The Ruby Hangout

The ruby users' group for the internet

State of the Ruby Hangout

Looking Back

The Ruby Hangout has been a lot of fun. I’ve enjoyed talking to lots of great notable people and learning about all kinds of awesome projects.

My own life has been getting busier and busier. I’m the CTO of a growing startup, and my priorities have shifted sufficiently so that staying on top of a monthly meeting has gotten beyond me. Ultimately I think the future holds lots of great things for the Ruby Hangout but perhaps not as a monthly event.

Looking outside

The Ruby Hangout has been a wonderful vehicle to meet interesting people and share that with you. I’d love to talk to lots more people about Ruby and where we’re going with it. There are other interesting things going on out there in the world of development too though.

I started the DC Polyglot Programming Meetup and I’ve been really excited to learn about new things across the industry. I think cross-pollination is the only way to get the best ideas all the time, otherwise you get a serious echo-chamber.

The Ruby Rogues had an interesting talk with Dave Thomas recently. He said you should always be challenging your own status quo. He recommended for example to try programming without TDD. I love TDD, but when I write other languages I don’t use it as much. It led me to wonder what’s really important—-is the value in writing the tests or is the value in the confidence in our code that we get out of it? It’s just one example but it’s interesting, and it’s the kind of thinking I’ve opened myself to by considering how other people get things done.

The Future

The Ruby Hangout will continue, just more sporadically. Subscribe to our Google Plus page and you’ll always get alerts when we have a hangout, or follow us on twitter at @rubyhangout.

And always check out our past hangouts in the sidebar, they’re all lots of fun!


Clean Clean Code

Jim Gay talked about cleaning up and making your code more understandable through DCI (Data, Contect and Interaction.) Jim discussed delegation, extending classes and gave us one of the best programming quotes we’ve ever heard. ‘Your brain is the first compiler, you should optimize for that.’ Jim also discussed how DCI makes testing, thinking about the project and bringing new people on to the project much much easier.

You can view the hangout on youtube and if you want to hear Jim say his fantastic quote, you can see it here.

Jim also offered the watchers of the podcast a discount if you want to read more about it. Just head over to the clean ruby website and use the code HANGOUT.

The Picks

  • John Carmack – He has joined Oculus Rift as CTO.
  • Paradise Porter – MmMmMmm beer.
  • Kinesis Keyboard – Ergonomic keyboard.
  • Surge Conf – Awesome tech conference in the DC/Baltimore area.
  • More Beer – Now open on the east coast.
  • [Surrounded Gem] – Awesome gem.
  • Rubydcamp – Best ruby conference ever.
  • Uncle Bob – Uncle Bob’s phenomenal talk Architecture the Lost Years.
  • Kingdom Rush – Fun tower defense game.
  • RubyFlow – Great way to get your ruby content out to the world.
  • [Rails API] – A more lightweight version of Rails for using as an API.

Audio Now Available

We’ve had requests to make the hangout available in audio format for listening on your commutes to work and we’ve listened!

Click here for audio

Remember that this talk and all the others are available on our youtube channel.

Ember and Dockyard Gems

As children we see the world with a sense of wonder that comes about from a sense of newness with the world. This month Brian Cardarella brought back that sense of wonder and excitement as he spoke to us about Dockyard’s gems, Ember.js and organizing Boston’s upcoming Ruby conference Wicked Good Ruby Conf.

Brian discussed the following gems:

Brian also gave an excellent talk on the history of Ember.js, the benefits of using it and how it is being used. For those considering using it, it was pointed out that Discourse is the current post child for Ember. Brian also provided some excellent resources for learning Ember such as the Ember guides as well as the EmberCasts and Ember101 screencasts for video learning. This only scratches the surface of the talk, everything from forms to json to hateos was discussed with a great quote from Yehuda thrown in there too. It is definitely worth watching.

Next month we have Aaron Patterson who is on both the Ruby and Rails core team and sure to amaze us.

The Picks

We also had our first Anti Pick this month.

Anti Picks

Audio Now Available

We’ve had requests to make the hangout available in audio format for listening on your commutes to work and we’ve listened!

Click here for audio

Remember that this talk and all the others are available on our youtube channel.

And Then Summer…

With the heat and humidity we’ve been having here on the East coast you would think that summer is already here. Don’t despair, think of this weather as an opportunity to stay inside where it is air conditioned and participate in some of the upcoming Ruby Hangouts!

Last month we were extremely fortunate to have with us John Athayde, of The Rails View fame. John gave an exremely useful talk on organizing the view layer of Rails. Some of the topics he touched on included dealing with legacy code, things you should avoid doing, the amazing and awesome power of SASS/SCSS, the usefulness of presenters and useful ways of organizing and re-using your code through partials.

After his talk John answered numerous audience questions ranging from things to do when you come on to an ugly project that has 1000 line view files, the good and bad of twitter bootstrap to what to do when you are a developer and you don’t have access to a designer. It is definitely worth watching the whole talk here.

Next month we have Brian Cardarella who will be talking about some of the amazing gems that his company, Dockyard, maintains as well as Ember.js.

The Picks

Remember that this talk and all the others are available on our youtube channel.

Into Spring

Hey everyone! Spring has come and we’re still going strong. We’ve had some really awesome speakers and presentations lately, if you haven’t had a chance, please check them out.

Here’s a full list of our hangouts to date:

Coming up we have:

In other news, we’ve recently ripped off everyone else and started to add some picks to the end of our hangouts. What do you think of the addition?

Thanks again to all our amazing speakers and moderators! We’re looking forward to more great hangouts soon!


Tonight’s (5th!) hangout will be with Avdi Grimm, join us at 7pm Eastern for a wide mass-pairing session about rogue tapas!

I’ve been pretty bad about updating the website, but we’re still going strong! For easy access, here are all our hangouts to date:

We’ve moved into more of a one-person-at-a-time format, and I think it’s working well. We’d love to hear your thoughts!

First Meetup Retrospective

First, thanks again to our presenters, Chad Fowler and Evan Light. Thanks also to our moderators, Charles, Jim, Nathen, Sean, and Yasha.

If you weren’t able to join us live, you can watch the full recording on YouTube. Please leave us comments, and feel free to ask Chad or Evan questions on our G+ Page; we’ll be asking them to follow up with answers there so we can be sure everyone around the world is included.


Chad’s interview went off well, and so did Evan’s presentation. I was impressed with the hangout’s video quality. I thought the audio quality was especially good; I never had to ask a speaker to repeat themselves.

Our moderators did a great job pulling in comments from the YouTube stream, even though the live comments were jumbled up.

I thought the social hangouts afterward went better than expected, although there weren’t as many as I had hoped for. I think more organization will help. I do feel strongly they will allow us to create that face-to-face community we’re going for.

Next Time

YouTube’s live comment stream was a little hard to follow. Next time we’ll have moderators pulling in questions and comments from Twitter (hashtag #rubyhangout) and IRC (#rubyhangout on

Most people who wanted to hang out after the presentations ended up combining into one hangout, which ran out of room. Next time we’ll ask moderators to create rooms in pairs and have a more coordinated system for sharing the room links. That way there should be plenty of space, and nobody should feel lonely. We’ll also create a shortcut link from this website to more easily access the list of live hangouts.

Jim Gay also suggested that we try having some people start a social hangout during the broadcast to allow people to join more cleanly after the presentations. I like this idea too, but it means less moderators helping us out in the broadcast! ;)

Next Hangout: November 7th

I’m excited for our next hangout! We already have Jeff Casimir lined up to talk about internationalization. Depending on your feedback, we could have another interview or another presentation. Rubyconf is just before this hangout, so I hope to spread the word more there and perhaps find some more presenters. Anyone I should look for in particular? Let me know in the comments!

Other people we have lined up to talk soon are Jim Gay (Clean Ruby, Radiant), Noah Gibbs (Rebuilding Rails), and Nathen Harvey (Opscode / Chef). Please contact us if you’re interested in speaking; we want to hear everyone’s voice!

This Is Your Community!

What do you think went well? What do you think needed work? This is your community, and it takes everyone’s input and ideas to make it a success. Did you like the interview format? How about more “standard” presentations? What should we do in the future?

Leave a comment, and let’s start a conversation!

-Josh (@jszmajda)

Our Format

Before we have our first meetup, I wanted to take a minute to let you know what the format will be like, and also some plans I have for future hangouts.

TL;DR: G+ Hangout broadcast to YouTube, small G+ Hangouts after for beers and chat, Google Groups to keep the conversation going.

Enabling Technology: Google+ Hangouts On Air

Standard Google+ Hangouts allow up to 10 people to hang out, but recently Google has added broadcast capabilities via YouTube so any number of people can watch the hangout live. We plan for the “main” hangout to have our hosts, presenters, and a few moderators or special guests. The rest of the community will be engaged through YouTube. Our moderators will be selecting comments from YouTube live and copying them into the hangout’s text chat, where hosts or guests can bring them up to our presenters. Our goal is to make everyone feel like part of the conversation.

Our First Meetup

Keeping that in mind, our format will be (for the first meetup at least), an introduction, announcements, two presentations each followed by questions, and then break-outs into smaller hangouts to bring the community together.

Building a Real Community

One of the things I love most about my local meetups is the time after the presentations when I can hang out, drink a beer, and get to know the other people in my community. We want to have that same feeling at The Ruby Hangout, so we’re going to have break-out “drink-up” sessions after the presentations. These G+ Hangouts will be each created by one of the hosts, presenters, moderators, or special guests who were in the original broadcast. These will be informal sessions for people to get to know each other and chat about Ruby or other things of interest to community members. The organizers will try and keep a list of active hangouts so people can move around, getting to know as many people as they like.

We also have started a Google Group, The Ruby Hangout. Forums and email lists are familiar tools to build community.

Continuing the Conversation

The recording of the hangout will be available on YouTube for anyone to watch. One of the problems we’re foreseeing is that we’ll be recording at 7pm Eastern time, which isn’t necessarily convenient for people around the world. We’re considering ways to continue the conversation with both our presenters and the community at large, making everyone feel welcome. Some ideas are collecting comments and forwarding them to our presenters up to 24 hours after the meetup or simply asking our presenters to respond to comments on the meetup in our Google+ stream or Google Group. We could use more ideas around this, what are your thoughts?

The Future

We’re looking for presenters and great presentations. The core of our community is sharing knowledge, so if you have anything you’d like to share, please let us know.

One idea we’ve had is to have short “ruby newbie” intro presentations. Each would be 5 – 10 minutes and would help introduce ruby and related technologies to newcomers. Think it’s a good or bad idea? Let us know in the comments!