2 Years Of Hackfests

On Tuesday, we’ll be hosting the November Boston.rb hackfest at the thoughtbot Boston office. This marks two years and about 30 total hackfests we’ve held here.

If you’ve never attended, please join us the first Tuesday night of every month. All skill levels and backgrounds are welcome.

Attendance award

Josh Nichols deserves special recognition for attendance. He has attended more hackfests than anyone else and had about a year streak of perfect attendance once.

Thanks, Josh, for keeping the group active and vibrant.

Celebrating the output

While the majority of the fun of the hackfests is meeting other locals interested in similar technologies, there has been an impressive number of open source projects big and small to which Boston Rubyists have contributed patches big and small during these hackfests.

We’d like to highlight those now and thank all those for contributing.


Note that many of the following were not written at the hackfests, although some were. All of the large projects simply had patches written at the hackfests by Boston Rubyists.

Web Application Frameworks

Ruby on Rails is a full stack, Web application framework optimized for sustainable programming productivity, allows writing sound code by favoring convention over configuration.

Gem management

Gemcutter is an open source Sinatra-and-Rails app for hosting Rubygems… awesomely.

Jeweler is a simple and opinionated helper for creating and managing Rubygem projects.


RSpec is a Behaviour Driven Development framework for Ruby.

Cucumber is a BDD framework that talks to domain experts first and code second.

rspec-rails is an RSpec extension that allows you to drive the development of Ruby on Rails applications with RSpec.

Shoulda is a context test framework built on Test::Unit and a set of Rails testing “macros” that can be used in any Ruby testing framework (RSpec, test/spec, etc.).

Quiet Backtrace suppresses the noise in your Test::Unit backtraces.

jferris/mocha is a fork of Mocha that adds test spies.

RR (Double Ruby) is a test double framework that features a rich selection of double techniques and a terse syntax.

greengreen is a tool for assuring quality metrics of 100% quality.

Factory Bot is a fixtures replacement with a straightforward definition syntax, support for multiple build strategies (saved instances, unsaved instances, attribute hashes, and stubbed objects), and support for multiple factories for the same class (user, admin_user, and so on), including factory inheritance.

Templating things

Effigy is Ruby views without a templating language. (alternative to Mustache, ERb)

Slidedown lets you generate slides with Markdown, for display in web browsers.

Jekyll is a simple, blog aware, static site generator that takes a template directory (representing the raw form of a website), runs it through Textile or Markdown and Liquid converters, and spits out a complete, static website suitable for serving with Apache or your favorite web server.

Rails apps

Boston.rb is the source code for http://bostonrb.org, a community site for local Rubyists.

Peas is the source code for http://peas.heroku.com, a URL shortener.

Echowaves is the source code for http://echowaves.com, social group chat aimed as an open source alternative to Campfire.

Clean Together is the source code for http://cleantogether.com, which lets people post their environmental cleanup experiences.


Blitz is a Rails plugin for feature, view, controller, model, & helper generators meant to be used as part of an “Outside-In” Test-Driven Development cycle.

Webster generates random short words good for human-readable confirmation codes.


jferris/config_files is dotfiles for git, vim, zsh, & irb.

Process management

Under Construction is JQuery Utility for hiding or overlaying elements that haven’t been built yet, inspired by Mile Marker.

Ambitious Sphinx is an Ambition adapter for Sphinx.

SearchModel is a Rails plug-in for building search forms.


Clearance is a Rails engine for authentication with email & password.

Computer Science

CS is is a gem containing some algorithms useful for computer science and math.

Command-Line Interfaces

Beardo is a CLI for Co-op.

Hello is a Ruby interface to a collection of the word “hello” in many languages and dialects; written for Flickr-style messages after users sign in to a web application.

Web Service API Wrappers

Le-Git is a Ruby wrapper for the Github API.

Daywalker is a Ruby wrapper around the Sunlight Labs API.

Twitter Search is a Ruby wrapper around the Twitter API.

Countless failed and semi-failed experiments, incomplete hacks, forks, & bad ideas

Daddy Warbucks was a library idea to find orphaned Ruby code not being sent messages from anywhere in your program. We learned a little bit about Kernel#set_trace_func and called it a night.

Recommendable was a Rails plugin concept for simple item-to-item collaborative filtering.

Nurse cares for invalid ActiveRecord objects.

MySpace API Ruby wrapper.

Wikipedia API Ruby wrapper.

ActiveObject was an ActiveRecord-like library for persisted serialized Ruby objects.

Altering Shoulda to use context as its context/should framework.

Benchmarking an add-on to Thin.

An early, failed attempt at what Joe Ferris would later accomplish in Factory Bot.

Porting apps to Rails 2.1. Porting plugins to gems.

Videoconferencing in Eloy Duran at 1am his time in Amsterdam to talk about RubyCocoa.

Creating the first version of bostonrb.org in Merb, Haml, & DataMapper when none of us had ever used any of those tools.

Boston skyline

and a lot of pizza & beer

I’m sure I missed a lot. Feel free to add anything to the comments.

See you Tuesday night!