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RailsConf Europe 2008 Spreads the Power of Rails

September 12, 2008

RailsConf Europe 2008 Delivers Advanced Skills to European Rails Community
Berlin Conference Showcases Successful Rails Experts from around the World

Sebastopol, CA, Sept. 12, 2008—The third annual RailsConf Europe September 2-4 in Berlin gave the dynamic European Rails community exactly what it asked for: Technical tools to match its advancing skills. From the ambitious novice to the experienced programmer, Europe's Rails users said they wanted in-depth sessions and real-world solutions that would give them an edge in innovation and productivity. Co-presenters Ruby Central and O'Reilly Media gave them what they wanted.

"It was particularly gratifying to hear from many attendees that they found the program content more advanced and more instructive than last year," program chair David A. Black said. "It's always hard to fine-tune the level of talks across a big program like this, and I'm really glad to have evidence that people overall felt it had gone in the right direction."

Associate program chairs Chad Fowler and Rich Kilmer assisted Black in planning RailsConf Europe 2008, which is the largest European gathering of Ruby and Rails developers, with over 500 attendees this year." The three also headed RailsConf 2008 in Portland May 26-June 1, the largest gathering of Ruby and Rails developers in the world.

The three-day RailsConf Europe 2008 program featured more than 60 sessions, including technically informative talks from experts in everything from security to internationalization to deployment, metaprogramming, database and UI engineering. It offered three-hour tutorials that focused on in-depth, hands-on tools people could put to use immediately. It demonstrated ways European Rails users are making money at Rails.

RailsConf Europe also served as a meeting place where more established Rails users could come together with unsung innovators and brand new start-ups to inspire one another and generate fresh ideas. As speaker Christian Lupp said, "There is nothing that can replace the face-to-face communication within the community."

Among the presentations during the three-day conference were:

  • Keynote by David Heinemeier Hansson (37signals), who leads the development of Ruby on Rails. Heinemeier Hansson spoke on the notion of "legacy" code and how that concept plays out with respect to one's own development and growth as a programmer.
  • Keynote by Jeremy Kemper (37signals), the most active contributor to Rails. Kemper talked about performance, and he presented some very specific and powerful techniques for evaluating and adjusting performance.
  • Rails Core Team panel discussion with Heinemeier Hansson, Kemper and Michael Koziarski (Koziarski Software Limited), a Rails Core Team member.
  • Carsten Bormann (Universit?t Bremen, TZI) and Steffen Bartsch (TZI, Universit?t Bremen), "From Rails Security to Application Security"
  • Neal Ford (ThoughtWorks) and Patrick Farley (ThoughtWorks), "Meta-programming Ruby for Fun & Profit."
  • Adam Keys (The Real Adam), "I Heart Complexity"
  • Till Vollmer (MindMeister/Codemart GmbH), "Offline Rails Applications with Google Gears and Adobe AIR"

RailsConf Europe continued Fowler's popular Community Project Code-Drive, which debuted in Portland. People pitched their projects and the work they hoped to get done, and interested developers rolled up their sleeves to write code and make it happen.

The conference also introduced the "symposimi," which Black described as a town-meeting-like gathering of people who want to ask and answer questions about a certain topic. At the Berlin conference, the symposimi was about Ruby versions and implementations?who's using what, what's targeting what, the pros and cons of moving to 1.8.7 and/or 1.9.

The four companies that sponsored the conference were invaluable both for their support and for the important resources they made available at RailsConf Europe 2008: Engine Yard, Sun Microsystems, Brightbox and ELC Technologies.

Conference sponsor Sun Microsystems quietly rolled out a beta version of Project Kenai, an open source project hosting system which bills itself as "More than just a forge" and was built using JRuby on Rails. Atttendees at RailsConf Europe received hints about the project at technical sessions that provided glimpses into Project Kenai.

The next Rails conference, RailsConf 2009, will be in Las Vegas, May 4-7, 2009, co-presented by O'Reilly Media and Ruby Central.

For complete information on RailsConf Europe 2008, visit:

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For information about exhibiting at or sponsoring RailsConf Europe, contact Yvonne Romaine at:

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For experienced Rails developers who want to go to the next level, order Advanced Rails by Brad Ediger:

For a handy reference work on Rails that users can consult anywhere anytime, or to get up to speed on how Rails works, order Rails Pocket Reference by Eric Berry, which is being released this month:

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