A Very Special Message From Us To You...

Dear Ruby Friends,

Cascadia Ruby is back! We had such a lovely time last year that we decided to do it all over again, so for our fourth year we'll be returning to the Portland Art Museum in beautiful Portland, Oregon.

Also returning is our amazing party, hosted by awesome sponsor New Relic in their new office space, one floor higher in the U.S. Bancorp Tower. That's right: our party is literally movin' on up.

Lots of Love,


Jason Clark
John Feminella
Jeremy ♥ Flores
Miles Forrest
Brad Grzesiak
Aja Hammerly
Dan Hon
Starr Horne
Liz Rush & Hsing-Hui Hsu
John Hyland
Sam Livingston-Gray
Terence Lee & Kenichi Nakamura
Aaron Patterson
T.J. Schuck
Davy Stevenson
Lauren Voswinkel


  • Jason Clark

    Programming in the Small - Teaching my 5 Year Old Ruby

    My dad's a programmer, so I grew up with PCs and--more importantly--programming tools my friends didn't have. I learned early on that text I typed could make these machines do anything I could imagine.

    Now I have kids of my own, and as my daughter's learning letters and arithmetic, I'm scheming to give her similar experiences. Come along on the journey of introducing her to programming. We'll talk about the software we used, the puzzles and games we made, what worked and what didn't. Along the way we'll pick up tips on teaching programming to novices of any age.

  • John Feminella

    Why We Can't Have Nice Things: Unicode, Dates, and Names

    The real world is a messy place, and software reflects this to some extent. This messiness, however, doesn't mesh well with the general tendencies of software developers, who like to try to simplify the world with assumptions. When those assumptions later turn out to be wrong, bad things happen.

    In this talk, we'll discuss three perennial sources of bad developer assumptions:

    - Unicode;
    - dates and times; and
    - the names of people, places, and things.

    We'll illustrate why each of several commonly-made assumptions is incorrect, show how to use Ruby to arrive at the correct answer, and empower you to make better decisions about your own code in the process.

  • Jeremy Flores

    How Not to Be Lonely: An Extrovert's Guide to Working Alone

    Working remotely—full or part time, across town or across timezones—takes a special set of skills that develop with practice. Remote work further blurs the lines of work/life balance in an already grey industry. With the right tools, you can sustainably keep your balance and stay focused and energized without burning out. I've done it multiple times with multiple groups and experienced a multitude of results. I've tallied my experiences into a set of guidelines to help you, the new remote worker, do things like:

    ✦ build team engagement—without being gabby—by recognizing and focusing on relevant conversations.

    ✦ grow a voice to which others respond by knowing yourself and what sets you apart.

    ✦ advocate your needs by illustrating added value to others and yourself.

    ✦ integrate into an existing culture by exposing expertise and exuding affability,

    ✦ and push that culture in a healthy direction by using your voice and expertise.

  • Miles Forrest

    Cloning the Seattle Ruby Brigade

    Do you love Ruby? Do you like geeking out with other Ruby coders? Do you have a project you would love to build but might need some help making it happen?

    The Seattle Ruby Brigade is arguably the most successful Ruby User Group in the world. They were not only the first Ruby group in the world, but have also shipped and support hundreds of open source projects, and they still meeting every single week for over 12 years. How do they do it? Why do so many User Groups languish and die while Seattle.rb thrives?

    Miles Forrest tried to start a Ruby user group three times, but each attempt failed miserably. Here's the full story of how he cloned the Seattle Ruby Brigade back in 2009 and built his own club out in a rural area, which is also still going strong after 5 years.

  • Brad Grzesiak


    Let's learn us a space exploration! In this talk, Brad will wax poetic on the particulars of getting into space, getting around in space, and getting things done in space. Extraterrestrial mining, orbital insertion, and how rockets work by smashing molecules together. There may or may not be any math, programming, or vacuum-induced hypoxia in this talk.

  • Aja Hammerly

    N design patterns you might actually use (where N is < 10)

    Imagine a chef who doesn't know what the words braise, julienne, or sauté mean. Even if he is a good chef, and uses these techniques daily, he's not going to be able to work effectively with others. He won't be able to use published recipes. He may struggle to improve his craft since he lacks the vocabulary to ask succinct questions and likely won't understand instruction from other chefs.

    Professions have specialized vocabulary for common techniques because it makes communicating and sharing knowledge easier. In programming, design patterns are a large part of our specialized vocabulary. Knowing the names for these common techniques and efficient ways to implement them makes you a better programmer and teammate.

    In this talk, I'll discuss design patterns commonly used in web applications. I'll give examples of each and demonstrate how to integrate them into existing projects.

  • Dan Hon

    Designing for Empathy

    Moore’s law has meant that computing and communications power has been getting cheaper, smaller and faster. Soon, everything really will have an IP address. And yet.

    Designing an internet of things that’s for humans means understanding when we might be creating an empathy gap. That gap doesn’t just apply to Silicon Valley releasing new technology into the world. This gap is experienced everywhere from when an airline’s customer service can frequently feel indifferent to the needs of those on a long journey; to government, when legislative policy reaches implementation.

    This session is the story of how, in a more connected world, we should remember to design those things, products and services to understand us.

  • Starr Horne

    Biggish Data With Rails and Postgresql

    Once your database hits a few hundred million rows normal ActiveRecord conventions don't work so well.

    ...you find yourself in a new world. One where calling count() can bring your app to its knees. One where migrations can take all day.

    This talk will show you how to work with big datasets in Rails and Postgresql. We'll show how normal conventions break down, and offer practical real-world advice on maintaining performance, doing maintenance, and tuning rails for optimal DB performance.

  • Liz Rush & Hsing-Hui Hsu

    "Good luck with that": Tag Teaming Civic Data

    In this end-to-end discussion about the challenges with civic data, from no-documentation & incomplete government code to figuring out how to scale data-driven SOA, we'll show you how two Ruby newbies managed to create an awesomely useful parking app in just four weeks. For those new to coding, or experienced devs looking to work with civic data, we'll show you our roadmap as well as what we learned pairing as two junior developers just starting out in the big bad world of programming.

  • John Hyland

    Be Awesome By Being Boring

    Boring technology is awesome. The more boring, the better. It's less shiny, but you get to spend all your time writing code and building new things that actually work, and that's the most exciting part anyway!

    Come to this talk and you'll walk away armed with simple, proven tools that can save you countless hours of wrestling with problems that have been solved for decades. We'll cover specific examples of existing network protocols and unix utilities that can serve the same purposes as trendy new approaches, letting you get on with the business of writing the code you actually want to write instead of spinning your wheels trying to integrate a bunch of bleeding edge technologies. On the other hand, sometimes you really do need something new, so we'll discuss the limitations of the simple solutions, and explore some criteria to evaluate whether the benefits of throwing in the new hotness outweigh the risks, as well as strategies to mitigate those risks when it does turn out to be warranted.

    Embrace boring. Build simpler, more reliable code, and experience the joy of shipping a working product in less time than it takes to get your Mongular DirectiveBase talking to the ClojThrift.js componoids (much less writing any actual code).

  • Sam Livingston-Gray

    Cognitive Shortcuts: Models, Visualizations, Metaphors, and Other Lies

    Experienced developers tend to build up a library of creative problem-solving tools: rubber ducks, code smells, anthropomorphizing code, et cetera.

    These tools map abstract problems into forms our brains are good at solving. But our brains are also good at lying to us.

    We'll talk about some of these tools, when to use them (or not), and how their biases can lead us astray.

    “A change in perspective is worth 80 IQ points.” -Alan Kay

  • Terence Lee & Kenichi Nakamura

    Creating a Chat App in 15 Minutes with Angelo

    Blogs were so 2000s. Everyone is talking about real time these days.
    It should be easy to build a communication platform and become

    So let’s jump in and start slinging some Node! Whoops! I’m pretty sure
    we can use Ruby everywhere*. I mean, if we can use Ruby to fly some
    drones then how hard can two-way communication be?

    We are cutting down the amount of code and repetition needed to add
    real time components to your killer chat app.

    “Look at all the code I’m *not* writing!”

    * Whoops, still need some Javascript.

  • Aaron Patterson

    Speed up Rails, Speed up Your Code

    Let's talk about speed! In this talk, we'll examine ways that we've been speeding up Rails for the next release. We'll look at techniques used for speeding up database interaction as well as view processing. Techniques for finding bottlenecks and eliminating them will be presented, and we'll talk about how these techniques work with regard to Rails applications themselves. The presenter will also be discussing ways to speak in first person.

  • T.J. Schuck

    80,000 Plaintext Passwords: An Open Source Love Story in Three Acts

    fluffmuffin, peppercorn, gilligan — those are just a few of our users' plaintext passwords.

    I have 80,000 more, and it only took me 87 seconds to gather them from our customer database in a white-hat attack.

    In Act I, we'll cover the history of secure password storage, examine the hack, and mitigate the threat. Act II will address the difficulties of working on libraries with complicated external dependencies (like bcrypt-ruby, of which I'm now a maintainer). In Act III, we'll celebrate the power of global collaboration via OSS.


  • Davy Stevenson

    The Science of Success

    Software is approached mainly from the angle of engineering. Let's step back and take a look at software as science. How can we increase the quality of our code, tune our minds to efficiently solve problems, and correctly reapply known solutions to new problems? Learn a few new tricks about how to easily benchmark your code and how to analyze code complexity.

    Framed by the story of my own path from would-be Physicist to happy Software Engineer, let's look at using the scientific method as a guide for software development.

  • Lauren Voswinkel

    Nitty Gritty Service Building

    You've learned about Service Oriented Architecture. You want to use it. You know the benefits to testing speeds, to team velocity, and page load (why do in sequence what can be done in parallel?).
    Problem is, you're tearing your hair out trying to figure out how to actually pull those services out of your monorail.
    This talk isn't about the overview. This isn't about the metrics to determine what should be pulled out into a service.
    This talk isn't even about optimizing the service you pull out. This talk is a step-by-step approach about how to successfully pull that service, embedded in your app, out so it can be the best little service it can be, and you can get back to that velocity that your managers keep saying "we used to be able to do".

Adamantium Sponsor

Gold Sponsors

Silver Sponsors


The following folks are supporting Cascadia Ruby. You can join them by registering your very own supporter ticket.

Scholarship Sponsors