Rails Training Coast to Coast (and beyond)

Mike and Dave are mobilizing their perpetually sold out Pragmatic Rails Studio again. This time, they’re hitting both coasts of the USA.

First in Portland on April 10 followed by Boston on May 11.

These session have sold out every time, so don’t miss your chance.

For those in Europe or the United Kingdom, Geoff Grosenbach will be doing a one-day Rails workshop in London on March 30 followed by me on April 10 with a four day workshop in London and Rails Core member Marcel Molina, Jr. with a five-day Rails Bootcamp in near Frankfurt, Germany.

Quick PDF generation with RTex

Bruce Williams of Naviance recently announced his RTex plugin. It exposes your controller data to rtex views that output LaTeX which is convereted to PDF.

To install you can use the plugin script:

ruby script/plugin install rtex

Or grab it from svn:

svn co http://codefluency.com/svn/codefluency/rails/plugins/rtex

People have used PDF::Writer to generated .rpdf views. Why go through LaTex to get to PDF rather than use PDF::Writer? Speed, says Bruce.

i5labs pushing the limits of Rails

In November, PlanetMoon launched Infected, a first-person shooter game for Playstation Portable. The PSP game has two-pieces, one, the actual PSP game (which is C++), and a statistics reporting tool (how many kills did you get, how many people did you infect, where in the world are they). Any time someone wants to grab their stats, it kicks in the PSP Web Browser, which points to a Ruby on Rails server. The team behind this is Jason Wong’s i5labs. Jason blogs about some of the challenges of working within the constraints of PSP console.

i5labs also just finished a Zubio chair massage kiosk at the San Francisco Shopping Center. You schedule 10 or 20 minute massage sessions using a touchscreen, then swipe your credit card. The touchscreen system is implemented with Rails. Jason shares details of the code and hardware.

i5labs is also looking to hire a part time Ruby on Rails developer (who could eventually go full time). If you’re interested drop them a note at jobs@i5labs.com.

We’ve seen the limits of Rails pushed before, when Mike Clark and James Duncan Davidson mixed Rails with Cocoa with VitalSource. Anyone else using Rails outside of the traditional web context?

Ruby/Rails in the Valley: the Silicon Valley Ruby Conference

David Black sends along this note about the upcoming Silicon Valley Ruby Conference, which features Rails core’s own Marcel Molina Jr. and Jeremy Kemper:

Ruby Central is a name you can trust in conferences (RubyConf and
RailsConf), and now Ruby Central has teamed up with SDForum to present

Silicon Valley Ruby Conference April 22-23, 2006 http://www.sdforum.org/rubyreg

The impetus for this event was SDForum’s interest in producing a top-notch conference with a regional focus but with broad Ruby/Rails
appeal. SDForum asked Ruby Central to co-produce the event, and
the Silicon Valley Ruby Conference is the result.

Who should attend this conference? Everyone who didn’t get into
RailsConf. Plus, everyone who DID get into RailsConf! Don’t let the
subtle marketing fool you: this is one of the major Ruby/Rails events
of the year.

Speakers include:

and many others.

Questions? Contact David Black (dblack@rubycentral.org).

Auto sanitized templates with Erubis

Last month on the Rails core mailing list, a thread popped up (that went on and on) wherein the idea was proposed that rhtml templates should automatically sanitize output by default. After much back and forth, David suggested those in favor redirect their energies toward a working plugin.

Enter stage left, Erubis. It’s a customized implementation of eRuby that provides a handful of features, notably that <%= %> tags automatically sanitize output. You use <%== %> if you don’t want to sanitize the output. For all those who wish rhtml files were sanitized by default, here is your solution.

Configure your Rails apps to use Erubis templates with ActionView::Base::register_template_handler.

The Adventures of Scaling: A Case Study

Patrick Lenz has started in on a case study The adventures of scaling, in four instalments, on how he made eins.de scale, improving its performance by about 60%.

The online community site was ported from 50,000 lines of PHP to 5,000 lines of Rails. It serves up over 1 million dynamic page impressions on a “good day”. This first instalment goes through their unsuitable initial setup and explains why it didn’t work, including a diagram of their configuration. As one of the article’s commenters says, “Nothing beats a shiny chart”. Looks promising. Good start. Thanks for the write up Patrick. Stay tuned.

Bruce Tate on the Rails podcast

While down in Austin for SXSW, Geoffrey Grosenbach caught up with Bruce Tate for the Ruby on Rails podcast. Bruce talks about how Rails is the catalyst behind a sea change in the development world. Download as mp3 or mp4.

A long time Java developer, earlier this year Bruce put out a book called Beyond Java which caused quite a stir.

He also just wrote an article for IBM’s developer Works about Active Record aimed at Java developers called Crossing Borders: Exploring Active Record .

Keep an eye out for his upcoming Java to Ruby book. Your boss will thank you for alerting him/her to it one day.