Thanks to organisers from Kisko Labs and the HHLinuxClub on Friday, May 7th, 2010 Finland got its first  Rails conference.

Conference has drawn very interesting speakers and  international crowd – from Finland (naturally), Sweden, Poland, Germany, Russia and other countries. I made a few notes from selected talks on the conference.

Chris Wanstrath / GitHub (@defunkt)

  • Slides:
  • Linus Trovalds Google tech talk about git – where Linus tell you that you’re stpid if you’re not using git
  • rack-mobile-detect – is used by GitHub, super useful if you’re planning to create mobile optimized version
  • GitHub uses Unicorn as an application server – personally I’m not sure if that’s better than Apache + Passenger. Chris tells that Unicorn is cool, because does fair load balancing on Linux kernel level, also Rails are loaded only once – and then required number of processes are forked – and this is very fast, a lot faster than loading rails separately for each Mongrel. And when one of the processes dies – there’s no need to re-load Rails, but just fork another process.
  • GitHub users BERT to forward requests to one of their six servers – BERT to Erlang is the same as JSON to JavaScript
  • GitHub doesn’t use delayed_job anymore since they needed several queues with different priorities – so far they use resque, but are considering developing a real queue management system

Jose Valim / Plataforma (@josevalim)

Mike Dirolf / MongoDB (@mdirolf) & Jonathan Weiss / CouchDB (@jweiss)

Yehuda Katz / EngineYard (@wycats)

  • Very interesting presentation about developing web application for mobile devices (in Rails 3)
  • One of the central messages – HTML5 is coming – learn how to use it now, if you want to stay in business
  • I really hope Yehuda will publish his slides – it was a presentation worth spreading around
  • interesting thoughts:
    • same optimization methods as we traditionally use for Rails apps on desktop are not suitable for mobile browsers due to constraints – connection availability, memory, cpu, battery, etc.
    • don’t count on browser cach on mobile devices – separate data and presentation, cache presentation using localStorage feature of HTML5, load only data from the web after that
    • mobile browsers are updated a lot faster than desktop borwser – there are new browsers in the new phones, and nobody uses 2 year old phone
    • HTML5 will become mainstream on mobile devices a lot faster than on desktop (IE6 will not happen on mobile)
    • when developing apps for mobile take into account that in some places people still pay per kilobyte of traffic
    • incremental rendering on the mobile is evil – it consumes battery and can be very slow, unpleasant and unusable for the user
  • battery – unoptimized sites can easily drain the battery, and even though users are most likely to blame the phone manufacturer it is good to think about it
  • – recommended reading about Rails 3

Carl Lerche / Engine Yard (@carllerche)

  • Carl told about Rails 3 and migration to version 3 from earlier ones
  • Migration itself is not that difficult (provided that you know what you’re doing) – it can even be done in 15 minutes, but thus far stability and performance of Rails 3 / Ruby 1.9.1 are not quite there yet
  • Rails 3 is not finished – the plan is to make RC for RailsConf, and the it will be released “when it’s ready”
  • When asked if they have done performance tests on Rails 3, Carl answered that, yes, they did, and its sad.  Performance optimization is the next big step after stabilization.
  • When asked which Ruby release is better to use with Rails 3, Carl answered – 1.8.7, since Ruby 1.9.1 still segfaults and is not ready for production sites.

JetBrains (@rubymine):

  • new release of RubyMine is available with Rails3 support
  • guys from JetBrains tell that  TextMate development/maintenance is lagging behind, and they observe migration of TextMate and even vim users to RubyMine (there’s now vim interface emultion)

overall impression:

  • Apple is the king – virtually everybody was walking around with either MacBook, iPhone, iPad or all of the above
  • first Rails conference in Finland was a huge success – I really hope there will be FrozenRails 2011

2 thoughts on “Informal notes from #frozenrails 2010

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