logo Boston Ruby Group


Past presentations ~ RSS

March 10, 2015

Advanced Capybara

by Eduardo Gutierrez

Capybara has allowed us to build complex and ambitious applications with the confidence that everything comes together in the user experience we're targeting. As the capabilities of the web have grown, interactions and behavior in our applications have become more complex and harder to test. Our tests become coupled to CSS selectors, fail intermittently, take longer and our confidence dwindles. In this talk, I'll go over best practices for working with a large capybara test suite and dig into APIs and options we can use to bring back the confidence Capybara initially gave us.

Don’t Worry Ruby, We Still Love You

by Chris Ball

With the rise of client-side frameworks you might wonder if your days using Ruby are numbered. You came to Ruby for its expressiveness and beauty. You don’t want to leave that completely behind. Luckily, you don’t have to. With a nod to the Single Responsibility Principle we all love, this talk looks at how to leverage a front-end framework like Ember.js to handle application state at the UI layer and leave Ruby or Rails to do what it does best — everything else. Something to keep in mind: that everything else is the heart of your entire app.

January 13, 2015


by Sarah Mei

Everyone keeps telling us that Github is the new resume. But we live in a world where there are -- literally -- millions of Ruby developers. Why do so few of them ever contribute code back? What could our community do if we moved that needle just a little bit? The gap between “Ruby developer” and “Ruby open source contributor” is still distressingly large. All our recent efforts for better documentation and friendlier maintainers hasn’t helped narrow it as much as we hoped. It’s time to look at this problem in a new way: through our code. Using the RSpec codebase as a starting point, we’ll explore the invisible forces that create and maintain this gap in the face of all our efforts to close it.

Twenty Thousand Leagues Under ActiveRecord

by Pat Shaughnessy

We all know ActiveRecord allows you to perform complex SQL queries using simple, elegant Ruby code. It’s like magic, a useful magic we all use everyday in our Rails apps. But how does it actually work? We’ll find out by first exploring the shallow waters just under ActiveRecord: What is relational algebra? How does the Arel gem generate SQL strings from Ruby objects? Later, we’ll dive into much deeper waters - all the way inside the PostgreSQL database! We’ll discover what does Postgres does with our SQL strings, where our data is actually located, and how Postgres finds what we want. Join me and learn exactly how your Rails app gets the data it needs. Like the strange places and creatures Jules Verne described in his underwater adventure, we’ll discover fascinating data structures and computer science algorithms you never knew you were using.

November 11, 2014

Go Get a Job

by Sean Kelly

Not all work can be done in-band. At some point, you need to run code asynchronously to better scale your system. There are no shortage of off the shelf job systems out there to make this easy, but they all make assumptions or have a certain view point that may not mesh well with your application. Sometimes you need to roll your own, and that isn't always a bad thing. But it's a decision not to be made lightly. In this talk, we'll go over why Tapjoy decided to skip an off the shelf solution, build something from scratch to fit their needs, and finally opening it up to share with the Ruby community at large. We'll go over the technologies we reviewed, why we settled on something custom, how we scale jobs, and some interesting lessons learned about jobs systems, monitoring, and bugs in Ruby itself.

The Soft Underbelly: The Uncommon Attack Vectors You're Not Looking For

by Scott Feinberg

We build web applications, but how do we really know they’re secure? You’re savvy, so you use SSL, bcrypt your passwords, use only key-based authentication, protect your admin passwords and accounts with solid password management, and generally follow the Rails Security Guide. So you’re safe right? Nope. There’s more. A lot more. In 45 minutes, You’ll be introduced to some of the most common attacks fraudsters and hackers use to break into your site. We’ll discuss some of the consequences of your web application being hacked and how to detect and prevent these attacks.

October 14, 2014

Build for Change

by Florian Motlik

Change is a constant, though often we don’t build our team, technology or process for it. Instead of using it to our advantage we have to deal with it’s problems. I will go into detail on how change affects us and how we can find a way to visualize our ability to deal with change. Also techniques like letting your repository drive your infrastructure, using immutable components and how the Cloud affects our ability to deal with that Change.

Intro to Travis CI

by Hiro Asari

Travis CI is a hosted distributed Continuous Integration service. In this introduction, Hiro Asari gives you an overview of the build system and its fundamental features.

September 9, 2014

Breaking up (with) your test suite.

by Justin Searls

In this day and age, we have a thousand ways and reasons to test our code. On it's face, this is great! But the sword is double-edged: when I open a test that I'm not familiar with, I have to determine why it exists from any of a thousand possible reasons. If I want to add my own tests, I must decide how to implement it from any of a thousand possible methods. The most immediate abstraction we have for wrangling the motivations and implementations of our tests is the "test suite". By cordoning off each group of tests based on the value we hope to get out of them, we can develop unprecedented clarity in our working relationship with tests. This talk is an example of how to do that. Hopefully, it's at just the level of detail you'll need to ponder how to apply a similar approach to your teams and applications.

Softcover & the Rails Tutorial

by Michael Hartl

This talk discusses Softcover, an open-source Ruby-based system for typesetting and publishing technical ebooks. We'll discuss the design of the core publishing system, which connects together a mix of Ruby gems, custom Ruby, and an underlying C++ parser to output high-quality ebooks. After a live demo of the ebook production system, we'll deploy the results to an integrated sales platform with a single command. We end with a discussion of how to use Softcover to build a product business based on the Ruby on Rails Tutorial model.

August 12, 2014

Generating Slides with Ruby

by Jed Northridge

In this Lightning Talk, Jed will show us how to generate slideshows using Ruby and a gem he's devised specifically for that purpose.

Continuous Delivery Orchestration with Ruby

by Rob Park

Rob will walk us through some of the work he's been doing with Ruby to manage some of the pieces involved in a Continuous Delivery environment.

Rails on AWS ElasticBeanstalk

by Florian Motlik

Flo will show how to get started with Rails on ElasticBeanstalk with and without their new Docker support.

Dont let SOA get in your way

by Christopher Lee

As software systems become more complex, Service-Oriented or Microservice architectures become common. While these architectures have their benefits, they make building and testing your Rails application more complicated because of runtime dependencies. Chris shares his experiences building Rails applications in an SOA that keeps Rails development awesome.

Resource Oriented CSS with Rails and Sass

by Alex Jarvis

Learn how to lean on Rails conventions to architecture flexible and DRY CSS using Sass.

Common Rails security pitfalls and ways to mitigate them

by Jesse Waites

Jesse has been dealing quite a bit with Rails security issues recently and he will share some of his experience in this Lightning Talk.

Writing More Maintainable Tests with PageObjects

by Michael Denomy

In this talk, Mike will show how you can use PageObjects to keep your Rails integration tests DRY, expressive, and more maintainable.

July 8, 2014

Rails on Docker

by Tim Raymond

Docker is a platform for packaging applications to be run in multiple environments. Docker containers operate like lightweight VMs that share a common kernel. They are easy to manage, start in less than a second, and are a breeze to share with others using the Docker index. We’ll see how to “dockerize" a Rails application and some fun ways we can use other Docker containers from within Rails.

Don't Be So Concerned

by Melanie Gilman

Developers are concerned about concerns. When used correctly and in moderation, ActiveSupport::Concern is a useful tool. It improves code clarity, keeps it DRY, and encapsulates shared logic. In this talk, I'll explain what happens when ActiveSupport::Concern is included in Rails models and controllers, and how it differs from a plain old module. We'll walk through some example code, discuss best practices, and test them with RSpec. It's not all roses though. To close, we'll examine the drawbacks and explore alternatives.

June 10, 2014

Clarity: You keep using that word...

by Ernie Miller

Recently, you may have watched a talk during which the speaker said: "A lot of people will gripe about 'ActiveRecord is too big, [...] has too many methods, the surface area is too big.'" Hi, my name is "A. Lotofpeople", and I'd like to discuss with you why I've been griping. We'll talk about what "clarity" means to Rubyists, and its relationship to the hard problem of naming things. I'll share some principles that I've found helpful, coping mechanisms I've developed to allow me to "fight the framework" without suffering too badly, and thoughts on what some first steps toward bringing clarity to a Rails codebase might look like. Or, I might just talk about cats. You'll have to attend to find out!

The Joys and Pains of Working with an Old Codebase

by Gordon Diggs

Sometimes you get to start fresh, with the latest version of ruby, the latest web server, the latest database, and your choice of dependencies. But sometimes, you have to work with an old codebase. This codebase might have been started years ago, by tens or hundreds of people, many of whom no longer work for the organization. This talk is the story of one such codebase, and how to work with it every day.

May 13, 2014

Building Ruby C Extensions

by Jonathan Barronville

Ever wondered what "C extension" are about and what value they hold for us as Rubyists? Curious about what's involved in putting one together? You're in luck! This talk will walk you through the concepts behind Ruby C extensions, why they're useful and how to go about writing them. You'll also walk away with some worthwhile resources for further exploration.

An Introduction to Opal, a Ruby to JavaScript Compiler

by Thijs de Vries

Ever wished you could use Ruby instead of JavaScript in the browser? See how Opal allows you to compile Ruby into JavaScript. This presentation will bring you from "hello world" to interacting with jQuery via Ruby. We'll also cover how Opal differs from MRI and some potential gotchas.

April 8, 2014

History of a Thriving Codebase

by Brett Chalupa

We follow best practices like test driven development with the hope of minimizing bugs and making our applications easier to work with over time. These techniques will take us far, but why should we limit our efforts to just the code we write? In this talk we will explore how the history of a codebase affects the live's of the developers working on it. We will dig into manipulating a codebase to create an effective history through writing wonderful commit messages, creating topic branches and rebasing commits. Let's explore how we can make life a bit more manageable in the fast moving world of software development.

Ruby on Robots

by Ron Evans, Adrian Zankich

Introducing Artoo (http://artoo.io), a new robotics framework written in Ruby. Artoo can communicate with many different kinds of hardware devices, and integrate them together. With surprisingly few lines of code, you can write interesting applications that tie together Arduinos, ARDrones, Spheros, and more... even all at the same time! Artoo is based on Celluloid, giving it the ability to support the levels of concurrency that are required for industrial-strength robotic applications. Artoo has a built in API-server, debugging console, and even shows you how to do Test-Driven Robotics (TDR).