Canada on Rails is here too

In the flurry of enthusiasm over the official RailsConf, Canada on Rails seems to have been a bit forgotten. It’s going down in Vancouver on April 13th and 14th. I’ll be speaking there, so will Thomas Fuchs (Mr. Scriptaculous), Dave Astels, David Black, and many other Rails celebrities. Do check it out too. We know that you can’t get enough of Rails anyway, so two conferences should be all the double fun.

Testing the view with Selenium

Selenium enables you to test the view by driving it through a real browser. This allows you to test that your application works correctly in multiple browsers and that the Javascript functions as intended. Very nifty stuff.

And Jonas Bengtsson just made the use of Selenium with Rails all the much easier through the new Selenium plugin. This removes the drudgery of setup and makes it silly simple to get started.

RailsConf: <strike>65%</strike> 80% of the seats sold!

RailsConf was announced less than a week ago and the seats are going faster than snappy quick. Of the 400 tickets for sale, 265 were gone as of this morning. That’s 65% sold or just 135 left.

I’d be very surprised if we still had any tickets left by the end of the week. This is shaping up to be the exclusive event of the year, so if you don’t want to regret participating in that, you’d better secure yourself a ticket before it’s too late.

The conference panel is currently judging the more than 80(!) talk proposals and the final schedule will hopefully be announced some times next week.

UPDATE: 80% of the tickets are now gone.

Rails Recipes premieres in beta book form

Chad Fowler has completed the first draft of the initial 21 chapters for Rails Recipes and is now making the work available as a beta book for purchase. The final book is still a ways off, but this is an awesome opportunity to get at the very timely material right now. You need to strap on your edge shoes and get the latest Rails version off the repository for some of the recipes that rely on 1.1 features, but most of them is just about clever ways to do common things.

The great thing about Chad’s approach to these tutorials is that they are more like case studies than laundry lists of commands to input. Take the recipe to use Active Record with multiple databases. First, it sets up a complete sample mini-application to demonstrate (using best practices like migrations), then walks you through how the quick one-off hack would look like (so you understand the mechanics), then wraps everything up in a sweet External class hierarchy for ease of reuse. And then of course tops up with a recommendation that you shouldn’t really be using multiple databases unless you have no other choice and offers alternatives to avoid it.

This makes Rails Recipes useful for more than just looking up when you encounter a problem it has the solution for. It serves just as well as a teaching tool in the best practices of the framework in general and you’re likely to become a better Rails programmer by reading through all of the recipes one by one. Even if you don’t need to use multiple databases today.

So this is the perfect stepping stone after or as a companion with the Agile Web Development with Rails book. Get the first 21 recipes today and receive updates with additional recipes as they become ready. I’ll be working with Chad myself to ensure that these recipes offer as much of The Rails Way as possible and that it’ll discuss how to use all the goodies from the forthcoming Rails 1.1.

Now what are you waiting for? Go pick it up, yo.

RailsConf 2006 selling fast

We opened up registration for RailsConf 2006 just over 12 hours ago and already have over 100 people signed up! Dave Thomas and Mike Clark’s Guidebook session is also already half full so if you were planning on coming to RailsConf I would act sooner rather than later.

So go sign up now.

RailsConf 2006: Open for registration!

The first official Rails conference has opened its doors to registrations and is tempting with a wide variety of auxiliary announcements. While all the sessions haven’t been announced yet, the keynotes are final. We got Martin Fowler, Paul Graham, Dave Thomas, and yours truly all lined up to deliver anchors of blast.

There’s a limited number of seats, so just like RubyConf this year, we expect RailsConf to sell out well in advance. That’s one great reason to register now, another is the $400 super early-bird price that only lasts until the end of the month. After that it’s $475 for a while and finally $550 once we get past April 18th. I doubt we’ll have any seats left to sell at $550, though.

As if you needed additional reason, the first 100 lucky people who sign up and donate at least $40 to charity will get free access to a pre-conference day called The Rails Guidebook where Dave Thomas and Mike Clark will teach you Ruby on Rails. So if you’re really quick, that’s a fantastic opportunity to get even more value out of your trip to Chicago in June.

Yes, in case you forgot, RailsConf 2006 is going down in Chicago from June 22nd through 26th at the Wyndham O’Hare hotel. Three days of happy programming for people who love beautiful code. I expect to see you there!

Secrets Behind Ruby on Rails: The Numbers

ITConversations has just made David’s OSCON 2005 keynote, Secrets Behind Ruby on Rails, available for download.

One of the big stories for Rails in August was the numbers behind its budding ecosystem. The conference fell right around Rails’ first anniversary and the numbers one year in were promising. Today, six months down the road, they keep going up.

In the year between when Rails was released and the OSCON 2005 keynote, it was downloaded 100,000 times. In the six months since then it’s up to 300,000.

Estimates on the Rails wiki in August indicated that there were no fewer than 250 programmers in 36 countries getting payed to work professionally with Rails. There are now over 550 Rails programmers in 50 countries, including Azerbaijan!

When Agile Web Development with Rails was released it sold 6 thousand books in its first run. Six months later, its sales are over 25 thousand. Rails publishing is busy, with even more titles upcoming, such as the Rails Recipes cookbook, which is scheduled to be available in beta sometime this February.

There are now around 400 people in the #rubyonrails IRC channel, about the same as #php. The Rails mailing list is as busy as ever.

Six months from now? The first annual Rails Conference. The next half year promises to be interesting. See you there.

Running Rails on the LiteSpeed webserver

The LiteSpeed Web Server is a commercial engine made to be largely config-compatible with Apache, but promising massive speed increases. If the web server is the bottleneck in your setup, you may just want to give it a look. And what better way than to get your Rails application up and running on it. Bob Silva explains in easy steps how.