Table XI
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Table XI

Rails 2009 vs. 2017

Yep, I’m comparing them again…

So, I had enough fun with comparing RailsConf to older RailsConfs last year that I thought I’d do it again.

Same rules. There are 20 talk titles listed here, 10 of them are from the 2009 RailsConf in Las Vegas, 10 of them are from the 2017 program in Phoenix next week. I tried to avoid talks that specifically referenced versions or tools that would date them, like “What’s new in Rails 3” and the like. I may have deliberately tried to pick things that were surprising.

  1. Build an App, Start a Movement
  2. The Effective Remote Developer
  3. What Killed Smalltalk Could Kill Ruby Too
  4. We’ve Always Been Here: Women Changemakers In Tech
  5. Working Effectively with Legacy Rails Code
  6. What’s My App Really Doing In Production
  7. Below and Beneath TDD: Test-Last Development and other Real World Test Patterns
  8. A Deep Dive Into Sessions
  9. What Makes Ruby Go: An Implementation Primer
  10. Postgres at any Scale
  11. Discussion Panel: Women in Rails
  12. In Relentless Pursuit of REST
  13. Quality Code With Cucumber
  14. Decouple Your Models With Form Objects
  15. Modeling Workflow in Ruby and Rails
  16. Panel: Ruby’s Killer Feature: The Community
  17. The Future of Deployment: A Killer Panel
  18. How to Write Better Code Using Mutation Testing
  19. It’s Not Always Sunny In the Clouds: Lessons Learned
  20. What Comes After Solid? Seeking Holistic Software Quality


If you read this last year, you probably remember I didn’t get very creative with the random ordering. But I’ll put some words here so it isn’t obvious. Anyway, all the odd numbers are from 2009 and all the even numbers are from 2017.

I don’t have any grand conclusions, but I did want to drop some random comments.

The “Smalltalk/Ruby” talk was Bob Martin’s keynote. Since it was a keynote, it was actually recorded. I’m kind of afraid to rewatch it. I don’t always agree with him now, but I remember being really fired up at the end of that talk.

The “Below and Beneath” was my first RailsConf talk. Sadly not recorded. But I still have the slides, and I think it’s actually held up pretty well, and I think I could re-deliver it at the drop of a hat.

The Women In Rails panel from 2009 included Sarah Mei, in what might have been (according to her blog) her first RailsConf talk as well.

It’s funny that in last year’s post, I specifically mentioned legacy as something that the community wasn’t working on and there was a talk on that topic in 2009. The only 2009 JavaScript talk, though was a talk on testing JavaScript. There were more 2009 talks on JRuby than JavaScript.

I’m not really a Vegas guy, and I remember feeling like it was a really weird and awkward place for a tech conference, especially for a community that was talking about having more women. I also remember not leaving the hotel — and really wanting to go to an In n’ Out because I’d never been, and not being able to coordinate timing for some reason.

So, no new big conclusions, but I do like these snapshots of what we found important. And I’m looking forward to seeing people in Phoenix next week.



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Noel Rappin

Noel Rappin

Noel Rappin is an Engineering Manager II at Root Insurance. He is the author of Modern Front-Front End Development For Rails. Find him @noelrap.