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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.

Sessions

Mentoring the way to a more diverse and inclusive workplace

Often, the endeavors of hiring and mentoring junior engineers and of bolstering diversity and inclusion efforts are seen as “nice to haves” at best and “extraneous” (or even “impossible”!) at worst. But in reality, building diversity and inclusivity and fostering the ability to incorporate junior engineers go hand-in-hand. Engineering teams should approach each of these efforts in service of the other.

Together, we'll articulate the value of investing in mentorship efforts in terms of their impact on the ability to attract and retain diversity. You will walk away with a clearer understanding of the connection between the two efforts, and ideas for incorporating mentorship and D&I processes at your place of work.

Alexandra Millatmal

Alex is a programmer with a passion for work that has real-world impact. As a Web Application Developer at Newsela, she writes software that helps students read and teachers teach.

When she's not thinking about refactoring her Ruby or good object-oriented front-end patterns, Alex spends a lot of time thinking about secular space/discourse, ethics in communicating “othered” experiences, how many cats are too many cats, and if she’ll ever write a novel.

Background Processing, Serverless Style

Background processing is a critical component of many applications. The serverless programming model offers an alternative to traditional job systems that can reduce overhead while increasing productivity and happiness. We'll look at some typical background processing scenarios and see how to modify them to run as serverless functions. You'll see the advantages and trade-offs, as well as some situations in which you might not want to go serverless. We'll also talk about the serverless ecosystem, and you'll walk away with the knowledge and tools you need to experiment on your own.

Ben Bleything

Ben Bleything is a Rubyist from Seattle, WA. He's spent his career building and operating Ruby applications for companies large and small across a wide variety of industries. He is perhaps best known as the author of BenString, the only String wrapper class that's recommended by four out of five dentists. He works as a Developer Advocate on Google Cloud Platform, ensuring that developers and operators have a great time building and running applications on GCP.

From 0.10 to 5.2. The story of a 13 year old Rails app

Small-dollar donations were critical in the last election. The first version of the software that powers ActBlue, the main player in the space, was written in Rails 0.10.

During 13 years, 30K organizations have used the platform to raise $3 billion.

Some lessons we'll be sharing on this presentation: how to scale a monolith to process 1.5M RPM and 250 payments/sec, how to be productive with a 110K line code base, how to minimize the pain of Ruby/Rails upgrades and technical debt.

Intended for beginner to intermediate developers, managers, and anyone interested in building a lasting system.

Braulio Carreno

Braulio is a senior software engineer for the Platform Core team in ActBlue, overseeing payment processing, architecture, and performance optimization.

With 6 years in the organization, he’s the third most senior member in the technical team.

He has been working with Rails for 9 years and as a developer for 22 years. He wrote his first web application in plain C during the early days of the Internet boom.

He holds a MS degree in CS and is originally from Chile.

The Joy of CSS

“I try to avoid it” or “just use !important” are things I hear developers say when it comes to CSS. Writing CSS that yields beautiful websites is an art, just as writing well-organized, reusable CSS is a science. In this talk, we’ll mix both art and science to level up your knowledge of CSS. We’ll revisit the basics to build a stronger CSS foundation. Then, we’ll step it up to SCSS, Flex, and pseudo-classes to build more advanced logic. And lastly, we’ll take a peek at what’s coming next with CSS Variables, Grid, and Houdini. By the end of the talk, you’ll be excited to work on CSS again!

Cecy Correa

Cecy Correa is an Engineer at Thinkful, where she builds tools for people to learn how to code.

JRuby on Rails: From Zero to Scale

JRuby is deployed by hundreds of companies around the world, running Rails and other services at higher speeds and with better scalability than any other runtime. With JRuby you get better utilization of system resources, the performance and tooling of the JVM, and a massive collection of libraries to add to your toolbox, all without leaving Ruby behind.

In this talk, we'll walk you through the early stages of using JRuby, whether for a new app or a migration from CRuby. We will show how to deploy your JRuby app using various services. We'll cover the basics of troubleshooting performance and configuring your system for concurrency. By the end of this talk, you’ll have the knowledge you need to save money and time by building on JRuby.

Charles Oliver Nutter

Charles works on JRuby and other JVM language concerns at Red Hat.

Thomas E Enebo

Thomas Enebo is co-lead of the JRuby project and an employee of Red Hat. He has been a practitioner of Java since the heady days of the HotJava browser, and he has been happily using Ruby since 2001. When Thomas is not working he enjoys running, anime, and drinking a decent IPA.

Commit Messages to the rescue!

What if I told you there is more to a commit message than "-m"? Like source code time capsules, those pesky formalities can deliver wisdom and perspective about any code from the best possible source, the developer who just wrote it! Explore new facets of these time traveling rubber duck opportunities to increase their usefulness tenfold. Tools like templates, linters, hooks, and automation. Hear what Dr. Seuss can teach us about git, and don't miss the most helpful morsel of git customization around... how to open a new message in an editor other than vim!

Christopher "Aji" Slater

34 yrs old. Married. Ruby developer looking for bugs to squash. Enjoys programming languages, both functional and object oriented, spends most of his time in Rails and React. Cannot function with keyboards that haven’t remapped capslock to something useful. Prefers dark mode and is dedicated to an endless search for the perfect note-taking app. Enjoys coffee (but can totally quit anytime he wants), dogs, fountain pens, and the Oxford comma.

Unraveling the Cable: How ActionCable works

Rails ships with some handy features, and most of that functionality is there because we have common problems; and those problems need a default solution. You need quick two-way communication between your client and server. Action Cable can solve that quickly, and get you up and productive with out setting up expensive external add-ons and complex integrations.

This magic is wonderful until you need to untangle how websockets, connections, channels, consumers, and clients all fit together. Let's look under the hood and see how everything is woven together.

Christopher Sexton

Christopher is the VP of Engineering at Radius Networks, where he builds an eclectic mix of connected devices, proximity beacons, and location services. He cofounded and helps organize Arlington Ruby and Ruby for Good.

Reset Yourself Free (The Joy of Destroying your DB Daily)

When was the last time you ran rake db:reset locally?

My guess is not recently. Nor do you think of doing it frequently. And I want to persuade you that deleting your precious local environment this way is a Very Good Thing Indeed.

Because, friends, db:reset will not only delete your database, but it will seed it too.

And by spending quality time with your seeds file, I believe you’ll make your entire development team more productive.

You’ll give your project the opportunity to grow its own shared development environment – a beautiful, idealistic place where all devs can talk through the same problem in the same context.

Ready to reset with me?

Chris Waters

My name is Chris. I met Ruby on Rails in 2012, founded a travel technology company, and made the decision to build our application with it. Seven years on, 39,000 commits later, 68 contributors to our codebase, and over £100m in bookings, I feel like I’m capable enough to start giving back to a community that has given me so much.

I’m the CTO of Staylists. I live in the UK – Ipswich, Suffolk to be precise – with my wife, two daughters, and frustrating cat.

How to migrate to Active Storage without losing your mind

Active storage works seamlessly in new rails applications - but how many of us only work on new applications? Migrating to Active Storage can be a daunting task on a production application. This talk will explain active storage, why you might want to use it, how it modifies your database, and the benefits and drawbacks of migrating your existing application. I’ll walk you through my painful journey migrating an existing application. You will leave this talk with a better understanding of the inner workings of active storage and with the confidence to tackle your own migration. This talk is appropriate for all levels of skill and no prior experience or knowledge of active storage is required.

Colleen Schnettler

Colleen is the owner of Bitmapped Designs, a full-stack web development company specializing in Ruby on Rails. She switches codebases frequently, and has seen all sorts of interesting problems and code styles. She lives at the beach, and tries valiantly to squeeze in time for weightlifting. She used to have a thoughtful and eclectic list of hobbies that made her sound worldly and impressive, but she replaced them with three children.

Webpacker vs Asset Pipeline

Have you started using Webpacker or are you still doing everything with the asset pipeline? Do you not know what to expect if you start using Webpacker? Do you even need Webpacker? See what it's like to develop and maintain a Rails app with Webpacker or with just the asset pipeline side by side.

Danielle Gordon

Danielle is a software engineer at Nift, where she does Rails, iOS, and Android development. She has a passion for clean code and a goal of baking a new flavour of cupcakes every month.

New HotN+1ness -Hard lessons migrating from REST to GraphQL

Our desire to use new tools and learn new technologies backfires when we don't take the time to fully understand them.

In 2018, we migrated from a REST API to GraphQL. Patterns were introduced, copied, pasted, and one day we woke up with queries taking 6s and page load times > 10s. Customers were complaining. How did we get here?

In this talk, we will discuss why we chose GraphQL, show practical examples of the mistakes we made in our implementation, and demonstrate how we eliminated all N+1 queries.

I'll answer the question, "if I knew then what I know now... Would I stick with a REST API?"

Eric Allen

Eric took the scenic route to software. After careers in Finance, Sales, Analytics & Marketing, he turned his passion for building things towards code and never looked back. EJ has consulted for thougtbot & Pivotal Labs and currently works for CirrusMD, a HIPAA-compliant medical chat platform focused on providing patients with barrier-free access to an unparalleled virtual care experience. Eric spends most of his non-coding hours experimenting in the kitchen or playing with his new son Arthur.

Refactoring Live: Primitive Obsession

Let's roll up our sleeves and clean up some smelly code. In this session, we'll dig in to Primitive Obsession - what happens when our domain logic is all wrapped up in primitive data types? And most importantly, how do we untangle it?

James Dabbs

James is a reformed topologist, now vowing to use his skills for good. He is currently an engineer at Procore in sunny Carpinteria, where he enjoys refactoring and long walks on the beach. In those rare instances when he's not coding or evangelizing category theory, he also enjoys drumming - mostly math rock, natch.

Walking A Mile In Your Users' Shoes

Developing apps for users in different demographics is inherently differently than developing apps just for ourselves and for other programmers. Understanding the needs of our users and learning to foster empathy for them is just as much of a skill as learning Rails or ActiveRecord — and it’s a skill that’s relevant to all developers, regardless of their ability level or rung of the career ladder.

Jameson Hampton

Jamey is a non-binary adventurer from Buffalo, NY who wishes they were immortal so they’d have time to visit every coffee shop in the world. They’re a rails and android developer, doing both frontend and backend work, and currently working as an engineer for Agrilyst, a data analysis platform for indoor agriculture. In their free time, they do advocacy in the transgender community, make podcasts and zines, and spend time in nature camping and hiking.

Building for Gracious Failure

Everything fails at some level, in some way, some of the time. How we deal with those failures can ruin our day, or help us learn and grow. Together we will explore some tools and techniques for dealing with failure in our software graciously. Together we'll gain insights on how to get visibility into failures, how to assess severity, how to prioritize action, and hear a few stories on some unusual failure scenarios and how they were dealt with.

James Thompson

James is committed to helping engineering teams become more deliberate in how they build software by developing strong learning cultures, principled engineering practices, and holistic architectural thinking. He has been developing software professionally since 2003 and currently works as a the Director of Software Development for Cingo Solutions.

Service Architectures for Mere Mortals

You may have heard the terms "Microservices" and "Service-Oriented Architecture" in the past, but you've tried to understand them by googling and asking people and that only resulted in either an incomplete picture of how it works or, more likely, a bunch of wildly varied and even conflicting information. Or maybe you do understand them, but getting from your Rails monolith to that structure is a fuzzy path at best.

During this presentation, you will learn the basics of these ideas, the problems they solve, the tradeoffs they impose, and some ways to migrate to them.

Jamie Gaskins

Jamie is a software architect who has worked with dozens of companies on four continents throughout the 21st century from early-stage startups to megacorps, helping them scale their engineering teams and the services they offer.

Modern Cryptography for the Absolute Beginner

Modern life depends on cryptography. Did you get cash from an ATM this week? Buy something online? Or pick up a prescription? A cryptographic algorithm was needed to make it happen!

Increasingly, developers need to become familiar with the essentials of encryption. But MD5, bcrypt, DES, AES, SSL, digital signatures, public keys - what are they for, and why do we care?

Armed with only a vanilla Rails application and beginner-level Ruby code, this talk will demonstrate the key ideas in modern cryptography. We will also take a peek ahead to quantum computing and its implications on cryptography.

Jeffrey Cohen

Jeffrey Cohen is an independent consultant and entrepreneur. He is an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Masters Program for Computer Science at the University of Chicago. A longtime Ruby developer, he has specialized in healthcare and retail industries and has experience building both small and large-scale systems. Jeffrey co-authored the book "Ruby on Rails for .NET Developers" (Pragmatic Press, 2008). His favorite comic strip is Calvin & Hobbes.

Rethinking the View Layer with Components

While most of Rails has evolved over time, the view layer hasn’t changed much. At GitHub, we are incorporating the lessons of the last decade into a new paradigm: components. This approach has enabled us to leverage traditional object-oriented techniques to test our views in isolation, avoid side-effects, refactor with confidence, and perhaps most importantly, make our views first-class citizens in Rails.

Joel Hawksley

Joel is a software engineer at GitHub. He has worked on projects including 2FA reminders and the Content Attachments API. He now leads Project Paper Cuts, incorporating feedback from members of the community into GitHub.

Beyond the whiteboard interview

You've spent a lot of time preparing for this moment. Your palms are sweaty. You take a deep breath, walk into the room, and shake hands with the candidate. Welcome to the interview!

Interviewing can be intimidating and our industry is notorious for interviews that are arbitrary, academic, and adversarial. How can we do better?

Come be a fly on the wall for a real interview! At thoughtbot, we've put a lot of thought into crafting an interview that is both humane and allows us to accurately capture a candidate's strengths and weaknesses relative to the real-life work they will be doing.

Joël Quenneville

Joël is a developer at thoughtbot's Boston studio. He is constantly looking for ways to improve the developer experience and eliminate bugs and is a fan of Ruby's focus on developer happiness. When away from his computer, you'll find Joël buried in a history book or exploring the many neighborhoods of Boston.

Rachel Mathew

Rachel is a developer at thoughtbot working out of the San Francisco office . She enjoys exploring the oddities of Ruby and working with other developers on new and exciting challenges. Outside of work she enjoys exploring California's many green spaces and drinking too much tea.

Yes, Rails does support Progressive Web Apps

Progressive Web Apps are a constellation of conventions. Those conventions fit neatly into Rails, without the need to introduce a complicated Javascript front end. By embracing core Rails technologies like ActiveJob, ActionCable, Russian Doll Caching, and sprinkles of Stimulus, you can deliver powerful and immersive front end web apps.

John Beatty

John Beatty learned Rails to build APIs for iPhone apps in 2010, and he hasn’t looked back. He currently teaches programming to High School students, builds custom software for the school, and blogs at johnbeatty.co.

Scalable Observability for Rails Applications

Do you measure and monitor your Rails applications by alerting on metrics like CPU, memory usage, and request latency? Do you get large numbers of false positives, and wish you had fewer useless messages cluttering up your inbox? What if there were a better way to monitor your Rails applications that resulted in far more signal — and much less noise?

In this talk, we'll share an approach that's effective at measuring and monitoring distributed applications and systems. Through the application of a few simple core principles and a little bit of mathematical elbow grease, firms we've tried this with have seen significant results. By the end, you'll have the tools to ensure your applications will be healthier, more observable, and a lot less work to monitor.

John Feminella

John Feminella is an avid technologist, occasional public speaker, and curiosity advocate. He serves as an advisor to Pivotal, where he works on helping enterprises transform the way they write, operate, and deploy software. He's also the cofounder of a tiny analytics monitoring and reporting startup named UpHex.

John lives in Charlottesville, VA and likes meta-jokes, milkshakes, and referring to himself in the third person in speaker bios.

Sprinkles of Functional Programming

Often in Rails apps there is a need to accomplish tasks where we are less interested in modeling domain concepts as collections of related objects and more interested in transforming or aggregating data. Instead of forcing object oriented design into a role that it wasn’t intended for, we can lean into ruby’s functional capabilities to create Rails apps with sprinkles of functional code to accomplish these tasks.

John Schoeman

Developer at thoughtbot. Lover of cheese.

The Selfish Programmer

Using Ruby at work is great… but sometimes it feels like a job!

This year, I rediscovered the joy of writing Ruby apps for nobody but myself—and you can, too! Solo development is a great way to learn skills, find inspiration, and distill what matters most about software.

Building a real app on your own can be overwhelming, but this talk will make it easier. From development to monitoring, you'll build a toolset you can maintain yourself. You'll learn a few "bad" practices that will make your life easier. You may even find that selfish coding will make you a better team member at work!

Justin Searls

Justin Searls is a bug magnet. His Twitter feed is a rolling documentary of all the ways in which the software industry moves too fast and breaks too many things. At Test Double, he pairs up developer consultants with engineering teams (like yours, maybe) to help make software better.

Automate your Home with Ruby

With the increasing number of home automation devices, our homes are getting smarter and smarter. How can Ruby help?

Instead of installing separate apps to control my many devices, I wanted to use HomeKit via Siri and the pre-installed Home app on any iOS device, for one unified experience.

This is a talk about how I created the first ever Ruby library for the HomeKit accessory protocol to bridge the gap between different platforms and just some of the exciting possibilities this could unleash.

Karl Entwistle

Karl Entwistle has been programming in Ruby for over a decade and still loves it. He is a home automation enthusiast and creator of RubyHome. He lives in Bristol where he is the co-organiser of @southwestruby. In the rare times he’s not programming in Ruby he likes to travel, try different foods and spend time with his cat.

Death by a thousand commits

On the 1st commit, things are getting started. On the 10th commit, the feature is live and users are giving feedback. On the 100th commit, users are delighted to be using the application. But on the 1000th commit, users are unhappy with the responsiveness of the application and the developers are struggling to move at the velocity they once were. Does this sound familiar?

We will go over some of the pieces of technical debt that can accumulate and can cause application performance and development velocity issues, and the strategies Clio uses to keep these kinds of technical debt under control.

Kyle d'Oliveira

Based in Vancouver, Canada, Kyle is a jack of all trades and a master of some; at least he thinks so. He works as a backend software developer focusing on scalability, performance, and maintenance Clio’s large Rails code base.

No Such Thing as a Secure Application

A developer's primary responsibility is to ship working code, and by the way, it's also expected to be secure code. The definition of "working" may be quite clear, but the definition of "secure" is often surprisingly hard to pin down. This session will explore a few ways to help you define what application security means in your own context, how to build security testing and resilience into your development processes, and how to have more productive conversations about security topics with product and business owners.

Lyle Mullican

Lyle Mullican is a software consultant in the mountains of Asheville, North Carolina, working with Rails primarily in the healthcare industry. He started using Rails at version 1 and has run production applications on every major version since. Originally from a design background, he has been a contributing author to A List Apart magazine and occasionally manages to produce fine art.

Things I Wish I Knew Before Going Remote

Remote work is just like working in an office - minus the soul-crushing commute. How hard could it be?

Spoiler: it's actually pretty hard.

When I went remote, I was so excited to not pack a lunch that I didn't consider the implications of a quasi-reliable Internet connection or the psychological impact of spending so much time at home.

As it turns out, going remote isn't just trading a highway commute for a hallway one. It requires new skills and a mindset shift. In this talk, you'll learn how to assess your needs as a remote worker and gain a set of tools to help you succeed for the long term.

Marla Brizel Zeschin

Marla is a self-described extroverted introvert based out of her cozy home office in Denver, CO. She currently works at Test Double, a remote, distributed agency dedicated to improving the way the world writes software. Marla has brought technology to bear on a variety of topics, including CI infrastructure, election administration, casino games, and more. When she's not at work, she can be found helping to organize Denver Startup Week or skiing in the Colorado backcountry.

Applying Omotenashi (Japanese customer service) to your work

“There is customer service, and then there is Japanese customer service.” - Tadashi Yanai, CEO, Uniqlo

Americans visiting Japan are often dazzled by the quality of customer service they experience, but usually mistakenly perceive it as a well-executed form of customer service as they understand it from Western culture. The American notion of “the customer is always right,” does not apply in Japan, yet customer dissatisfaction is much less common. We’ll explore why this is, with some entertaining real-life examples, and discover lessons from it that we can apply to our work in the software industry.

Michael Toppa

Mike is the Director of Web Development for Hobson & Co. Over the past 23 years he’s worked in various roles - from Developer, to Product Owner, to Director - for ActBlue, The University of Pennsylvania, Stanford University, Ask Jeeves, E*Trade, and others. Mike is passionate about helping teams improve and has led several Agile transitions. He’s lived and traveled extensively in Japan, and his experiences there have broadened his concepts of what it means to do quality work.

Filling the Knowledge Gap: Debugging Edition

We’re generally never officially taught to debug. No one tells us at bootcamp or in online tutorials what to do when our code doesn’t work. It’s one of those learn-it-on-the-job sort of things and comes with experience. As early-career developers, we get a lot of syntax thrown at us when we’re first learning, but in actuality, the majority of our time is spent trying to fix broken code. But why should we slog through it alone? Let’s explore some Rails debugging techniques together!

Mina Slater

Mina is a graduate of the Coding Bootcamp at Northwestern University and a Junior Software Consultant at Tandem (formerly DevMynd). Born with the need to know the secret of every magic trick, she finds that coding perfectly satisfies that intense curiosity. With two marathons already under her belt, Mina will participate in the NYC Marathon later this year, and dreams of qualifying for Boston one day.

Cache is King

Sometimes your fastest queries can cause the most problems. I will take you beyond the slow query optimization and instead zero in on the performance impacts surrounding the quantity of your datastore hits. Using real world examples dealing with datastores such as Elasticsearch, MySQL, and Redis, I will demonstrate how many fast queries can wreak just as much havoc as a few big slow ones. With each example I will make use of the simple tools available in Ruby and Rails to decrease and eliminate the need for these fast and seemingly innocuous datastore hits.

Molly Struve

I'm a MIT grad with an Aerospace Engineering degree which is most likely why I gravitate towards optimizing performance issues as a Software Engineer. I joined Kenna in 2015 and have had the opportunity to work on some of the most challenging aspects of our code base. This includes scaling Elasticsearch, sharding MySQL databases, and taming our Redis usage. All of these had huge performance gains, but in the end, I found equally significant gains by using Ruby and Rails.

Event Sourcing made Simple

Event Sourcing provides a full history of actions allowing us to understand how we get got there. Events can be replayed to backfill a new column, to fix a bug or to travel back in time. It is often described as a complex pattern that requires immutable databases, micro services and asynchronous communication.

In this talk, I will introduce you to Event Sourcing and present the simple framework we’ve built at Kickstarter. It runs on our Rails monolith, uses ActiveRecord models and a SQL database. And yet, it gives us super powers.

Philippe Creux

Philippe lives in Vancouver, Canada where he runs the Vancouver Ruby Meetup. He's been building majestic monolith with Rails for the past 10 years. He works at Kickstarter to help bring creative projects to life. He deeply cares about shipping heathy software that’s simple, robust and cost-effective. And that's hard.

Ruby 2.7 JIT on Rails

Have you ever tried MRI's JIT compiler in Ruby 2.6? Unfortunately it had not improved Rails application performance while it achieved a good progress on some other benchmarks.

Beyond the progress at Ruby 2.6, JIT development on Ruby 2.7 will be dedicated to improve performance of real-world applications, especially Ruby on Rails. Come and join this talk to figure out how it's going well and what you should care about when you use it on production.

Takashi Kokubun

A Ruby committer, who is developing JIT compiler for MRI.

Zeitwerk: A new code loader

In this talk we'll introduce Zeitwerk, the new code loader for gems and apps that is going to be the default in Rails 6.

We'll cover what motivated me to work on it, which are the issues in Rails autoloading and why is it fundamentally limited, usage by gems, and interesting aspects of the implementation.

Xavier Noria

Everlasting student · Rails Core Team · Ruby Hero · Freelance · Live lover

Troubleshoot Your RoR Microservices with Distributed Tracing

In microservices architecture, it is often challenging to understand interaction and dependencies between individual components involved in an end-user request. Distributed tracing is a technique to improve observability of such microservices behaviors and to help understand performance bottlenecks, to investigate cascaded failures, or in general, to troubleshoot.

In this talk, I will show how we’ve implemented distributed tracing in Rails apps using OpenCensus, a set of vendor-neutral libraries to collect and export metrics and traces, and real world examples from our system that consists of about 100 microservices built with Ruby, Go, Python, Node and Rust. I will also discuss other methodologies to improve “observability” of Rails apps in microservices and future direction.

If you feel pain in troubleshooting microservices of Rails, you’ll love distributed tracing.

Yoshinori Kawasaki

Yoshinori Kawasaki is CTO of Wantedly. He’s been enjoying programming for more than 25 years, and in the last 7 years he’s been enthusiastic about building and maintaining Rails apps at Wantedly to “create a world where work drives passion” from Tokyo.

ActiveRecord Wizardry

ActiveRecord, the Repository Pattern, and You

ActiveRecord is big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. It does a lot. Many would say it does too much. For me, the biggest issue is that it combines 2 distinct pieces of functionality — modeling the domain, and abstracting database access.

For years, I've dreamed of separating these 2, while still staying on Rails' golden path. I finally found a way to do that. The benefits are high: faster tests, simpler code, decoupling from the database, automatic schema migrations — without much downside. Let's take a look and see if it might be for you and your project.

Craig Buchek

Craig has been using Ruby and Rails since 2005. He enjoys coding, and Ruby increases that enjoyment. In addition to development work, he specializes in helping teams improve the way they work — through technical practices, processes, and automation.

If you want to make small talk, ask Craig about attending concerts, traveling, canoeing, or beekeeping.

ActiveRecord Wizardry

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Active Record Allocations

Your app is slow. It does not spark joy. In this talk, we will use memory allocation profiling tools to discover performance hotspots, even when they're coming from inside a library. We will use this technique with a real-world application to identify a piece of optimizable code in Active Record that ultimately leads to a patch with a substantial impact on page speed.

Richard Schneeman

Schneems writes Ruby at Heroku, maintains CodeTriage.com, and co-organizes Keep Ruby Weird. He is in the top 50 Rails contributors and is an accidental maintainer of Sprockets and Puma. When he isn't obsessively compulsively refactoring code for performance he writes such gems as Wicked, and derailed_benchmarks.

Caleb Thompson

I'm Caleb: a dreamer, speaker, and computer whisperer. I organize the Keep Ruby Weird conference, which of course you’ve heard of and are very impressed by. When I'm not painting miniatures or climbing cliffs to jump off into the water, I work for Heroku and code in Ruby and Go. I've walked barefoot from the wintry tundra of Alaska to the harsh deserts of Arizona. Okay, that’s not true, but I did live in those places. I currently hail from Austin, TX—the taco capital of the United States.

ActiveRecord Wizardry

When it all goes Wrong (with Postgres)

Your phone wakes you up in the middle of the night. Your app is down and you're on call to fix it. Eventually you track it down to "something with the db," but what's wrong exactly? And of course, you're sure that nothing changed recently…

Knowing what to fix, and even where to start looking, is a skill that takes a while to develop. Especially since Postgres normally works very well most of the time, not giving you get practice!

In this talk, you'll learn not only the common failure cases and how to fix them, but also how to quickly figuring out what's wrong in the first place.

Will Leinweber

Will is based out of San Francisco and has been helping people with Postgres for a long time. He is currently on the Citus Cloud team, and prior to that he was a principal member of the Heroku Postgres team.

Crafting Community

Interview Them Where They Are

As engineers, we've spent years mastering the art of conducting technical interviews—or have we? Despite being on both sides of the table dozens of times, how often have we come away feeling that the interview didn't work as well as it could have? How many of our interviews have been just plain bad? How much time do we spend designing and improving our own interview processes, and what signals should we be looking for when it comes to making those improvements? In this talk, we'll examine the technical interview in depth, developing a framework for interviewing candidates "where they are" by focusing on answering two major questions: how can we ensure our interview process identifies the people and skillsets we need to grow our teams, and how can we interview candidates in an inclusive way that maximizes their ability to demonstrate their competencies? By the end, we'll have built out a rich new set of tools you can immediately apply to the hiring process in your own organization.

Eric Weinstein

Eric Weinstein is the author of Ruby Wizardry (No Starch Press), an illustrated guide to the language for children. He enjoys writing Ruby, Clojure, Elixir, Idris, and Swift.

Crafting Community

Trans Eye for the Cis Ally: Ensuring an Inclusive Community

Trans and non-binary people are becoming increasingly visible in the workplace, as well as in community spaces such as meetups and conferences. Most managers and event organizers want to be inclusive and welcoming but frequently, in spite of their best intentions, often come up short. Wouldn’t it be nice to have an actual non-binary trans person just tell you what you should be doing and why? VOILA! Allow me to swoop in and fix your interview process, your community event, even your office space! Can you believe? Shamazing!

Julien Fitzpatrick

Julien Fitzpatrick herds Rubies and wrangles JavaScripts in scenic Portland, OR. In their spare time, they enjoy hanging out with their dog JPEG, exploring the beautiful outdoors of the PNW, and lifting heavy things only to put them down again.

Crafting Community

Enter the Danger

By entering the danger, you become the change the world needs. Do you know how to foster a culture of psychological safety? What are you doing to be inclusive for folks who identify as trans or gender non-conforming? What about people with a disability? Or women of color?

It’s well-known that our industry has poor racial and gender representation, yet we need more action from that awareness. This talk is about leaning in, being an ally, and making an impact. It takes courage to be a champion of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Vince Cabansag

Vince is the Director of Technology at Clockwork, a digital agency in Minneapolis, Minnesota known for their values-driven culture and expertise in custom software development. He leads and manages a team of 27 engineers in a culture that’s radically inclusive and diverse. His company started the Minnesota Tech Diversity Pledge. Vince’s is also a long-time Chicagoan and helped kickstart the coding school movement in 2011 with Code Academy where he ran operations and taught Ruby on Rails.

For the Long Haul

The Past, Present, and Future of Rails at GitHub

On August 15, 2018 GitHub was deployed to production running Rails 5.2. This was a historic event; for years GitHub had been behind Rails and dependent on a custom fork of Rails 2.3. This talk will visit GitHub's past, including our tumultuous relationship with the Rails framework, and the grueling effort it took to get our application on the latest version. You’ll learn what mistakes to avoid and the reasons why such a difficult upgrade was worth it. We’ll explore what tracking master means for the future and establish that GitHub and Rails are in it together for the long haul.

Eileen M. Uchitelle

Eileen M Uchitelle is a Senior Systems Engineer at GitHub. She's an avid contributor to open source software, who focuses on performance and security improvements. Eileen is a member of the Rails Core and Rails Security teams.

For the Long Haul

The 30-Month Migration

This talk describes how our team made deep changes to the data model of our production system over a period of 2.5 years.

Changing your data model is hard. Taking care of existing data requires caution. Exploring and testing possible solutions can be slow. Your new data model may require data completeness or correctness that hasn't been enforced for the existing data.

To manage the risk and minimize disruption to the product roadmap, we broke the effort into four stages, each with its own distinct challenges. I'll describe our rationale, process ... and the lessons we learned along the way.

Glenn Vanderburg

Glenn is currently VP of Engineering at First.io. An early adopter of both Ruby and Rails, he has worked in the past for Relevance, InfoEther, and LivingSocial.

For the Long Haul

Growing internal tooling from the console up

Your site was built for your external customers first. Data or workflow problems are solved on the Rails console.

But, two years in, your app has grown. Identifying, researching, and fixing those data and workflow problems takes more of your time and attention. It frustrates your business stakeholders, your customers and, of course, you.

This talk will look at a Rails-based web store–including inventory, payment processing, fraud mitigation and customer notifications–and explore how we can build tools into our apps to discover when things go sideways and then help get things back on track.

Nathan L. Walls

Nathan L. Walls is a developer who works with and trains up software teams to test well, refactor to clarify intent and improve understanding, separate concerns, and stay adaptive with an emphasis on learning, respect and empathy.

Nathan's also a photographer, kung fu student, qigong practitioner, day hiker and cat herder. He writes at http://wallscorp.us.

Fundamentals

Database Design for Beginners

Rails’ migrations were a revelation when Rails came out, as it provided a way to manage your database schema, but also included many wonderful defaults that made all Rails developers pretty good at database schema design! But these defaults are just the beginning. Properly modeling your database can bring many benefits, such as fewer bugs, more reliable insights about your users or business, and developer understanding. We’ll talk about what makes a good database design by understanding the concept of normalization and why a properly normalized database yields benefits.

David Copeland

David Copeland is a programmer and author. He's the author of “Agile Web Development with Rails”, "The Senior Software Engineer" and "Build Awesome Command-Line Applications in Ruby". He has over 20 years of professional development experience from managing high-performance, high-traffic systems at LivingSocial or building the engineering team at Opower to working consulting gigs large and small. Currently, he's Chief Software Architect at Stitch Fix.

Fundamentals

Localize your Rails application like a pro

If you have ever worked in a Rails applications that needs to be available in more than one language you probably know how hard to maintain it can become over time, specially if more than one developer is involved in the process.

If you have never worked with localizations you probably will at some point in the future.

I want to share with you my experience. As a Spanish speaking developer I have worked in many multi-language apps, I have advice and a list of good practices that can help you in future localized projects.

David Padilla

I have been writing software for almost 16 years now. My current weapon of choice is Ruby, Rails and everything related to it.

I run michelada.io, an amazing Software Development Team based in Colima, Mexico.

I've sent a fair share of Ruby on Rails websites to production and have helped keeping them operational even when traffic really picks up.

I enjoy sharing the word by organizing local community events and speaking at conferences all around the world.

Fundamentals

What I learned my first year as a full-time programmer

If you’re a junior developer who’s ever wondered if joining tech was a terrible idea, this is the talk for you!

I was equally exhilarated and terrified to start my first job in tech. The road to success is often zigzaggy, and my view as to whether it was worth it - and whether I would make it - varied from one day to the next. Four years later, those fears have been dispelled, as have several key misconceptions I had about tech (and being a programmer). In this talk, we’ll explore them together (plus a few badass Rails tricks to help you level up).

Hilary Stohs-Krause

Hilary Stohs-Krause is currently based in Madison, WI, working as a full-stack software developer at Ten Forward Consulting. She came to tech by way of childhood website-building (a "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" fansite, to be exact).

She volunteers regularly with several tech and community organizations, and co-runs Madison Women in Tech, a local group with more than 1,200 members. She loves sci-fi/fantasy, board games and bourbon barrel-aged stouts. She tweets at @hilarysk.

Leveling Up

Coding with an Organized Mind

Many developers fail to reach their productivity not due to lack of technical ability but for lack of mental organization and discipline. It's extremely helpful to always hold in one's mind the answer to the question: "What exactly am I trying to achieve at this particular moment?" It may sound like a no-brainer. However, many developers often can't answer this question. Here's how you can make sure that you always can.

Jason Swett

Jason Swett helps Rails developers write better tests. Since putting his first website online in 1996, Jason has taught programming in four countries and worked for organizations like AT&T, Deloitte and the University of Chicago. Jason lives in Sand Lake, Michigan.

Leveling Up

I know I can, but should I? Evaluating Alternatives

You can use a hammer to drive a screw into wood, but I’d recommend a screwdriver. Why? And when is a hammer the better option? This talk will propose a framework to use when comparing alternative technical choices. I won’t decide for you, but will leave you with a structure to apply in your decision-making process.

The ruby toolbox is vast. While Rails provides a default experience, it leaves plenty of room for alternatives. In learning how to do something, you may uncover different ways to accomplish the same goal. Determine which tool fits best in your situation with these lessons.

Kevin Murphy

Kevin lives near Boston, where he is a Software Developer at The Gnar Company. As a consultant, evaluating technical alternatives and proposing solutions is an important part of his job.

Leveling Up

rails db:migrate:safely

When you're dealing with fifty million records, simple migrations can become very dangerous. Come and learn from my mistakes instead of making your own. We'll talk about what's going on behind the scenes in your database, and how to safely write and run some common migrations. Remember, uptime begins at $HOME.

Matt Duszynski

I'm a software engineer from Houston, TX, currently at Weedmaps. I've been a Ruby developer since 2012. Contributor to Docker, sidekiq, and the coffee cartel's coffers. The Ruby and Rails communities have been instrumental in my personal and professional growth, and I want to give back as much as I can.

Leveling Up

Profiling and Benchmarking 101

You know your Rails application is slow. Customers are complaining, and your ops teams are provisioning even more servers but it just isn't helping. What now? In order to fix a performance problem, you have to be able to measure it and diagnose where it is. Profiling and benchmarking are our two tools for doing just that. In this talk, you'll get an introduction to the tools available for benchmarking Ruby code, and how to use a profiler to figure out where your program spends its time.

Nate Berkopec

Nate is a freelancer and consultant that focuses on Ruby web application performance. Author of The Complete Guide to Rails Performance and blogger at speedshop.co. Nate recently moved to Taos, New Mexico after eight years in New York City.

Leveling Up

Fixing Flaky Tests Like a Detective

Every test suite has them: a few tests that usually pass but sometimes mysteriously fail when run on the same code. Since they can’t be reliably replicated, they can be tough to fix. The good news is there’s a set of usual suspects that cause them: test order, async code, time, sorting and randomness. While walking through examples of each type, I’ll show you methods for identifying a culprit that range from capturing screenshots to traveling through time. You’ll leave with the skills to fix any flaky test fast, and with strategies for monitoring and improving your test suite's reliability overall.

Sonja Peterson

Sonja Peterson is a senior full stack software engineer at Devoted Health. She previously worked as a software engineer and tech lead at BookBub, where she first developed a taste for crime novels and thrillers, as well as her skills in debugging flaky tests.

Open Source Principles

The Unreasonable Struggle of Commercializing Open Source

With at least $55 billion in open source-related acquisitions in 2018, you might think we finally figured out how to fund and monetize open source software. Unfortunately, we have only reached an awkward stage of growing pains! With conflicting goals, people are struggling to turn their OSS work into revenue while not losing the powerful open source effects which made the software successful in the first place.

From the perspective of someone who has gone through the pain of commercializing open source, let’s take a deeper look at the unexpected challenges and potential solutions.

Justin Collins

Justin is the primary author of Brakeman, a static analysis security tool for Ruby on Rails. He has worked on security teams at AT&T Interactive, Twitter, and SurveyMonkey. Justin is currently a senior software engineer at Synopsys, which acquired Brakeman Pro.

Open Source Principles

Maintaining a big open source project: lessons learned

About a year ago, I started to maintain Devise - one of the most popular Ruby Gems available. I had no knowledge of the code and a little experience with open source from a side project I developed myself.

Obviously, this was a very challenging task and I made a lot of mistakes in the process. The good thing is I learned a lot too.

In this talk, I will share with you some of the lessons I learned that I think can be valuable not only for open source but for our day-to-day work too.

Leonardo Tegon

Software Developer who was lucky enough to work with Ruby as his first professional programming language. Passionate about open source, now he works at Plataformatec with software consultancy and open source projects - including Devise. He also loves sports - especially football and basketball - and, of course, coffee.

Open Source Principles

Cleaning house with RSpec Rails 4

RSpec Rails is RSpec's wrapper around Rails' testing infrastructure. The current stable version, 3.8, supports Rails >= 3.0, and Ruby >= 1.8.7, that's a lot of versions to support! With RSpec Rails 4, we're fundamentally changing how RSpec is versioned.

In this talk you'll see a pragmatic comparison of ways to version open source. You'll see how we ended up with RSpec's new strategy. You'll learn what's coming next : Rails 6.0 parallel testing and ActionCable tests. This talk focuses heavily on open source process, and is less technical, so should be accessible to folks of all levels.

Sam Phippen

Sam Phippen is a Developer Advocate at Google. He comes to the table with enthusiasm, and a great deal of love for the Ruby community. He fights for the forces of justice as a Leader Maintainer of RSpec. He's sad that he can't hug every cat.

Self-Care

Failure, Risk, and Shame: Approaching Suffering at Work

“Life is pain, highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something.” - The Dread Pirate Roberts

Are you dreading an email from work while you’re at this conference? Ruminating over last week’s outage? Worried you’re not learning enough because you can’t stay focused on the talks?

These are three kinds of suffering we all experience at work: uncertainty, failure, and insufficiency. All three are an inevitable part of our work. But more than that: they are necessary. Join me to learn some ways to approach suffering that can make you happier, healthier, and even a better developer.

Amy Newell

Amy Newell is Director of Engineering at Wistia. She’s been a software engineer since 1999, and has been programming in Ruby since 2007, when she brought her three-month-old daughter to her first Ruby meetup. She is interested in the relationship between suffering, productivity and authenticity in the workplace. She writes and speaks about mental health, empathy, and managing engineers. She suffers from bipolar disorder. She’s also a poet, mom, food snob, and boot fanatic.

Self-Care

You Can’t Bubblebath The Burnout Away

When external expectations build into burnout, it can feel like the only two choices are soulcrushing grind or fleeing from the pain. But what do you do when you return from your coffee break, your lunchtime meditation break, or your relaxing vacation -- and the dread and toil begin to destroy you again?

Sometimes taking a break or stepping back is enough to reset to a sustainable state. And sometimes it’s not.

Let’s talk about how to tell the difference, and what your options are when you can no longer bubblebath the burnout away.

Jennifer Tu

Jennifer (she/her) started Cohere with like-minded Rubyists who want to help software developers be happier. What does that look like? Sometimes it's helping startups through awkward growth stages, sometimes it's creating zines or videos as education products, and sometimes it's talking with people individually on how to better navigate the challenges of their work life.

Self-Care

Mindfulness and Meditation for the Uncertain Mind

In recent years, mindfulness and meditation have both become capital-B Buzzwords. It’s hard to read anything about mental health or “wellness” without a mention, and meditation apps and services are a dime a dozen. Are you curious what they mean?… but also not really sure if they’re for you, or worried they’re for hippies or otherwise, y’know, not actually real?

Trust me, I wondered the same thing. In this talk, we’ll go over what mindfulness and meditation can be: effective tools to help observe the emotional reactions and thought patterns that rule our day - and our interactions with other humans - without us even realizing it. We’ll cover the basics in an objective, non-judgmental way, you’ll finally figure out what mindfulness and meditation are, and you’ll come away with resources to start becoming more mindful in your own life.

Rufo Sanchez

Rufo is a second grade dropout, obsessed with computers from the age of 3. He took a long, strange trip to adulthood with his family, stretching from their hometown of Rochester, NY to north of the Arctic Circle and south to the Guatemala-El Salvador border, all in a 1997 Volkswagen camper van. He spent his early twenties as the other half of a consultant shop before settling into web development using Rails as a career. He currently resides in Minneapolis, MN and works remotely.

Self-Care

Getting Unstuck: Strategies For Solving Difficult Problems

Even with the simplest of problems, we can get stuck on code. It happens to engineers of all experience levels. This session will show you many strategies for getting unstuck.

We'll start by reframing the act of getting stuck as a positive. Then we'll talk about many strategies for identifying the problem and moving on. We'll discuss the psychology behind these strategies, and answer questions like "Why do my best ideas come to me in the shower?" Finally, we'll look at ways to harden yourself for the next time you get stuck.

Getting unstuck is a skill. This session will help you sharpen that skill, and prepare you for the next time you want to throw your keyboard out a window.

Steven Hicks

Steven Hicks is a web development generalist with nearly 20 years experience. He believes code is for humans, and that if you ain't falling, you ain't learning.

Steve embraces continuous improvement and believes a developer's job is to solve problems, not write code. He's a speaker, a writer, a teacher, a learner, and a teammate.

When he isn't talking to the duck or smooshing 1s and 0s, you can find Steve outside. He's probably camping with his family, running trails, or climbing rocks.

Unpacking Rails

The Elusive Attribute

Is it a method? A database column? Over here, it's a field in a form. Over there, it's a parameter in a request. It's the thing we decorate in our views. It's the thing we filter in our controllers.

We call it an “attribute”, and it's all these things and more. We take it for granted, but this innocent little idea is a window into the beating heart of our web framework. Behind its magic are valuable lessons to be learned.

Join me as we delve beneath the surface of ActiveModel and ActiveRecord, to the complex abstractions that make attributes so powerful, and so elusive.

Chris Salzberg

Rubyist and writer from Montreal living and working in Tokyo. I'm the author of Mobility, a pluggable translation framework for Ruby, and committer to many open-source projects including Rails. I coined the term "Module Builder Pattern" and have written extensively on this metaprogramming technique. I work with a team of developers at Degica.

Unpacking Rails

Resolve Errors Straight from the Error Pages

Raised exceptions in Rails 6 can hint the error pages to display a button that can invoke a resolving action. We call them actionable errors!

In this talk, we'll take a deep dive into what actionable errors are, and how they are dispatched through the Rails application errors handling mechanism.

We'll also write a small Rails plugin and use actionable errors to guide our users with better errors, and actions to resolve them. We'll learn how to define custom actionable errors and strategies around when and how to raise them to help our users to set up the plugin from the comfort of the error pages.

Genadi Samokovarov

Hi! I'm Genadi and I come from Bulgaria in South-Eastern Europe. I am a Rails contributor and the maintainer of the web-console gem. Besides my codes, I also organize Balkan Ruby, a regional Ruby conference for the Balkan region and the Sofia Ruby meetup called Ruby Banitsa!

Unpacking Rails

Code Spelunking: teach yourself how Rails works

Have you ever wondered how something works deep in the guts of Rails or been stuck when a README says one thing but the code acts another way? Guides and docs are often the best way to get started but when they fall short, you may need to get your hands dirty.

Using method introspection, this talk will show you ways to confidently explore Rails code. By looking at common problems inspired by real-world situations, learn how to dive into Rails and teach yourself how any feature works under-the-hood.

Let’s go spelunking!

Jordan Raine

I love to write code, play music, cycle, and play board games. I've been an avid Ruby fan ever since I picked up Peter Cooper's "Beginning Ruby" book on a plane ride (I couldn't put it down for the entire 8-hour flight).

Weird, Wild, Wonderful

The Action Cable Symphony - An Illustrated Musical Adventure

Do you want to know what ActionCable is and how it works, but don't want to build another chat application to learn it? Well buckle up, because we've got a treat for you. You're going to learn with lemurs and classical music.

The ActionCable Symphony is an illustrated and musical talk that will explore how websockets work by using classical music. We'll be using select audience member phones to play it. Learn about ActionCable, websockets, latency concerns, client interfaces, JWT authentication, and more in this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

You haven't lived until you've experienced lemurs playing a symphony orchestra on your phone using Rails.

Brandon Weaver

Brandon is an Artist turned Programmer who enjoys teaching programming with cartoon lemurs, whimsy, bad jokes, and of course puns. He currently works at Square as on the Frameworks and Language Support team, defining Ruby standards and common infrastructure.

Weird, Wild, Wonderful

Pre-evaluation in Ruby

Ruby is historically difficult to optimize due to features that improve flexibility and productivity at the cost of performance. Techniques like Ruby's new JIT compiler and deoptimization code help, but still are limited by techniques like monkey-patching and binding inspection.

Pre-evaluation is another optimization technique that works based on user-defined contracts and assumptions. Users can opt in to optimizations by limiting their use of Ruby's features and thereby allowing further compiler work.

In this talk we'll look at how pre-evaluation works, and what benefits it enables.

Kevin Deisz

Kevin is a software developer living in Boston. He is currently serving as the CTO of CultureHQ, a startup in Boston based on making workplace community better. In his spare time he plays music, breaks the Ruby virtual machine, and drinks good New England beer.

Weird, Wild, Wonderful

From `test && commit || revert` to LIMBO

Kent Beck (TDD, eXtreme Programming, Agile Manifesto) has a couple new ideas. They both sound so terrible and impossible that they just might be totally amazing.

1. test && commit || revert If tests pass, commit everything. If they fail, revert everything. Automatically. Wild.

2. LIMBO. Anything that's committed is pushed. Anything that's committed by teammates is automatically pulled in while you work. So wild.

Does this work? Does it scale? Will I always be losing important progress because of a typo? Will this make me a better / faster / happier programmer?

We'll cover tools, process, deficiencies, mental models, and experiences. Show up and see what happens.

Shane Becker

Shane (he/him) is a developer, designer, and an anarchist. He was once the open source cheerleader for Rubinius. He co-organized Cascadia Ruby, Farmhouse Conf and Barn Talks. Currently, he's a senior software engineer at Mode.com, coordinator of development on crimethinc.com (an anti-fascist anarchist publishing collective), and founder of Eefio (a REST API for the Ethereum blobchain). He's exploring these wild-sounding new ways software development to see if another world is possible.

Working with Other Humans

Teach by Learning; Lead by Teaching

Have you ever caught yourself dictating code to a junior dev, rather than pairing? Or resorted to saying “best practice” because you knew you were right, but couldn’t articulate why? We can solve both these problems with “dialogic teaching,” a cornerstone of modern adult-education theory. In this talk, you’ll learn how to go from monologue to dialogue. You’ll learn how to teach developers of all skill levels in ways that center their goals and let you learn from them too. You’ll learn how to practice technical leadership when you’re right – and how to practice it when you’re wrong.

Betsy Haibel

Betsy is a DC-based web developer. She writes fiction and nonfiction in English, Ruby, and Javascript, and is a co-organizer of Learn Ruby in DC.

Working with Other Humans

Programming Empathy: Emotional State Machines

Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of others. As developers, empathy for our users, our coworkers, and members of our community is an undervalued skill, since expressing emotions is often perceived as a weakness. But responding to the emotions of others is critical to working successfully on a team. This talk will frame emotions as neurological programs, with distinct triggers and multiple terminal states. The goal is to help us understand that when we act as fully realized human beings, and treat others the same way, the quality of our software will improve.

Coraline Ada Ehmke

Coraline Ada Ehmke is an international speaker, writer, and developer with over 20 years of experience in software engineering. She was recognized for her work on diversity in open source with a Ruby Hero award in 2016. Coraline is the creator of the Contributor Covenant, the most popular open source code of conduct in the world with over 200k adoptions. She is a founding panelist on the Greater than Code podcast and is the co-author of the upcoming book "The Compassionate Coder".

Working with Other Humans

Establishing the Environment for Remote Work to Succeed

This talk explores the benefits of purposefully choosing when to type and when to talk, using remote work as an example that promotes very different communication skills than in-office work. We will examine our default modes of communication (typing vs talking) and what biases they involve and then use that knowledge to talk in a more nuanced way about how to make the most of remote work and how to avoid the well-known pitfalls.

Eric Tillberg

Eric Tillberg (he/him) is a software developer at TEECOM. He loves developing software in Ruby and likes to think about process problems. He works remotely from Durham, NC, USA. His interests outside of technology include board games (especially Go), playing viola da gamba, and thinking about history. He sometimes writes tweets as @Thrillberg.

Working with Other Humans

Congressive Engineering Management

Ugh. Management. Agile was supposed to free us from that, right? Self-organized, cross-functional teams who get stuff done without that old-guard hierarchy. In this fauxtopia, some developers were more equal than others. Can we get the healthy parts back without the Lumberghs?

To bring back healthy engineering management we first must de-mystify and de-stigmatize the concept of management. In this talk we will: * Explore the context of management * Learn the responsibilities of management * Discuss the techniques of management

As a developer, you'll be equipped to understand, empathize with, and influence your boss. As a manager, you'll build a foundation to help you better serve your team.

Jennifer Tu

Jennifer (she/her) started Cohere with like-minded Rubyists who want to help software developers be happier. What does that look like? Sometimes it's helping startups through awkward growth stages, sometimes it's creating zines or videos as education products, and sometimes it's talking with people individually on how to better navigate the challenges of their work life.

Zee Spencer (He/Him)

Zee has been working in, managing, or providing guidance for engineering teams since 2004, when he cut his teeth as the "other developer" at a small design and development studio in Central Michigan.

He loves baking bread and helping people and teams be a little bit better every week.

Working with Other Humans

Plays Well with Others: How to Stop Being a Jerk Today

Society acts as though jerks are incapable of changing their bad behavior, as though somebody called .freeze on them. We devise all kinds of strategies for avoiding or placating them, even at the expense of others' happiness.

What if it didn't have to be that way?

This talk approaches jerks as the mutable objects all people are. If you think you might be a jerk, or if you're looking for a new approach to the jerks in your life, this talk is for you! We'll cover what makes a jerk and what the positive alternative looks like. You'll leave with a set of practical ways to defuse negative urges, hold yourself accountable, and transform your behavior in a variety of situations, such as meetings, disagreements, or when things go wrong.

Jesse Belanger

Jesse loves being part of happy, high-functioning teams. In his first programming class, the only thing he learned was to "Be Kind" - which he used to think was corny, but now realizes was the best possible lesson. He's spent the last three years at ezCater, where he's either a full stack engineer or a free food forager, depending on who you ask.

Working with Other Humans

Hacking Verbal Communication Systems

Our native systems of conversational flow control might work fine for talking face to face, but they start to have problems when put into many of the conversational scenarios that arise as part of working on a modern development team. Other groups have faced similar challenges and come up with ways to facilitate and improve communication. I'm going to focus on a simple system of hand signals used by the Occupy movement who adapted them from the Quakers. These hand signals mitigate a number of problems with group discussions, including problems of communication over a laggy connection, and working with remotees.

Ryan Alexander

Ryan is currently the Lead back-end developer for the Money Advice Service based in London. He’s been helping to organise large-to-small scale community events for a quarter of a century. He is passionate about inclusion, diversity, giving people the best chance to do their best, and believes that empathy is the key to making that happen. His pronouns are He/Him/His.