Down to the last 100-something RailsConf seats

RailsConf has been racing towards a sell-out and is now almost there. We’re down to our last 100-something seats out of the 1200 being offered. So if you’re still waiting for boss approval on the expenditure or want to see how close you can get to having seat #1200, I’d start thinking about chickening out and secure that seat.

We’re going to have a party come May.

Writing Google Maps Applications with Rails and Ajax

Andre Lewis is rolling out a duo of resources for those of you creating mashups and Google Maps-based applications.

Andre’s book, Beginning Google Maps Applications with Rails and Ajax: from Novice to Professional will be available Feb 26 from Apress. The book covers the basics (getting a Google map up and running, interacting with the the Google maps API in JavaScript), as well as more advanced topics. For example, later chapters show you how to use RMagick to display hundreds of thousands of points on a map by generating custom map tiles, and how to create your own geocoder from US TIGER/Line census data. The book also touches on screen scaping and bulk data manipulation – for example, processing large text files from the command line using Ruby, and the performance implications of a pure ActiveRecord database import vs MySqlImport.

Also related to mapping, Andre recently released GeoKit. GeoKit provides a bundle of tools to make maps-based applications easier:

  • Distance calculations in miles or kilometers: distance = first_location.distance_to(second_location, :units => :miles)
  • ActiveRecord distance-based finders: Store.find(:all, :origin=>[37.792,-122.393], :conditions=>'distance < 10')
  • . . . and directly from an address: Store.find_closest(:origin=>'100 Spear St, San Francisco, CA')
  • Geocoding from Google, Yahoo,, and geocoding services. It provides a uniform response structure from all the geocoders, and also has a configurable fail-over mechanism in case one geocoder fails.
  • IP-based location lookup. Provide an IP address, and get a city name and latitude/longitude in return.

Andre’s announcement on GeoKit is here. Bill Eisenhauer, the co-author of GeoKit, has also put up some live demos. GeoKit’s home at RubyForge is

Rails Application featured on Good Morning America

Former AOL CEO Steve Case recently appeared on Good Morning America to talk about his new venture Revolution Health, a new health site built on Rails. Think next generation WebMD.

The Revolution Health team has been blogging their progress over at Revolution On Rails. InfoQ recently conducted an interview with the developers that discusses, among other things, their PluGems (it’s a plugin! it’s a gem!!) approach to sharing code across the multiple applications that make up Revolution Health.

RailsConf sells close to 3/4s of the seats, RailsConf EU Request for Proposal open

RailsConf has sold close to three quarters of the available seats for the May 17-20 show at an amazing rate. It’s only been a week since we opened for registrations. So it’s naturally wonderful to see that level of excitement even as our venue this year can accommodate a ton more people than last year. This certainly looks like it’ll be another sold out RailsConf shortly.

And hot on the heels of RailsConf in Portland, we’ve just opened up the Request for Proposals for RailsConf Europe, which will take place in Berlin between September 17-19. Last year RailsConf EU was a bit more of a sleeper hit than the Chicago show, but turned out absolutely fantastic with loads of exclusive and all-new content. With Berlin being a significantly cheaper city than London and part of mainland Europe, we’ll no doubt have an even greater show.

So get your proposals ready for RailsConf Europe. And if you haven’t already, snatch one of the last seats for RailsConf in Portland.

Shiny new Subversion and Trac cluster

You’ve all noticed the excruciating Rails svn updates and Trac molasses in the last couple of weeks. Following the release of Rails 1.2 we thoroughly overwhelmed our development server, no small feat for a hefty dual Xeon. Congratulations, all, for your hearty Rails appetite! Your sustained Mbps say more than words possibly could.

Our friends at TextDrive have stepped up once again to keep Rails development running smoothly and your production apps deploying predictably. Please give a warm welcome to our new development cluster, a load-balanced crew of SunFires and Thumpers hosting Trac at and Subversion at

Subversion will remain available at the old dev URL so you needn’t touch your live apps. Feel free to migrate to the new URL at your own speed.

IntelliJ jumps on Ruby and Rails

JetBrains’ IntelliJ has long been the gold standard for Java IDEs. Now the company is taking a shot at turning their suite into a good fit for Ruby and Rails development. This new love is coming in the form of a new official Ruby plug-in.

It features assisted Ruby coding, with keyword completion, syntax highlighting, on-the-fly code validation, error highlighting, and Rails templates and generator integration. They even put together a screencast to show it off.

Cool stuff. Especially if you already plugged down $400 for a license or work on an open-source project (free license, then).

In case you're having trouble installing gems...

A significant number of Rails developers have reported problems installing gems with the updated RubyGems release. If you’re experiencing a problem that looks anything like this:

$ gem update sqlite3-ruby Updating installed gems… ERROR: While executing gem … (NoMethodError) undefined method `refresh’ for #

…you should remove your local source_cache file. This is the file that locally caches any gem metadata from the gem server to avoid having to re-download it every time you execute a gem command.

To discover the location of this file on your system, run the following command:

$ gem env RubyGems Environment: - VERSION: 0.9.2 (0.9.2) - INSTALLATION DIRECTORY: /usr/local/lib/ruby/gems/1.8 - GEM PATH: - /usr/local/lib/ruby/gems/1.8 - REMOTE SOURCES: -

The source_cache file should be in the path labeled by GEM PATH. Removing that file should clear up any related issues.

This solution is a workaround pending a fix by the RubyGems team.

Rails 1.2.2: SQLite3, gems, singular resources

It’s time for another minor update to Rails 1.2. This was primarily prompted by a change in the API for SQLite between version 3.3.7 and 3.3.8+, which left the Rails database adapter for dead by the road side. But with this release and Jamis Buck’s sqlite3-ruby gem at version 1.2.1, we’re back in business on all versions of SQLite3.

Second, we’re now depending on RubyGems 0.9.0 and above. This will fix the deprecation messages for require_gem (the new method is just gem) and will restore rake rails:freeze:gems to working order. So be sure to update to the latest RubyGems before installing. That’s done with “gem update —system”.

Finally, we’ve decided to throw in a few goodies along with the fixes described above and the rest of the bug reparations in this release. Singular resources, for example, allow you to model singleton resources within the scope of the domain. The common example is That’s now modeled with:

map.resource :account

…and routes accordingly:

GET /account => AccountController#show GET /account/new => AccountController#new GET /account;edit => AccountController#edit POST /account => AccountController#create PUT /account => AccountController#update DELETE /account => AccountController#destroy

Note that the controller is also singular, not plural as is usually the case when using map.resources.

We’ve also brought over the enhancement to :conditions in Active Record that’ll allow you to pass in ranges and get them automatically converted to BETWEEN statements. Like:

Student.find(:all, :conditions => { :grade => 9..12 })

…which then becomes:

SELECT * FROM students WHERE grade BETWEEN 9 AND 12”

This is a recommended upgrade for everyone running 1.2.x (and a reminder that if you’re not yet on Rails 1.2.x, you won’t be getting bug fixes automatically and have to backport them yourself). It’s a drop-in replacement requiring no changes to applications running 1.2.×.


RailsConf is more than half sold out and the fastest selling O'Reilly conference

The registration form for RailsConf is still glowing hot after a weekend that ensured that we’re now more than half sold out for the conference! This makes RailsConf ‘07 the fastest selling conference that O’Reilly have been involved with.

If we continue with this rate, we’ll be sold out before the end of the week. That’s 1200 seats. Not too shabby for a framework not even three years old and a conference only in its second year.

It’s going to be an amazing festival in Portland, that’s for sure. I can’t wait to get up there and talk about Rails 2.0.

Joyent makes Rails app go to 4,000 req/sec

Our friends at TextDrive/Joyent have been slugging away at their seriously impressive mega-cluster for quite some time now and it looks like it’s paying off. Just a few days ago, Shopify announced they were coming over.

And now Jason Hoffman shares a few statistics on how they’re making a new big Rails app scale to no less than 4,000 requests per second on one of their sub-pages. That’s a pretty juicy number and is thanks to their BIG-IP-to-48-mongrels setup for Twitter.

Keep rocking, boys.

BTW, the company’s Jason Hoffman will be giving a 3-hour tutorial at RailsConf entitled Scaling a Rails Application from the Bottom Up. You’d be well-advised to secure an early seat to that one.