Past Rubies

What to expect in Ruby 1.9 (2008)

Posted at 8:23 | 12 Aug. 2020

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Ruby 1.9: What to Expect


This here's a great slide deck from Sam Ruby at OSCON 2008 detailing what folks during this week twelve years ago could expect in Ruby 1.9.


Understanding Ruby Symbols


This was a very popular blog post on the Gluttonous blog that came out this week in 2005. The detailed discussion about symbols was so popular it ended up being translated into Spanish and Korean! Be sure to check out the comments at the bottom for and extra treat.


Running Camping on the JVM!


Wait, you've never heard of *Camping*? How dare you! Camping is a core part of Ruby history knowledge, a nice and quirky lightweight web framework from the times of _why. Check it out! Here's a post from this week in 2006 using the library with JRuby.


The Least Surprised #7


Let's wrap up this week with an eclectic comic from our favorite historical Rubyist.


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Matz speaks at OSCON

Posted at 8:23 | 05 Aug. 2020

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Matz speaks at OSCON 2005 - and we have the slides!


I love a good conference. A win is finding the speakers list, but it's so hard to get content from 15+ years ago. We're very lucky that there's an archive of Matz's slides from his talk in OSCON 2005 and we have them here to share with you! Enjoy! Note - youtube would have only been a few months old at this point, so "uploading to youtube" would have been an unlikely expectation at this point.


2014's Ruby Web Benchmark Report


I love a good benchmark because its data stands the test of time. We can compare current frameworks and Ruby versions to these old standards! This week six years ago so a nice hearty benchmark from Brian Knapp. Enjoy those numbers!

opinion benchmarks

Ruby-prof turns 15 years old!


We can't believe it! After 14 years of active development and love, ruby-prof released 1.0 one year ago this week. That means our beloved ruby-prof is now 15! Congratulations and thank you to all the OSS maintainers over the years

release release

More OSCON 2005 fun


I can't help myself. OSCON 2005 was so amazing I'm referencing it three times in two weeks! Here is the late and great Jim Weirich's talk details for "10 Things Every Java Programmer Should Know About Ruby". For even MORE fun, here are the available additional bits of information for all other speakers that I could find.


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How to profile your Rails application in 2007

Posted at 8:23 | 29 Jul. 2020

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How to profile your Rails application in 2007


There's certain concepts and workflows that just feel- well- so *new*. It's hard to believe that we had robust Rails profiling solutions thirteen years ago. Here's a great article that came out this week (and is still up, no archive link!) discussing using ruby-prof and friends to profile your Rails application.


Make your test suite UNCOMFORTABLY FAST!


This still-live article from Thoughtbot's Jason Morrison originally published eleven years ago this week is a great introduction into test parallelization. I love using parallel tests wherever I can, it feels like the cheat code we can rely on to speed things up whether you're a one-person outfit or Shopify!


MacOS app development with Ruby


There was a fantastic, in-depth guide making the rounds in the Ruby community this week in 2006. The guide walks step-by-step showing you how you can build desktop MacOS applications using Ruby! From Shoes to Rubymotion to this, I love any excuse where I can spin up Ruby to write up a native application.

code article ruby guide

The pros and cons of Ruby refinements


Refinements are interesting. Available since 2.0, they allow a more limited scope approach to reopening classes than monkeypatching. However sometimes I feel it's a segment of the native DSL that would be more the purview of seniors and metaprogrammers. There are definitely some considerations to be had here for everyone!

code article

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A Starry Afternoon, a Sinking Symphony, and the Polo Champ Who Gave It All Up for No Reason Whatsoever

Posted at 8:23 | 22 Jul. 2020

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A Starry Afternoon, a Sinking Symphony, and the Polo Champ Who Gave It All Up for No Reason Whatsoever


15 years ago this week O'Reilly hosted OSCON 2005. This was the conf to be at at the time, and it was the tech who's who of the time. There were (wait for it) FIFTEEN simultaneous tracks, with up to 25 talks that you could see over *FIVE DAYS*. Wow. Of course legends like (a very young) DHH spoke there, but his section is titled from the talk I wished I could have seen the most. Can you find it?


Ben Orenstein: Tell, Don't Ask


Ben Orenstein's Ruby work informed a lot of the mantras that permeate my mind today. Code smells, this "Tell, Don't Ask", even proper public speaking are all products of Ben's generous work. He has also been a ubiquitous podcaster for what feels like a decade now. (The Code Quality Challenge & Refactoring Rails artifacts are also amazing). This week in 2012 he released one of his fantastic posts, "Tell, Don't Ask". Great stuff.

Ruby.inspect by Koichi Sasada


Here is a fantastic talk released this week in 2014 from Koichi Sasada at RedDot Ruby Conf!

ruby opinion

Matz looking into Block and Lambda in 2005


Here we have a great collation from _why looking into a series of blog posts from Matz about blocks and lambdas - this is particularly helpful as all these posts at the time were in Japanese. enjoy!


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RubyFringe: the three-day, $650 Ruby party of 2008

Posted at 8:23 | 15 Jul. 2020

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RubyFringe, the three-day, $650 Ruby party in 2008


Looking through the annals of Ruby history, you see how things rise and fall, and it makes one quite sad sometimes. A big podcast fan, it tweaks my heart to see a podcast go on for 5-10 episodes then cease to exist. Additionally, conferences that seem to be a hit but are unable to continue for more than a short time. Honestly, sometimes I wonder if that will be the fate of some things I work on! But nothing can last forever. Perhaps RubyFringe hit the nail on the head with one expensive, attendee-oriented, sponsor-free three-day bash in 2008. It appears there was a cap at 150 attendees, with the first 75 paying $650 a ticket and the next paying a higher amount. (For those keeping score at home, that would be a $100,000 budget). Peter Cooper's RubyInside covered it pretty well and is our main link, but there are also some interesting links at an archive of the original page: here, and also a nice chunk about it on twitter at the time here (note: Jeff Atwood!) It was notorious at the time for apparently being not just expensive but a great all around Ruby party. Were you there? Write in and let me know what your experience was like if so, bonus points if you have any pictures or selfies!

article other

RSpec 3 Announced


We're still on RSpec 3.x today, which is a testament to this announcement *seven years ago* this week from Myron Marston about the plan for RSpec 3 as RSpec 2 was heading towards deprecation. Check it out!


High level languages, Ruby, garbage collection in 2006


Alright, if you have 10 minutes and actually want to put your nerd glasses on for a minute, this one is *great*. Here's an email from Rick Nooner in 2006 about when it's appropriate to use garbage collected languages like Ruby. These are debates that we rarely have or even think about now, particularly as computing power seems to be outpacing any programming language limitations. This is a fantastic discussion about the benefits of language that is useful to the programmer over unnecessary premature performance optimizations. Hope you enjoy!


SD Ruby Releases 100th Episode!


This week in 2011 SDRuby released it's 100th Episode! As a major podcast fan, I think this might be one of the longer running now-defunkt Ruby podcasts that you may *not* have heard of. If you give it a listen you may get some neat insight into the world of Ruby from 2009-2011 era!

article ruby

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Using AWS with Ruby in 2007

Posted at 8:23 | 08 Jul. 2020

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Using AWS with Ruby in 2007


This one is a bit of a treat. Normally I capture blog posts, articles, releases or talks. But this week I've found an AWS-with-Ruby tutorial archived from the AWS site this week in 2007! It is easy for us to think of AWS as new-ish tooling, but it really has been a part of our tooling for a tremendously long time. (And no, they do not sponsor this newsletter!)

code article

Parkaby: speeding up HTML generation in Ruby


In the early days the Markaby library was heavily relied upon to generate HTML with Ruby. Most folks nowadays have enjoyed a mostly "settled" problem with the use of erb, haml, or . This week in 2009 saw the rising popularity of Parkaby, which maintained most of the Markaby DSL but up to 20 times faster. Woah!

code release

Sydney, alternative to Ruby 1.8, released


We've heard of a slew of Ruby interpreters over the years. One I never heard of before, Sydney, had a developer preview release this week in 2005. The interpreter branched off of Ruby 1.8 and included a slew of interesting features at the time such as native Binding.of_caller and native OS threads. I wonder if we can still get our hands on this Ruby today....


Self destructing Ruby methods


In here was have an interesting discussion this week in 2006 about writing methods in Ruby that self-destruct (with a tiny bit of MetaProgramming involved). Take a look at the comments, Ruby legend MenTaLguY chimes in with a few alternative examples as well. Try this out in your terminal!


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RubyConf 2005 Agenda Release

Posted at 8:23 | 01 Jul. 2020

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RubyConf 2005 Agenda Released


This week in 2005 saw the release of that year's RubyConf agenda. I always find these as a gold mine for really interesting information about what was going on in the Ruby Community at the time! I was tempted to make this week just highlighting the talks of the time but think you'll enjoy parsing the agenda as much as I did. Familiar faces included DHH and Matz, and other legends such as the late Jim Weirich and Ryan Davis. Would have loved to have been there!

article ruby other

Converting Ruby to Javascript (fourteen years ago!)


In 2006 this week London's Paul Battley had written a Ruby-to-JS converter in under 200 lines of Ruby code. It's hairy, and I didn't even try to run it nowadays. However it's a real treat to see folks looking at these issues when even JavaScript still feels so young sometimes. If you play around with the code let us know! (But I'm unsure how much use you'd get out of 2006-JS these days...)

code article

Let's collect some garbage


Now if you want to dig into the real, REAL nitty gritty of Ruby history, it can be a lot to parse but the `ruby-talk` community is great. It's something I'm going to try to feature more. Today's `ruby-forum` only goes back to 2008, but you can still get back into the 2000's with some gumption. (Which we all have, right?) This week in 2005 we say an interesting post that piqued the Ruby community, having a dig into the GC and finding weird failing edge cases. I think sometimes it's too easy to just think of the Garbage Collector as a there be dragons area of Ruby and never play around with it. This thread and following discussion is a *great* example of that.

code ruby opinion

Web spidering back in the day


If _why is the Herodotus of Ruby circa 2003-2009, then Peter Cooper is the Tacitus of Ruby 2006-present. We are so grateful for all of his work the last decade to effectively chronicle the goings on of Ruby. Here he shares a neat tool of the time, Anemone, to manage your own spiders and configure your own web crawling. Neat!

code guide

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_why interviews DHH [PastRubies #9]

Posted at 12:45 | 18 Dec. 2019

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_why interviews DHH


Christmas Eve 2004 (!) saw our favorite why the lucky stiff interviewing DHH. They cover Instiki, the future of Rails, music and skyscrapers.

article ruby

Peter Cooper's RubyInside releases the ultimate Ruby advent calendar


What a treat for our readers to peruse over the Christmas Holiday break. As hinted last week, here is Peter Cooper's amazing Ruby advent calendar released back in 2006. You have interesting Ruby snippets, cool links, and even shnazzy wallpaper. If you're a Ruby history buff like me, this is a gold mine

code article ruby

Why Rubinius matters to Ruby's future


This post released 11 years ago this week by Reg Braithwaite goes into the importance of Rubinius. At that time Engine Yard had five full time staffers working on Rubinius. Pretty interesting discussion in the comments below.

article ruby opinion

What makes Rails a framework worth learning in 2017


Once in a while I'm allowed to treat myself to a link *not* on this week in history, right? We are likely to take a break during the festive season so it feels appropriate to wrap things up with this post from DHH. Enjoy!

rails opinion

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Rails 1.0 turns 14! PastRubies #8

Posted at 16:14 | 12 Dec. 2019

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10 more features in Ruby 2.5


It's Christmas which means new Ruby time! But I think it's all too easy to forget the new features of recent versions so we can utilize the latest Ruby goodness! Here's a great writeup published this week in 2017 on those features in Ruby 2.5

code article

A pagination helper for Rails in 2004


Well would you look at that! A little cheeky banter between Ruby legends _why and DHH this week fifteen years ago. This is a neat little peek into Rails pagination in 2004, a year before 1.0 was released! (Yes, it's that old of a problem space)

article rails

What are events, why you might care, and how EventMachine can help


This is a great little writeup on the EngineYard blog by Kirk Haines on events and event machine (published this week in 2011)


The 2005 Ruby Advent Calendar


Who remembers reading the Tucows blog back in the day? It was a massive source of info for Rubyists in the early coding days. Here's a glimpse into the Ruby Advent Calendar they were hosting in 2005 (note: the famous PeterC also had a few that may yet get featured this month!)

code article

Neat Ruby snippets 2004


Gosh, I haven't hustled through the RubyTalk archives yet... That changes this week! Here's a pleasant fifteen year old (this week) thread on interesting Ruby snippets that accomplish cool things. (We're talking servers in six lines)

code article ruby

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The Ruby on Rails Whitepaper - Past Rubies #7

Posted at 14:55 | 04 Dec. 2019

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The Ruby on Rails White Paper, 10 years later


This was actually released in the *autumn* of 2009, but was making the rounds on blogs a decade ago this week as more people discovered it. InfoEther and Mark Gardner released a very comprehensive Ruby on Rails whitepaper which covered everything from the current state of the framework, estimated developer population, to the community and ecosystem. For those of us who have been around a while or even fancy ourselves a bit of a "Ruby Historian", this is an unrivaled snapshot into the "State of Rails" in 2009.

ruby rails guide

It's time for... SCIENCE!


This week five years ago we got to see Jesse Toth give a talk about their work on Github's Scientist. This allows developers to compare, via the lens of 'science experiments', old code and refactored code. Enjoy the talk and the code!

ruby release

Snakes and Rubies Conf


A whopping fourteen years ago saw Snakes and Rubies Conf, a collaborative conference between the Ruby and Python programming communities. You can check out a wrapup here, and plenty from DHH and crew at the link above. Since I run everything through the wayback machine, most of the old links SHOULD work.


In memory of Ezra Zygmuntowicz


In a massive loss for the Ruby community, we found out about the passing of Ezra five years ago this last week. To honor his memory, we have this very kind tribute from Mike Perham back in 2014. There is also this magnificent talk from Ezra himself where he goes through a lot of his journey.

other other

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Speeding Up Rails with Aaron Patterson - Past Rubies #6

Posted at 11:20 | 24 Jul. 2019

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Speeding Up Rails with Aaron Patterson (2014-07-24)


We lead this week with a great 2014 talk from Tenderlove on work being undertaken at the time to speed up Rails and a look at what we can do to improve our app benchmarking. Timeless!

rails benchmarks

We got our Shoes (2007-07-30)


Unceremoniously, _why unveiled his landmark library Shoes to the world twelve years ago this week! I don't know about you, but some of the most fun I had in my early days was building GUI native apps for my Mac in Shoes. Maybe it's time to go back....

code release guide

Playing Music with Ruby on Bells (2008-07)


Hey, who says you have to be a Java pro to play with Arduino? Since at least 2008 we've had these fantastic projects using Ruby to operate hardware, as seen in this video of the Ruby on Bells project. To see the code and the walkthrough, check out the explainer here.

ruby other

Old School Tabbed Navigation (2006-07-23)


We may be used to throwing up tabbed navigation with Bootstrap or any other major libraries today, check out a Ruby approach to tabbed navigation from thirteen years ago this week.

code guide

My Favorite Parts of Ruby (2018-07-19)


Wrapping up this week with another "one year ago" more recent segment, we are honored to share Ilya Bylich's fantastic post going over their favorite ruby bits. This is definitely an article that you want your IRB open for. See you next week!

code article ruby

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Building a Ruby Gem with Steve Klabnik - Past Rubies #5

Posted at 14:29 | 17 Jul. 2019

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Building a Ruby Gem with Steve Klabnik (2014-07-10)


Half-a-decade-ago this week famous Rubyist Steve Klabnik put together a fantastic guide for building a Rubygem. If you've built many gems or never ventured into this territory before, it really is a fantastic read.

article ruby

Getting Your Feet Wet With Ruby on Rails (2005-07-15)


Paul Adams, then columnist for webmonkey (if you remember that!), walks us through setting up a Ruby on Rails application this week in 2005. Once in a while we give you a really good peek into the past, this article does not disappoint!

article rails

How to Build a Ruby on Rails Engine (2006-07-14)


I'm sure you've heard about the benefits of using Rails engines to extend your Rails superpowers and also how well they mesh with Rails gem development. Enjoy this fantastic guide that came out this week in 2006 on just how to get it done.

code article

Another Great Ruby Shootout (2010-07-19)


Remember when we shared that 'Ruby Shootout' article about a month ago? Well, here was a July 2010 version, showing how the various Rubies on different hardware compared agains each other. Neat!

code article

Redcloth 4.0 Released (2008-07-17)


Ah, RedCloth, the Ruby gem for converting good ol' Textile into HTML. This is a gem we've gotten to see used a lot parsing through our resources for PastRubies. Well, eleven years ago this week it got its last major release (though there have been further releases since)


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