Tech hiring has a bad reputation for a reason - it's usually awful. But it doesn't have to be that way. In this talk, we'll dive into what is wrong with many current tech hiring practices and what you can do instead. You'll learn ways to effectively assess technical ability, what makes a great interview question, how to be more inclusive, the pros and cons of giving homework assignments, and much more. You'll leave with ideas to improve your interviews, and ways to influence your company to change their hiring practices.
Code review is ostensibly about ensuring quality code and preventing errors, bugs, and/or vulnerabilities from making their way to production systems. Code review, as practiced, is often top-down, didactic, and in many cases not particularly useful or effective. By looking at the creative writing workshop model (and strategies for teaching and providing feedback on writing), we can extract patterns that help us to have more effective, more efficient, and more enjoyable code reviews. Not only can we make our code better, we can also help our teams better understand the codebase and communicate better, and thus do more effective and enjoyable work (with perhaps better team cohesion).
The first commit for the DNSimple application was performed in April 2010, when Ruby on Rails was on version 2.3. Today DNSimple still runs Ruby on Rails, version 6.0. The journey from of the DNSimple application to today's version is a study in iterative development. In this talk I will walk through the evolution of the DNSimple application as it has progressed in step with the development of Ruby on Rails. I'll go over what's changed, what's stayed the same, what worked, and where we went wrong.
Let's be blunt: Most web apps aren’t so computation-heavy and won't hit scaling issues.
What if yours is the exception? Can Rails handle it?
Cue Exhibit A: Cloudinary, which serves billions of image and video requests daily, including on-the-fly edits, QUICKLY, running on Rails since Day 1. Case closed?
Not so fast. Beyond the app itself, we needed creative solutions to ensure that, as traffic rises and falls at the speed of the internet, we handle the load gracefully, and no customer overwhelms the system.
The real question isn't whether Rails is up to the challenge, but rather: Are you?
Data consistency in a microservice architecture can be a challenge, especially when your team grows to include data producers from data engineers, analysts, and others.
How do we enable external processes to load data onto data stores owned by several applications while honoring necessary Rails callbacks? How do we ensure data consistency across the stack?
Over the last five years, Doximity has built an elegant system that allows dozens of teams across our organization to independently load transformed data through our rich domain models while maintaining consistency. I'd like to show you how!
This past year has been one of the most challenging years in recent memory. The pandemic has taken a toll, including on children.
Adults used their professional skills to help make the year a little better for the kids in our lives: Therapists counseled, entertainers delighted, teachers educated... and Rails developers developed!
In this talk, I'll share the apps I built on Rails that helped my kids and me cope, celebrate and persevere through the year.
In 2020, tech was pivotal in keeping us going, and for my kids, Rails made the year a little more manageable.
When we learn to code, we focus on writing features while we understand what the code is doing. When we debug, we don’t understand what our code is doing. The less we understand, the less likely it is that our usual programming mindset—the one we use for feature development—can solve the problem.
It turns out, the skills that make us calmer, more effective debuggers also equip us to deal with rapid, substantial changes to our lives.
Whether you’re uncertain about what’s going on in your code, your life, or both, in this talk you’ll learn debugging techniques to get you moving forward safely.
The increased debate around ethical source threatens to divide the OSS community. In his book "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions", philosopher Thomas Kuhn posits that there are three possible solutions to a crisis like the one we're facing: procrastination, assimilation, or revolution. Which will we choose as we prepare for the hard work of reconciling ethics and open source?
More of us are building apps to make sense of massive amounts of data. From public datasets like lobbying records and insurance data, to shared resources like Wikipedia, to private data from IoT, there is no shortage of large datasets. This talk covers strategies for ingesting, transforming, and storing large amounts of data, starting with familiar tools and frameworks like ActiveRecord, Sidekiq, and Postgres. By turning a massive data job into successively smaller ones, you can turn a data firehose into something manageable.
Often developers design APIs that expose more than is needed - unnecessary fields, redundant relationships, and endpoints that no one asked for.
These kinds of practices later on introduce communication overhead, extra maintenance costs, negative performance impacts, and waste time that could have been spent better otherwise.
We'll walk through how to design minimal APIs that are straight forward to use, and that are exactly what our consumers need!
Serverless is widely lauded as the ops-free future of deployment. Serverless is widely panned as a gimmick with little utility for the price. Who’s right? And what does it mean for my Rails app?
This session takes a critical look at serverless hosting. We’ll consider the abstractions underlying environments such as AWS Lambda and Google Cloud Run, their assumptions and trade-offs, and their implications for Ruby apps and frameworks. You’ll come away better prepared to decide whether or not to adopt serverless deployment, and to understand how your code might need to change to accommodate it.
There are a lot of myths around A/B testing. They’re difficult to implement, difficult to keep track of, difficult to remove, and the costs don’t seem to outweigh the benefits unless you’re at a large company. But A/B tests don’t have to be a daunting task. And let’s be honest, how can you say you’ve made positive changes in your app without them?
A/B tests are a quick way to gain more user insight. We'll first start with a few easy A/B tests, then create a simple system to organise them. By then end, we'll see how easy it is to convert to a (A/B) Test Driven Development process.
You've probably experienced this. CI times slowly creep up over time and now it takes 20, 30, 40 minutes to run your suite. Multi-hour runs are not uncommon.
All of a sudden, all you're doing is waiting for CI all day, trying to context switch between different PRs. And then, a flaky test hits, and you start waiting all over again.
It doesn't have to be like this. In this talk I'll cover several strategies for improving your CI times by making computers work harder for you, instead of having to painstakingly rewrite your tests.
We often think of automation and deployment scripts when we discuss DevOps, however the true value is in reacting to how customers use your application and incorporating this feedback into your development lifecycle. In this talk, we will discuss how you can turning DevOps around to increase your feature velocity, including some Rails specific strategies and gems you can use to get things done faster.
As technologists, we spend a great deal of time trying to become better communicators. One secret to great communication is... to actually say less. And draw more!
I've been using sketchnotes, comics, and abstractly-technical doodles for the last few years to teach myself and others about technical concepts. Lo-fi sketches and lightweight storytelling devices can create unlikely audiences for any technical subject matter. I'll break down how my brain translates complex concepts into approachable art, and how anyone can start to do the same, regardless of previous artistic experience.
How we communicate words is important, the code, test and documentation needs to be part of the ongoing process to treat better our coworkers, be clear on what we do without the need of established words as "blacklist". Do you mean restricted? rejected? undesirable? think again.
Master, slave, fat, archaic, blacklist are just a sample of actions you may not be aware of hard are for underrepresented groups. We, your coworkers can't take it anymore because all the suffering it create on us, making us unproductive, feeling second class employee or simply sad.
Let's make our code, a better code.
A/B tests should be a surefire way to make confident, data-driven decisions about all areas of your app - but it's really easy to make mistakes in their setup, implementation or analysis that can seriously skew results!
After a quick recap of the fundamentals, you'll learn the procedural, technical and human factors that can affect the trustworthiness of a test. More importantly, I'll show you how to mitigate these issues with easy, actionable tips that will have you A/B testing accurately in no time!
As you grow your Rails app, is it starting to slow down? Let’s talk about how to identify slow code, speed it up, and verify positive change within your application. In this talk, you’ll learn about
benchmark/ips, and performance optimization best practices.
Do you feel panic when receiving a notification from your open-source project? Is a backlog of unanswered issues wearing you down?
You wanted to put something out there for others to use, but now it feels like a second job. Keep stressing out like this and you will burn out and leave another project abandoned on GitHub.
In my talk we will rediscover your personal reasons for doing open source in the first place. We will practice dealing with issues effectively to free up time for the work that motivates you.
DHH stunned the Rails world with his announcement of Hotwire from Basecamp. Even folks in the non-Rails web-development community took notice.
When it comes to implementing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (“DEI”), where do software engineers fit in? The technology we build is used by diverse groups of people, so our role is to build platforms for that diversity. At this talk, you will learn why and how to make DEI a priority in your work with tangible steps, goals, and examples. While the scope of these topics can feel overwhelming, you will leave this talk empowered with the tools to attend your next standup or write that next line of code as a better community member, ally, and software engineer.
Your code creates millions of Ruby objects every day, but do you actually know what happens to these objects?
In this talk, we’ll walk through the lifespan of a Ruby object from birth to the grave: from
.new to having its slot reallocated. We’ll discuss object creation, the Ruby object space, and an overview of garbage collection.
Along the way, we’ll learn how to make our apps more performant, consume less memory, and have fewer memory leaks. We’ll learn specific tips and pointers for how to see what the garbage collector is doing and how to take advantage of the strategies it employs.
Stimulus JS bills itself as a framework with modest ambitions that fits nicely into the Rails as "omakase" paradigm. At its core, Stimulus gives Rails developers a new set of low effort, high impact tools that can add much more than the sheen of modernization to an everyday Rails application. Join me as I live code three Stimulus JS examples that will help you save time, impress your friends, and win new clients and opportunities. This will be great for JS newbies and experts alike along with anyone interested in the potential schadenfreude that watching me live code will likely elicit.
We come from a world of facts and metrics so obviously the people with the most data wins, right? Engineering comes from a place of logic but telling the story behind that information is how the best leaders get buy-in and support for their plans. In this talk, we'll examine the how and why of storytelling, develop a framework of putting an idea into a narrative, and what tools you’ll need to complement a good story. By the end, you’ll be able to break out a story whenever you need to generate excitement, find advocates, or more budget. Is there anything more irresistible than a good story?
With the release of 6.1, Rails added support for rendering objects that respond to
render_in, a feature extracted from the GitHub application. This change enabled the development of ViewComponent, a framework for building reusable, testable & encapsulated view components. In this talk, we’ll share what we’ve learned scaling to hundreds of ViewComponents in our application, open sourcing a library of ViewComponents, and nurturing a thriving community around the project, both internally and externally.
The written word is the medium through which most information exchanges hands in the tools we build. Digital letterforms can help or hinder the ability for people to communicate and understand. We'll work through some typographic principles and then apply them to the web with HTML and CSS for implementation. We'll look at some of the newer OpenType features and touch on the future of digital type, variable fonts, and more.
A lot of life changing things have happened in 2020. And I'm obviously speaking about Stimulus Reflex and Hotwire and how we as Rails devs are finally enabled to skip a lot of JS while implementing reactive web UIs. But what if I told you, there's room for even more developer happiness?
Imagine crafting beautiful UIs in pure Ruby, utilizing a library reaching from simple UI components representing basic HTML tags over styled UI concepts based on Bootstrap to something like a
collection, rendering reactive data sets. Beautiful, reactive web UIs implemented in pure Ruby are waiting for you!
As a developer, you're asked to write an awful lot: commit messages, code review, achitecture docs, pull request write-ups, and more. When you write, you have the power to teach and inspire your teammates—the reader—or leave them confused. Like refactoring, it's a skill that can elevate you as a developer but it is often ignored.
In this session, we'll use advice from fiction authors, book editors, and technical writers to take a pull request write-up from unhelpful to great. Along the way, you'll learn practical tips to make your code, ideas, and work more clear others.
Our industry telegraphs: "We don't want (or know how to handle) 'junior developers*'."
Early-career Software Developers, or ECSDs, have incredible value if their team/company/manager doesn't "lock themselves out" of accessing this value.
Whoever figures out how to embrace the value of ECSDs will outperform their cohort. 📈💰🤗
I will speak to:
- Executives (CTOs/Eng VPs)
- Senior Developers/Dev Managers
- ECSDs themselves
About how to:
- Identify which problems are solvable because of ECSDs
- Get buy-in for these
- Start solving these problems with ECSDs
Learn about combining Rails and Python for Computer Vision. We'll be analyzing images of cannabis plants in real-time and deriving insights from changes in leaf area & bud site areas. We'll explore when to use traditional statistical analysis versus ML approaches, as well as other ways CV has been deployed. We’ll cover integrating OpenCV with ActionCable & Sidekiq for broadcasting camera analysis to Rails and creating time-lapse style renderings with graphs. You will gain an understanding of what tools to use and where to start if you’re interested in using ML or CV with your Rails project!
Does a Rails model or config file seem like a magical syntax? Or can you read any Ruby code and understand it as the interpreter does?
In this talk, let's convert the implicit to explicit in some familiar Rails code. What was "magic" will become simple, understandable code.
After this talk, you'll see Ruby through a new lens, and your Ruby reading comprehension will improve. As a bonus, I'll share a few Pry tips to demystify any Ruby code.
We sometimes say “computers were a mistake”, as if clay tablets were any better. From the very beginning, humans have been screwing up, and it’s only gotten worse from there. Each time, though, we’ve learned something and moved forward. Sometimes we forget those lessons, so let’s look through the lens of software engineering at a few of these oopsie-daisies, and see the common point of failure - humans themselves.
Unpredictable traffic spikes, slow requests to a third party, and time-consuming tasks like image processing shouldn’t degrade the user facing availability of an application. In this talk, you’ll learn about different approaches to maintain high availability by offloading work into the background: background jobs, message oriented middleware based on queues, and event logs like Kafka. I’ll explain their foundations and how they compare to each other, helping you to choose the right tool for the job.
Architecture documents and diagrams are always out of date. Unfortunately, lack of accurate, up-to-date information about software architecture is really harmful to developer productivity and happiness. Historically, developers have overcome other frustrations by making code the “source of truth”, and then using the code as a foundation for automated tools and processes. In this talk, I will describe how to automatically generate docs and diagrams of code architecture, and discuss how to use to use this information to improve code understanding and code quality.
Improve your work as a developer with an introduction to strategic planning, situational leadership, and process management. No balance sheets or income statements here; join me to learn the MBA skills valuable to developers without the opportunity costs of lost wages or additional student loans.
Demystify the strategic frameworks your management team may use to make decisions and learn how you can use those same concepts in your daily work. Explore the synergy one developer achieved by going to business school (sorry, the synergy comment slipped out - old habit).
Identity management? Stick a username and (hashed) password in a database, and done! That's how many apps get started, at least. But what happens once you need single sign-on across multiple domains, or if you'd rather avoid the headache of managing those passwords to begin with? This session will cover protocols (and pitfalls) for delegating the responsibility of identity management to an outside source. We'll take a look at SAML, OAuth, and OpenID Connect, considering both the class of problems they solve, and some new ones they introduce!
I saw a green build on a Friday afternoon. I knew I need to push it to production before the weekend. My gut told me it was a trap. I had already stayed late to revert a broken deploy. I knew the risk.
In the middle of a service extraction project, we decided to migrate from REST to GraphQL and optimize API usage. My deploy was a part of this radical change.
Why was I deploying so late? How did we measure the migration effects? And why was I testing on production? I'll tell you a tale of small steps, monitoring, and old tricks in a new setting. Hope, despair, and broken production included.
This is a timely talk because of what happened with Gamestop/Robinhood, introducing a case of a high-frequency trading app like Robinhood, built on top of Rails, and how it proves it can scale, managing not only over a complex HTTP API but also communicating over an internal protocol TCP with one New York Stock Exchange server by making use of Remote Procedure Calls (RPC) with RabbitMQ to be able to manage transactional messages (orders).
So, how can we make use of Rails to deliver a huge amount of updates (through WSS) and have solid transactions (through HTTPS)?
It's been a few years, your Rails app is wildly successful, and your database is bigger than ever. With that, comes new challenges when making schema changes. You have types to change, constraints to add, and data to migrate... and even an entire table that needs to be replaced.
Let's learn some advanced techniques for evolving your database schema in a large production application, while avoiding errors and downtime. Remember, uptime begins at $HOME!
"Your mission, should you choose to accept it..." A stakeholder has brought you a failing project and wants you to save it.
Do you accept your mission? Do you scrap the project and rewrite it? Deciding to stabilize a failing project can be a scary challenge. By the end of this talk, you will have tangible steps to take to incrementally refactor a failing application in place. We will also be on the lookout for warning signs of too much tech debt, learn when tech debt is OK, and walk away with useful language to use when advocating to pay down the debt.
What would you do to convince a large audience, who has little context, to use your solution to a problem? One way is to write a design document, which helps scale technical communication and build alignment among stakeholders. The wider the scope of the problem, the more important alignment is. A design document achieves this by addressing three key questions: “what is the goal?”, “how will we achieve it?” and “why are we doing it this way?”. This talk will cover identifying your audience, effectively writing answers to these questions, and involving the right people at the right time.
In 1883, The Boston Public Library began hiring librarians for reference services. Since then, a discipline has grown around personally meeting the needs of the public, as Library Science has evolved into Information Science. Yet, the goal of assisting with information needs remains the same. There is disciplinary overlap between programming and information science, but there are cultural differences that can be addressed. In other words, applying reference library practices to our teams can foster environments where barriers to asking for and providing help are broken down.
Drawing on my experiences maintaining Puma and other open-source projects, both volunteer and for pay, I'd like to share what I think is a "third way" for sustainable open source, between the extremes of "everyone deserves to be paid" and "everyone's on their own". Instead of viewing maintainers as valuable resources, this third way posits that maintainers are blockers to a potentially-unlimited pool of contributors, and a maintainer's #1 job is encouraging contribution.
An alert hits your radar, leaving you and your team perplexed. An “update” action that had worked for years suddenly ... didn't. You dig in to find that a subtle race condition had been hiding in plain sight all along. How could this happen? And why now?
In this talk, we'll discover that seemingly improbable failures happen all the time, leading to data loss, dropped messages, and a lot of head-scratching. Plus, we'll see that anyone can become an expert in spotting these errors before they occur. Join us as we learn to write resilient save operations, without losing our minds.
Learning to code is an individual journey filled with highs and lows, but for some, the lows seem far more abundant. For some learning to code, and even for some professionals, it feels like we're struggling to tread water while our peers swim laps around us. Some developers take more time to build their technical skills, and that’s ok, as being a great developer is about far more than writing code.
This talk looks at realistic strategies for people who feel like they are average-or-below coding skill level, to keep their head above water while still excelling in their career as a developer.
Mentorship in software development carries a lot of responsibility, but plays an integral part in making tech communities as well as individuals thrive.
In this talk, we'll go over some of my mentorship experiences, adopting techniques and learning to teach, so we can teach to learn. Anyone can be a great mentor!
What happens with Rails ends and our custom business logic begins? Many of us begin writing "service objects", but what exactly is a service object? How do we break down logic within the service object? What happens when a step fails? In this talk, we'll go over some of the most common approaches to answering these questions. We'll survey options to handle errors, reuse code, organize our directories, and even OO vs functional patterns. There isn't a perfect pattern, but by the end, we'll be much more aware of the tradeoffs between them.
Accessible web applications reach wider audiences, ensure businesses are in compliance with the law, and, most importantly, remove barriers for the one in seven worldwide living with a permanent disability. But limited time, lack of knowledge, and even good intentions get in the way of building them.
Come hear my personal journey toward accessibility awareness. You will learn what accessibility on the web means, how to improve the accessibility of your applications today, and how to encourage an environment where accessibility is seen as a requirement, not simply a feature.
Advancing through one's career can be challenging. As we experience setbacks, impostor syndrome, and uncertainty at various points of our career, we may develop some habits which, when taken too far, could see us sabotaging our own progress. You are your own worst critic.
Despite my own experience with anxiety, a bullying internal critic, and “self-deprecating humour”, I'm now a senior engineer and I've noticed these habits in people I mentor. I hope to help you identify signs of these bad habits in yourself and others, and to talk about what has helped me work through it.
Working with forms is pretty common in web apps, but this time my team was requested to give support for dynamic forms created by admins in an admin panel and used in several places (real story). There are many ways to implement it, but our goal was to build it in a way that felt natural in Rails.
This talk is for you if you’d like to learn how we used the ActiveModel's API together with the Form Objects pattern to support our dynamic forms feature, and the cherry on top is the usage of Hotwire to accomplish some more advanced features. And all of this is done without a single line of JS :)
When an open source project has gotten stuck, how do you get it unstuck? Especially if you aren't already its maintainer? My teams have done this with several projects. A new contributor, who's never worked on a project before, can be the catalyst that revives a project or gets a long-delayed release out the door. I'll share a few case studies, principles, & gotchas.
More than developer time, coordination & leadership are a bottleneck in software sustainability. You'll come away from this talk with steps you can take, in the short and long runs, to address this for projects you care about.
Pam Pierce writes, “Look at your garden every day. Study a plant or a square foot of ground until you’ve learned something new". In debugging my own garden, the practice of daily observation has revealed signals previously overlooked. This practice has followed me to the work of tending to our growing application.
This talk visits some familiar places, code that should work, or seems unnecessarily complicated, and digs deeper to find what we missed at first glance. Let’s explore how we can learn to hear all our application tells us and cultivate a methodical approach to these sticky places.
Tens of millions of people can download and play the same game thanks to mobile app distribution platforms. Highly scalable and reliable API backends are critical to offering a good game experience. Notable characteristics here is not only the magnitude of the traffic but also the ratio of write traffic. How do you serve millions of database transactions per minute with Rails?
The keyword to solve this issue is "multiple databases," especially sharding. From system architecture to coding guidelines, we'd like to share the practical techniques derived from our long-term experience.
Dev teams should employ empathetic patterns of behavior at all levels from junior developer to architect. Organizations can create the safety and security necessary to obtain a high functioning team environment that values courageous feedback if they simply have the language and tools to do so. How can leadership provide a framework for equitable practices and empathetic systems that promotes learning fluency across the team?
I have ideas. Find out what I've learned through countless hours of mentorship, encouragement, and support both learning from and teaching others to code.
On Sept 4th 2020, I got pinged on a revert PR to fix a 150% slowdown on the Shopify monolith. It was a two-line change reverting the addition of a Sorbet signature on a
Shop method, implicating Sorbet as the suspect.
That was the start of a journey that took me through a deeper understanding of the Sorbet, Rails and Ruby codebases. The fix is in Ruby 3.0 and I can sleep better now.
This talk will take you on that journey with me. Along the way, you will find tools and tricks that you can use for debugging similar problems. We will also delve into some nuances of Ruby, which is always fun.
The internet grows every day. Every second, one of us is making calls to an API, uploading some images, or streaming the latest video content. But what is the cost of all this?
Every day, a data center stores information on our behalf. As engineers, it's easy to focus on the code and forget the tangible impact of our work. This talk explores the physical reality of creating and storing data today, as well as the challenges and technological advancements currently being made in this part of the tech sector. Together, we'll see how our code affects the physical world, and what we can do about it.
Everything is cyclical, and web development is not an exception: ten years ago, we enjoyed developing Rails apps using HTML forms, a bit of AJAX, and jQuery—our productivity had no end! As interfaces gradually became more sophisticated, the "classic" approach began to give way to frontend frameworks, pushing Ruby into an API provider's role.
The situation started to change; the "new wave" is coming, and ViewComponent, StimulusReflex, and Hotwire are riding the crest.
In this talk, I'd like to demonstrate how we can develop modern "frontend" applications in the New Rails Way.
How does Spring boot your Rails app instantly, or Puma route requests across many processes? How can you fine-tune your app for memory efficiency, or simply run Ruby code in parallel? Find out with a deep dive on that staple Unix utensil, the
fork() system call!
After an operating systems primer on children, zombies, processes and pipes, we'll dig into how exactly Spring and Puma use
fork() to power Rails in development and production. We'll finish by sampling techniques for measuring and maximizing copy-on-write efficiency, including a new trick that can reduce memory usage up to 80%.
Am I my colleague’s keeper? To what extent are we responsible for the consequences of our code?
More than two thousand years ago conversations on central questions of human ethics were enshrined in one of the primary ancient wisdom texts, the Talmud.
Now, as the tech industry is beginning to wake up to the idea that we can not separate our work from its ethical and moral ramifications these questions take on a new urgency.
In this talk, we will delve into questions of our responsibility to our teammates, to our code, and to the world through both the ancient texts and modern examples.