Archive | February, 2009

Notes from NH Ruby/Rails Group, 19-February-2009: Josh Nichols, Jeweler, Brian Turnbull, Rails 2.3

The New Hampshire Ruby / Rails group met as usual at the RMC Research offices in Portsmouth. Thirteen people attended the meeting, a suspicious number of them from Maine. We started, as we often do, with a round of introductions.

Josh Nichols presented RubyGems and You. A former Java developer, started working with Ruby about two years ago, got a “real” Ruby job about 6 months ago, laid off 2 months ago, currently “employment independent.” Josh presented an excellent overview of how gems work, how they fit into the logic of Rails apps, how they are distinguished from plugins, and how gems can be created. He went on to talk about the two primary repositories, RubyForge and GitHub, and talked about the benifits and liabilities of each. This was all pretty much background for his presentation of Jeweler, a set of scripts that can generate the framework needed to build a gem, with support for pushing it directly up onto GitHub, automating the bumping of version numbers (patch, minor and major versions). Josh made a very clear presentation of the skeletal files that were created and touched on issues with RSpec testing, rake scripts, how to tie in library paths, vendor-izing your gems. Whew! A great amount of material covered quickly and well. Thanks, Josh!

Brian Turnbull did a presentation on the new features of Rails 2.3: Engines, nested transactions, nested forms, nested attributes, dynamic and default scope, other changes (multiple conditions for callbacks, HTTP digest authentication, lazy loaded sessions, localized views, and more!)

Brian then did a short presentation on Rails Metal. Metal runs on top of Rack, and is a tool you turn to when the full Rails stack is too complex or too slow. There was some interesting discussion on how Metal can fit into the calling stack, short-circuiting calls that didn’t need the full Rails process.

Demo version:

You can view their slides via SlideShare and also view a WebEx video of the event (see the post’s comments) at

Thanks to Josh for the trip up from Boston and the great presentation. Thanks to Brian for two cool presentations. Thanks to Tim Golden and our hosts at RMC Research for the great facilities and for broadcasting the presentation via WebEx this month. Thanks to Nick for herding the cats and ordering the pizza and making the announcements and giving away a couple of cool O’Reilly books. Thanks to all for attending and participating!

Next month: Ted Roche presents an introduction to Cascading Style Sheets, Nick Plante presents Sinatra. Hope to see you there!

Notes from CentraLUG, 2-Feb-2009: Open Source Business Models

Fourteen people attended the February meeting of the Central New Hampshire Linux User Group, a chapter of the Greater New Hampshire Linux User Group. We held our meeting at the usual place and time: the first Monday of the month at the New Hampshire Technical Institute Library, Room 146. Formal meeting starts at 7 PM. Gathering and networking often starts a half-hour earlier.

A few of us met at Panera Bread in Concord before the meeting for dinner and geek talk. We’ll try to make this a regular thing, if people want to.

Before the main meeting, maddog showed off a video he had created, inspired by some recent demonstrations of Open Source software he had seen. Using nothing buy Open Source software, including Inkscape and Kino. maddog emphasized that he’s not an experienced cinematographer, nor had he much experience with the other packages, but that making the video was simple and straight-forward. And the results quite amusing. Look forward to a future post with a link to the video!

We were fortunate to have a variety of attendees to discuss the topic of “Open Source Business Models.” After a brief introduction of what the LUG was about and where to learn more, I opened the floor to the attendees for discussions, and discuss they did!

We talked about the Brazilian music scene, Microsoft EULAs, the difference between Free Software and Open Source software, some great Open Source success stories, like the Project.Net software. There were questions on the fine points of licensing, comments on the openness of the Java Development Kit and runtimes, and much good discussion.

At the end of the evening, two lucky attendees got to pick from the assortment of books we’d been provided by generous publishers. Using the formula of:


in interactive ruby and counting off around the room (I started with zero and we went clockwise around the room, a surprisingly difficult process with cats). Mark and Bill each won a book, congratulations! The next CentraLUG meeting will be the 2nd of March. Stay tuned for an announcement of details. Thanks all for attending and vigorously participating. Thanks to Bill for bringing the projector, though we didn’t need it.

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