RubyFools: Danish Ruby conference, April 1-2

We normally don’t cover general-purpose Ruby conferences here, but since RubyFools is actually going down in the birth place of Rails and I won’t be able to be there, I thought the least I could do was mention it.

RubyFools is happening from April 1st through 2nd and will feature Ruby-creator Matz and Dave Thomas of Programatic Programmers as keynotes along with lots of other speakers.

I highly recommend checking it out. Copenhagen is such a nice place to visit.

Write rails apps in your browser

Heroku is a rails platform with a twist: it all runs in your browser.

The entire platform is build around a web based IDE which allows full rails development and deployment. Your apps are deployed to Amazon’s Elastic Cloud by the push of a button.

ActiveMerchant 1.3 released

ActiveMerchant 1.3 has been released. The focus on this latest release was the addition of standardized support for the Address Verification System (AVS) and credit card verification value (CVV2) checks across all gateways which is the latest extraction from Shopify.

AVS information helps reduce fraud by checking the billing address of the customer with the cardholder information on file at the credit card company. CVV2 checks help ensure that the cardholder information has not been stolen from a database of credit card numbers because it is forbidden to record or store CVV2 numbers in any way.

The results of the AVS and CVV2 checks are now available in the response object. ActiveMerchant does all the work of interpreting the information returned from the payment gateways for you and makes the information available in a consistent hash format.

Sample AVS/CVV2 result:

response.avs_result['message']      #=> 
     "Street address and 9-digit postal code match."

response.cvv_result['message']      #=> 
     "Suspicious Transaction."

# Details: 
response.avs_result['code']         #=> "X"
response.avs_result['street_match'] #=> "Y"
response.avs_result['postal_match'] #=> "Y"
response.cvv_result['code']    #=> "D"

Other notable improvements with the 1.3 release include:

  • Improved documentation
  • Common interface to AVS / CVV2 results
  • New gateways, including Recurring Billing (ARB)
  • Improved supported feature set of many existing gateways
  • Automatically retry failed connections (when it’s safe)

Coinciding with the 1.3 release of ActiveMerchant is the [ActiveMerchant PeepCode PDF]( by [Cody Fauser]( The PDF goes over the basics of payment processing, making purchases with ActiveMerchant, and security considerations to keep in mind when processing credit cards in your Rails application. The PDF also walks through the development of a sample Rails application that addresses topics such as order pipelines, order state management and the appropriate unit testing a financial application requires. It is definitely a great read if you are curious about payment processing or require payment processing in your application.

RailsConf '08: Registration is open!

The registration for RailsConf ‘08 is now open. And if previous years are any indications, I’d register sooner rather than later if you intend to go. We’re returning to the same conference hall in Portland as last year, so we won’t be able to fit materially more people, despite the fact that so many new faces has joined the community this year.

The conference is happening from May 26th till June 1st. If you register before April 10th, there’s a $100 discount.

The content this year will also take a step up in terms of experience required for many sessions. Less “I’m just getting started, how does it work?” and more “I’ve been doing this for a while, how can I become better?”.

A good number of the sessions are already announced, as well as the tutorials. But the keynote names are still being pinned down. And we’re also reserving some session slots for emerging topics as we get closer to the conference.

Would you believe that this is going to be our fifth RailsConf? That’s just incredible. I can’t fathom that time has passed by so quickly. And I can’t wait to meet everyone again this year in Portland. The atmosphere at RailsConf is always radiant with enthusiasm and passion. People who love what they do are very contagious to be around.

The Rails Way and Advanced Rails Recipes

The flow of new Rails books seems unstoppable these days and it’s hard to keep up with all of the new releases. But there are two books that I’ve recently have had a chance to taste that I’d like to highlight.

The first is The Rails Way by Obie Fernandez, which I wrote the foreword for. It’s a big whooper of a book (900+ pages!), but also a very comprehensive walk-through for the Rails developer who already has his feet wet. It also includes a good dose of community commentary on the how’s and why’s, which I rather like.

The second is Mike Clark’s Advanced Rails Recipes, which is still not finished, but there’s a beta book available. It takes up from Chad Fowler’s original Rails Recipes book and gives you another 72 how-tos on more in-depth topics, such as REST, deployment, and testing. I’ve had a chance to taste a few of the recipes already and it’s good stuff.

If there’s a new Rails book that you really like, write a note in the comments and point people to it.

RailsConf Europe '08: Get your proposals in!

The call for participation for RailsConf Europe ‘08 has opened up and we’re now accepting proposals. The conference is returning to Berlin and the conference will happen between the 2nd and 4th of September.

Last year was an absolute blast. There’s such a great diversity of people from all over Europe and beyond. It’s a great addition to the much more US-focused bang of RailsConf in the US.

Also, have in mind that the program for RailsConf Europe is usually pretty much completely different from the US fanfare. So it’s okay to submit your proposal here as well. What might be accepted at RailsConf in the US might not go for RailsConf Europe and vice versa.

Anyway, looking forward to reading about those proposals!

Trouble installing new gems? (Part II)

A number of users have reported problems installing the latest Rails gems, especially on Windows. The solution is to upgrade RubyGems to version 0.9.5 1.0.0 before upgrading. You can check your RubyGems version by:

gem —version

If 0.9.5 1.0.0 is not the answer, do (you may not need to prefix with sudo, on OS X you do, some ’nix distributions too, but not Windows):

sudo gem update —system

Then do:

sudo gem install rails

And while this should no longer be an issue, you can always install Rails from the Rails gem repository if the official one is having issues for whatever reason (such as right after a new release where the mirrors have some times not caught up and are spewing 404 errors):

sudo gem install rails —source

If you want to use SQLite3 for a new application, first make sure that you have SQLite3 itself installed. If not, you can get it from the SQLite download page. Then make sure you have the Ruby bindings installed (the gem is called sqlite3-ruby). If you don’t, just:

sudo gem install sqlite3-ruby

If you don’t want to use SQLite3, that’s fine. Just do “rails -d mysql myapp” when creating your new application to get MySQL preconfigured. Or “rails -d postgresql myapp”. Or any other adapter you might want to use that you have installed, like Oracle, SQL Server, or what have you. The only thing we changed was which database adapter would be preconfigured if you didn’t explicitly set which to use.

UPDATE: RubyGems 1.0.0 is now out, which should fix the problems with Mongrel and Windows.