March 2008 Meeting

The next meeting of LRUG will be on Monday the 10th of March, from 6:30pm to 8:00pm, in the Skills Matter overflow venue The Old Sessions House on Clerkenwell Green. (See note about registration below.)


It's entering silly season in the ruby conference year, with 9 conferences due in March and April (according to this calendar). All the speakers at this meeting are talking at one or more of these conferences.

Challenges in making Ruby run effectively on a JVM

Kresten Krab Thorup, track host and speaker at both QCon and RubyFools, will provide an overview of the issues, trade-offs and challenges in making dynamic object-oriented languages run effectively; both in general, and specifically making Ruby run well on the JVM. Kresten has many years deep knowledge of getting the most out of a JVM, and has recently been working on an research project on building yet another JVM-based virtual machine for Ruby and thus, the talk is organized around issues and findings in building this virtual machine.

A video of this talk, filmed by Skills Matter, is available on Google Video or the Skills Matter site.

mobileAct: a high-risk Rails app for Channel 4

Thomas Pomfret is going to give us a trailer version of his Scotland On Rails talk. The blurb from the conference website says:

mobileAct Unsigned is Channel 4 TV search for the best unsigned band in Britain. The site lets bands and fans to communicate and share media. In addition, users get to vote on who should win the million pound recording deal. "mobileAct: a high-risk Rails app for Channel 4" will report back on Mint's experiences building this mass-market application. In the light of recent TV voting scandals, the spotlight was on voting. In a very public arena, we had to make sure not only that the vote was fair, but that it could be seen to be fair.

So we can expect his "trailer" to cover some or all of that.

A video of this talk, filmed by Skills Matter, is available on Google Video or the Skills Matter site.

Handling Long-Running Tasks in Rails

Andrew Stewart is also talking at Scotland On Rails and so as not to be shown up by Thomas's extra preparation is also going to give us a trailer for his talk, described on the conference site as follows:

Rails is a web framework and thus designed for HTTP's synchronous request and response: you make a request to the application, the application executes it and returns the response. For your application to feel snappy its filters and actions should take no more than a few milliseconds to execute. But what do you do if you need to run a task that takes more than a few milliseconds? Perhaps ten minutes or even longer? You need to move execution off the request-response thread and onto a different one.

Rails doesn't support this out of the box and it's not obvious how to do this correctly. Happily a number of plugins fill the gap. They all work differently, though, and cater for different situations. The one you need for your application depends on your situation.

This session lays out all your options and explains where each plugin is best suited. It shows you how to work with each plugin. By the end you will be able to make an informed decision about which one you need in any given situation - and how to use it well.

We obviously can't expect a "trailer" to cover all the plugins and solutions out there, but it's bound to cover some of them.

A video of this talk, filmed by Skills Matter, is available on Google Video or the Skills Matter site.


As usual, we'll head down to The Crown Tavern after the "serious" meeting. There's usually lots of good ruby chat in the pub and it's a great opportunity to try and thrash out those thorny problems with work or personal projects. If you're not sure that you'll make it for the main meeting, you should definitely come along to the pub and meet up with us there.


Please register with Skills Matter if you are planning to come. Registration has pretty much become mandatory, as in the past few meetings we've had to close the doors after an influx of registrants over the final weekend, resulting in standing room only. Skills Matter can book a larger room, but they need much more notice in order to do so. Please, therefore, register now rather than later.

There's also an upcoming event for those of us that love online calendaring, but this is not a place to indicate attendance in a meaningful way for Skills Matter.

Posted by Murray Steele on Feb 19, 2008