John Straw, Ola Bini, Ryan Singer, Joel Spolsky, David Heinemeier Hansson, Jeremy Kemper, and Chris Wanstrath.

Gregg Pollack of RailsEnvy also interviewed Obie Fernandez, Chu Yeow, Amy Hoy, Michael "Koz" Koziarski, David Heinemeier Hansson, Bruce Williams, and Ninh Bui.

Selection of Presentations

Note: You can download the presentation files used by some of the speakers from the official RailsConf site.

DHH Keynote: Thanks to Daniel Wanja, you can watch David Heinemeier Hansson's keynote presentation. It's a bit of a shaky video and only made up of extracts, so it jumps a bit too. I imagine a better video will be available soon. Essentially, DHH moves from technical concerns to becoming a self-help and health advisor.

RailsConf 2008 Welcome Keynote: The welcome keynote, featuring Chad Fowler, David Heinemeier Hansson and Joel Spolsky is up on YouTube.

Ruby Heroes: RailsConf 2008 marked the inauguration of the "Ruby Hero" award. The ultimate winners were Evan Weaver, Tom Copeland, James Edward Gray II, Ilya Grigorik, Yehuda Katz and Ryan Bates. You can watch the video of the awards presentation at Vimeo.

Getting Git: Scott Chacon did a talk on "Getting Git". It perhaps sets the record for number of slides at 520 covered in 55 minutes.

The Other mod_rails - Deployment with JRuby: Nick Sieger did a presentation about using JRuby to deploy Rails applications.

Pastie: Josh Goebel did a presentation about the popular Pastie source-code-pasting site.

Microapps for Fun and Profit: Erik Kastner talked about developing very small "microapps" using Rails.

Assembling Pages Last: Aaron Batalion presented on edge caching with Rails.

Advanced RESTful Rails: Ben Scofield covers the use of REST with Rails and includes lots of simple code examples. Perhaps the slides lack a lot of what happened in the presentation, but this seems like basic REST stuff than "advanced" so it's well worth a read even if you don't use REST yet.

Scaling Ruby from the Inside Out: Ezra Zygmuntowicz on scaling Ruby, and Vertebra a new "next generation cloud computing / automation framework."

Scaling Rails Panel: A panel of Blaine Cook, Bradley Taylor, Ezra Zygmuntowicz, Jim Meyer and Kevin Lawver talk about the issues when scaling Rails applications.

Railsconf in 36 Minutes: Not a presentation, but roving reporter Gregg Pollack went around and asked a lot of the presenters to summarize their talks in 30 seconds. It makes for a great summary of the conference. It features the interviews linked above too.

Lightning Talk Summaries: A summary of the lightning talks given at the conference.

The RailsConf Message Board


It seems to be a tradition at Ruby / Rails conferences to put up a big "message board" for people to write / graffiti on as they see fit. RailsConf 08 was no exception. Vinícius Manhães Teles has taken a great high-resolution picture of the board. Messages include promotion for a new Gem called gitjour, t-shirts and a crazy number of requests for Rails developers (, Engine Yard, AideRSS, Synaptic Mash, Grockit, XMinute and Intridea are all hiring!).


Rails 2.1 Launched: Rails 2.1 was officially launched. More about this on Ruby Inside in the next couple of days!

Passenger 2.0 - Now supporting Rack: Phusion announced that Passenger 2.0 (now supporting Rack!) and "Ruby Enterprise" 1.0 would be released today.

MagLev - A New Ruby VM: Avi Bryant and Bob Walker of GemStone revealed details surrounding their cutting-edge Ruby virtual machine, MagLev. Drew Blas posts with his opinions direct from the talk. Avi Bryant has posted some more detailed notes. Giles Bowkett steps it all up a bit.

TuneUp: FiveRuns announced TuneUp, a community-supported application performance profiling application.

Blog Posts

RailsConf Day 1 Wrap-Up by Dan Pickett

Quick RailsConf Update by Josh Susser. On the Joel Spolsky keynote: "If you missed it, count yourself lucky."

Railsconf Highlights by Nick Plante

RailsConf 2008 was killer!

RailsConf - the retrospective by Eric Gelinas

RailsConf 2008 Retrospective by Dary

RailsConf08: Meta-programming Ruby for Fun and Profit by Nate Murray

Notes from the JRuby Q & A by Nick Sieger


RailsConf photos at Flickr

RailsConf videos on Vimeo

Mentions of RailsConf on Twitter

Feel free to post any links, references, or notes of your own regarding RailsConf 2008!


  1. Aaron K. Hawkins says:

    I've written up some of my thoughts from attending RailsConf - if you're interested.

    Check out

  2. Dave K. says:

    DHH looks like a douche.

  3. Peter Cooper says:

    List of all the lightning talks, including links:

  4. AkitaOnRails says:

    I am actively doing a post-mortem series of posts at my blog. I've already written like 4 extensive posts and still more to come, including a series of lengthy audio interviews still to be edited.

    Please, if you understand portuguese, follow this link:

  5. topfunky says:

    I've posted the raw audio from a few interviews here:

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