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The largest official gathering of the year, RailsConf brings together top talent, companies, and project representatives from around the world. Learn and build with the best in sessions, workshops, keynotes and parties.


Going Serverless with Ruby on AWS Lambda

In this workshop, you will learn about developing serverless applications with Ruby on AWS. We will demonstrate building web APIs, event-based functions, and how to build, test, deploy, and monitor serverless applications. You will also learn how you can use serverless applications as lightweight web frameworks, as well as how serverless applications can augment your existing Ruby on Rails applications. No experience with AWS necessary.

Alex Wood

Alex works for Amazon Web Services on the AWS SDK for Ruby. He is the lead maintainer of the aws-sdk library, and author of the aws-sdk-rails and aws-record gems.

Jingyi Chen

Software Engineer at Amazon Web Services who is happily working on the AWS SDK for Ruby. Amateur photographer and baker on weekends.

Mastering Git - Learn What's Inside to Git With Confidence

We use git every day and yet for many of us it remains a black box. We use a collection of memorized commands to interact with our repos and GitHub, but when things don't go exactly as planned, we're lost. Thankfully, git can absolutely be mastered, and we only need to dig just a bit deeper than our day to day interactions take us to get there.

If you're familiar with git but still occasionally troubled by rebase, "detached heads", and similar convoluted git-speak, then this is the ideal workshop for you. We'll start with an overview of the core concepts the make up the foundation of how git works, and then move on to a series of hands-on examples to solidify the new ideas. You'll leave with the knowledge and confidence to tackle anything git throws your way.

Chris Toomey

Chris is a development director at thoughtbot, host of the Bike Shed podcast, and can be found in many of the videos on thoughtbot's online learning platform: Upcase. He's a big fan of the command line, Vim, and all things Unix. He has a particular fondness for Git which shines through in his "Mastering Git" course on Upcase.

Taking Command of the Command Line

Do you ever feel like your coworkers, and other folks in the wider industry, were born knowing how to use the Unix command line? You’re not alone! Bash, Zsh, and friends can be daunting, but they can also make your job a lot easier, both with small efficiencies and by helping you improve your understanding of how your computer works.

In this workshop, you’ll build command-line skills that’ll change the way you work day to day. From readline and environment variables, to permissions and searching, all the way to pipes and process control, you’ll get hands-on practice with the most useful commands and features for Rails developers.

Colin Jones

Colin Jones is CTO at 8th Light, where he works with teams to craft reliable, maintainable software. He's into application performance, security, DevOps, architecture, and functional programming. Colin wasn't born with a Bash shell in hand - he picked up Rails and the Unix command line after a couple of music degrees turned out to provide minimal job security, and hasn't looked back!

Design Thinking for Developers

The agile manifesto cites customer collaboration as one of its main tenants. However, very few teams even consider this part of their agile process. In this hands on workshop we will learn a number of design thinking exercises to quickly and effectively:

  • Provide a better understanding of the entire domain.
  • Provide a clearer path towards a domain language, through context bounding and ubiquitous language capture.
  • Establish a shared understanding of complex or nuanced problems.
  • Get first hand exposure to domain experts wisdom.
  • Cleary prioritize work to be completed.
  • Create focused problem solutions.

You will leave this workshop ready to apply design thinking methodologies to a variety of task in your day to day work, including:

  • Domain modeling.
  • Retros.
  • Scrum planning.
  • Project scoping.
  • User story expansion.
  • Prototyping.
  • User interviews.
  • Task prioritization.

Cory Gwin

Cory is a software engineer at GitHub. In his career he has worked in many disciplines including full stack developer, UI designer, project manager and fry chef. Having this broad experience has lead him to believe it is vital to break down communication boundaries to build the best solutions possible.

Christian Lewis

Christian Lewis is a seasoned engineer and Cory’s sidekick :) He has spent the last 15 years building cloud and development platforms at enterprises across all verticals and is currently a Platform Engineer at GitHub. In his spare time, Christian advises on public cloud boards and likes to speak about technology, humans, and startups.

From Code Smells to Code Sense

Opinionated web frameworks like Rails allow us to focus on what’s unique to our domain, rather than reinventing the wheel. But under deadline pressures, we often find ourselves with a codebase that works in the short term, but takes more and more effort over time to extend, test, and maintain.

To speed our development back up and make coding fun again, we need to be able to recognize issues and refactor them away. In this workshop, we will explore some strategies for identifying common code smells in production Rails apps, and get hands-on practice in cleaning them up.

Cyrus Vandrevala

Cyrus Vandrevala is a crafter at 8th Light who has developed software in a variety of industries covering finance, insurance, travel, and education. He is passionate about sharing knowledge and has helped developers acquire new skills through training sessions including object-oriented development, DevOps philosophies, and Agile methodologies. Before joining 8th Light, Cyrus earned his Ph.D. in physics from Purdue University.

Kyle Annen

Kyle Annen is a software crafter at 8th Light in Chicago who is passionate about functional languages, object oriented languages, DevOps, and building sustainable systems. Kyle learned programming through online open access bootcamps prior to joining 8th Light. His past career in business took him around the world, including building low income housing in the borderlands of Mexico, and he spent half a decade working in Shanghai, China.

Web Security 100 - Because you're not ready for 101

Are you a web developer who doesn't know much about web security? It's okay to admit it, you're not alone. It seems like every month there's another massive breach of millions of email addresses, usernames and passwords. This is because most developers are simply unaware of the most common security threats, and how to neutralize them.

In this workshop we'll go over the famous OWASP top ten security vulnerabilities and fix them in a Ruby on Rails project. We'll learn about security precautions and penetration testing, then we'll even try to stump our neighbor by injecting our own vulnerabilities.

Eric Smith

Eric Smith is an experienced software crafter and coach at 8th Light who has trained teams of all sizes to adopt software's best practices, and test various challenging portions of their system. To develop his training curricula, Eric draws from his extensive experience as a software developer and consultant. In addition to his training duties, Eric continues to craft innovative software solutions for some of 8th Light's largest and most challenging clients.

Tam Dao

Tam Dao is a software crafter at 8th Light Chicago. She enjoys working with a variety of programming languages and technologies among which are Ruby/Rails and Swift/iOS. Tam was a career changer, learning to code through online courses until becoming an apprentice and eventually a crafter at 8th Light.

Upgrade Rails 101: The Roadmap to Smooth Upgrades

Upgrading Rails is easy, right? Sure, as long as you are upgrading your patch version. A Rails upgrade in a big application is not a trivial project: It took GitHub a year and a half to upgrade from Rails 3.2 to 5.2.

While upgrades have become easier with every new Rails version, your application has only become more complicated with every new dependency you added.

In this workshop you will learn a proven Rails upgrade process for major and minor version changes of Rails. You will leave this workshop with a roadmap to upgrade your Rails application.

Ernesto Tagwerker

Ernesto is the Founder of Ombu Labs, a software development company based in Philadelphia. When he is not playing table tennis, he likes to maintain a few Ruby gems. He is passionate about writing Rails, launching minimal products, coaching entrepreneurs, contributing to open source, and eating empanadas.

Dockerizing Rails - A supercharged development process

Running applications is not trivial. Even a simple Rails application has many requirements that need to be set up and maintained. Imagine a world in which you can package your application and run it wherever you want. All without going through the hassle of installing and setting up its dependencies. This world exists! In this workshop, you will learn how to harvest the power of a container technology called Docker to streamline your development process. Whether you are already using Docker or not - you will acquire the necessary skills to integrate Docker into your own applications.

Julian Fahrer

Julian is a Software Engineer, Online Educator, and Container Enthusiast. He automates all the things and containerizes Ruby applications at day. At night he sleeps. In between those times, he is busy climbing, hiking and teaching people about Docker and Containers at His current life goal is to drastically reduce the time he sits per day.

Build Your Own Framework to Understand Rails Magic

Rails "magic" comes from Ruby metaprogramming tricks. Each piece of magic makes sense once you see how Ruby lets you do it. If you want to really understand those tricks, then build them. Join me as we build a Ruby web framework, using Rails' same dependencies. By the end you'll understand some very deep Rails metaprogramming tricks. You'll also be able to build your own web framework, whether it works like Rails or not.

Noah Gibbs

Noah is a Ruby Fellow for AppFolio, working on the core Ruby language and related tooling. As a trained massage therapist and hypnotherapist, he uses his powers of evil for good. He intends his children to rule in his stead - obey them as you would him. He also wrote the book "Rebuilding Rails," which is universally worshipped as "pretty good."

Richard Macklin

A Bay Area native, Richard has since migrated his way south, spending several years in Santa Barbara and then moving to San Diego where he currently works for AppFolio. Over the years, he's enjoyed jumping around the stack from the back end to the front end to operations. Outside the office, he enjoys working out and trying to improve his half marathon times. He shares his passion for running with his dog, Roscoe, and the pair can be seen logging miles along the San Diego coast on the weekends.

The Rails 6 Front End: Building with Webpacker and Stimulus

Sometimes you need to have something happen in the browser. You don’t need a Single Page App, but you do want some client-side interactions. Rails 6 has great tools for simplifying the complex JavaScript ecosystem. We’ve got Webpacker, the default asset pipeline for JavaScript tooling, and Stimulus, a small library from Basecamp that brings Rails convention over configuration to JavaScript tools. As a result, it’s easier than ever to build user interactions with Rails-friendly tools. In this hands-on workshop, you’ll take a simple Rails app, and use Webpacker and Stimulus to add some front-end flair. No prior knowledge of Webpack or Stimulus is required.

Noel Rappin

Noel Rappin is a Principal Developer at Table XI. Noel is the host of the Tech Done Right podcast, and has authored multiple technical books, including "Rails 5 Test Prescriptions", and "Take My Money: Accepting Payments on the Web". Follow Noel on Twitter @noelrap, and online at

Open Source is for Everyone

We’re told that contributing to open source is good for our careers and a great way to level up our skills. Let’s face facts. Getting into open source is intimidating, often unfriendly, and hard to find a place to get started. Come to this workshop and learn the basics of contributing to open source. We’ll discuss things like claiming issues, writing good commit messages, and finding great projects to contribute to. Don’t forget your laptop because every attendee will leave with a pull request on an open source project that is being used in production by organizations like women's shelters, diaper banks, and other organizations doing meaningful work! Come learn new skills and make a difference in the world!

Sean Marcia

Sean absolutely loves the ruby community. He is a tireless do-gooder who created and organizes Ruby for Good and spends his day job working to make government more sane. He is committed to making the world a better place. When not programming he loves being outdoors (especially national parks), drinking coffee from Portland, eating dried seaweed and playing with dogs.

Jen Pengelly

Jen Pengelly is a Senior Consultant and Team Lead at Excella Consulting working on government projects. She loves the DC Tech Community and co-organizes meetups for Tech Talk DC, NOVA Code and Coffee, and Arlington Ruby, paying forward the awesome support that she got when first moving to the area. When not coding, she likes reading literally anything, traveling, and watching tornado chasers on the internet.

Mae Beale

Mae Beale spent 20 years in and out of nonprofit-land, with jaunts into biochemistry and women's studies degreeing, full-time pool playing, high school chemistry & physics teaching, higher ed senior administrating. She went to code school in 2014 to gain the technical skills needed to build the tools she wished she'd had in all the years prior.

Multi layer BDD for modern rails web apps

Learn how to organise your integration tests for scalability and drive out functionality in a modern rails based web app with multi-layered outside-in Behaviour Driven Development, BDD. Along with an overview of testing for frontend components, APIs, external integrations and everything in between, we will run you through the layers of integration testing that matter - from "system flow" specs through "page mechanics" specs that take an individual component through its paces.

All the while building a fun app with Rails and ReactJS.

Selena Small

Selena is a full-stack software developer at Fresho! in Melbourne Australia. As a self taught coder, she has become particularly passionate about testing and writing beautiful code. Coming from a management background, her late arrival to the software industry puts her in a perfect position to understand and help others learn to code. In her spare time she is a nak muay ying, professional kick boxer.

Michael Milewski

Michael is a developer keen on the people side of things. He loves pairing, and in particular with people new to writing software. He especially likes driving software out with tests and directing the evolution of the design. In his spare time he does a bit of running, camping and watching any one of his 4 kids excel above anything he ever managed to achieve.