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Our Favorite Ruby on Rails Talks from RailsConf 2018

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Our Favorite Ruby on Rails Talks from RailsConf 2018

Didn’t make it to RailsConf in 2018? Even if you didn’t get to make the trip to Pittsburgh last month, RailsConf has you covered by sharing video presentations of 87 talks given on Rails strategies, team management, debugging, and much more.

You can check out the RailsConf 2018 channel on for the full list of presentations. From all of these wonderful talks, we chose six that stood out to us that every Rails developer should check out. Here are six of our favorite Rails talks from RailsConf 2018.

The Future of Rails 6: Scalable by Default – Eileen Uchitelle

Where is Rails headed? What does the future hold for Rails 6? As a Rails Core Team member (along with being a Senior Systems Engineer at GitHub), Eileen Uchitelle gives insight into what the next major version of Rails will contain, focusing on scalability.

After referencing the many quips about Rails “not scaling” that have been heard in the last year, she mentions that a scalable Rails should “allow engineers to scale their Rails application without having to spend hours building a custom setup or using a lot of outside tools.” Highlights of the future of scalability include threaded testing, improving database tasks for multi-db behavior, and default connections for three-tiered configs. Tune in to get a better sense of where Rails is headed.

Down the Rabbit Hole: An Adventure in Legacy Code – Loren Crawford

As an agency that works primarily with legacy Rails applications, we may be biased in suggesting this talk from Loren Crawford of MailChimp. At some point in your development career, you’ll inherit legacy code that someone else built, and knowing what to do to maintain and improve that code is an important skill.

With a background in working with legacy Rails applications, Loren gives insight on the mindset to have when working with legacy code, and examples of what to look for and what to improve.

How We Made Our App So Fast it Went Viral in Japan – Ben Halpern

This talk is all about web speed. Ben Halpern is the creator and webmaster of, a web development-focused website that is part forum/part publication (like a mashup of Medium and StackOverflow...just for developers). Ben tells the story of how his site saw a massive spike in traffic after going viral in Japan due to its incredibly fast speed – then explains what they did to make it so fast in the first place.

You’ll come away with a good understanding of things to examine in your own applications, and a renewed appreciation for just how magical the speed of the internet really is.

Why We Never Get to Web Accessibility 102 – Liz Certa

We hear a lot about “Web Accessibility 101” – you’ve likely attended a class, read an article, or watched a talk about the basics of accessible web design. But why don’t we ever dive deeper into this subject? Why don’t these talks and articles focus on specialized aspects of accessibility within certain tech communities? Liz Certa of Vitals discusses the reasons behind this, and how we can move forward.

Among other helpful analogies, Liz compares accessibility to security. It isn’t something you look at once a year and check off a box to say “done”. It’s an ongoing process that needs continuous effort and time.

Turbo Boosting Real-world Applications – Akira Matsuda

How many people are content with the speed of their Rails application? Like most developers, you’d probably be happy if you could speed things up a bit. Akira Matsuda previously worked on a team maintaining a huge (and slow) legacy Rails application. He shares his insight on how the team gauged the health of the app, discovered areas for potential improvement, and increased its speed.

Admittedly, the audio quality is lacking quite a bit compared to some of the other talks given at RailsConf – but turn it up a bit because the content is worth listening to.

Bonus: Opening Keynote from DHH himself.

Who better to set the tone for the entire conference than the inventor of Rails? If you just can’t get enough, tune into this keynote from the always-entertaining David Heinemeier Hansson where he speaks on how Rails and the development industry has evolved in the last decade, nostalgia vs. the “new baseline”, and how Rails can “arm the rebels” in this day and age.

Did you attend RailsConf this year? Or did you catch some of the recorded talks? If so – which were your favorite? Leave a comment and let us know.

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