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RubyFringe Roundup: The Best Ruby Conference Ever?

By Peter Cooper / July 21, 2008

(Photo credit: Kieran Huggins)

RubyFringe - described as a "pricey, limited-attendance smoozefest" by Ruby documentation co-ordinator James Britt or as "an avant-garde conference for developers that are excited about emerging technologies outside of the Ruby on Rails monoculture" by the organizers - went ahead last week and appears to have been a significant hit. A small conference with a reasonably high ticket price (though far less than RailsConf Europe!), RubyFringe was set to be a very unique sort of conference with parties, drinks and out-of-hours entertainment laid on, and a limited number of tickets made available to ensure a more intimate gathering. The gamble appears to have paid off.


I'm not quite sure exactly what went down (I had to pull out of attending) but all references I've seen have been almost over-the-top with excitement and praise:

Soleone says: "Rubyfringe was amazing! So many good talks and great people. Best talk: Giles' presentation on computer generated music. Laughed my ass off!"

Rob Sanheim says: "rubyfringe was a blast, and now i can't sleep."

Lennon Day-Reynolds says: "RubyFringe after-party unsurprisingly turned out to be awesome."

Josh Merchant described it as "an amazing - inspirational - creative- experience."

Heck, there are far too many positive mentions to read on Twitter.

Mark McGranaghan of TechCrunch wrote directly to Ruby Inside:

RubyFringe was a huge win. Unspace set out to raise the bar for software conferences, and I think that they succeeded. I hope that RubyFringe does for web conferences what Rails did for web development; show others that there is a better way, that it does not require corporate sponsorship, and that it can fun, artistic, and productive all at the same time.


There are over 1000 photos from the event on Flickr.

Joey deVilla has put together some handy notes for most of the presentations.

Rowan Hick has put together a list of his RubyFringe highlights.

InfoQ attended the event and, I am told, will be putting up videos of several presentations on their site soon. Until then, the content of the talks is summarized here.

The next RubyFringe?

With such success, it's inevitable another RubyFringe conference will take place within the next year. If you're interested, Pete Forde suggests joining the Google group, and keeping an eye on for more info (although it'll be here at Ruby Inside too). It remains to be seen if the success of RubyFringe will encourage "avant garde" conferences elsewhere in the world or for non Ruby communities generally, but Ruby Inside wants to hear about them if so.


  1. bryanl says:

    I attended. It was pretty awesome. The range of talks was pretty crazy -- from jazz to ruby macros. It was something for everyone...(everyone means 'rubyists'). One of my favorite things is summarized here:

  2. Dan Grigsby says:

    One of my favorite parts of the conference was the number of "stories" the presenters told. Squinting to read projected Ruby has it's place, both here at RubyFringe and elsewhere, but hearing folks like John Lam and Damien Katz tell their stories was inspiring.

  3. James Herdman says:

    I was there! The people, the presentations, the food... it was all awesome.

  4. Soleone says:

    Indeed it was awesome! Kudos to the organizers, especially big thanks to Pete Ford, he's a great guy!

    Wait till the video of Giles' talk is online, guys. His presentation was quite long, and 20 minutes before it was finished, it was officially lunchtime. I think *no one* left, because we were all in awe!

  5. Rob J Sanheim says:

    It was a great show -- Unspace knows how to throw a party!

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