Million Dollar Mongo

Obie Fernandez (InfoQ), Durran Jordan (Hashrocket)
Location: Ballroom II Level:
Average rating: ***..
(3.63, 86 ratings)

Based on our real-life experience delivering a million dollar system that successfully leveraged MongoDB and Rails, we’ll show you how breaking free of a purely relational mindset can yield significant gains in your productivity.

Mongo combines the best elements of document-oriented databases such as CouchDB without the huge learning curve of querying with map/reduce. MongoMapper allows easy use of Mongo using ActiveRecord-style conventions and popular RESTful techniques in your controller layer.

In addition to explaining what went into building our breakthrough system, we’ll cover the following topics in depth:

  • The choice to use MongoDB versus other NoSQL options
  • Dealing with resistance to change from client and developers
  • Integrating Mongo into your development environment
  • Modeling your domain using Document and EmbeddedDocument patterns
  • Pros/cons of relating documents to each other using belongs_to/has_many semantics
  • When and how to complement your document-oriented model with data stored in a traditional relational database
  • Implications of working with a non-transactional datastore
  • Cool techniques for leveraging “schemaless” data capabilities
  • Deploying and scaling MongoDB in production
Photo of Obie Fernandez

Obie Fernandez


Author of The Rails Way, the definitive reference guide for Ruby on Rails, Series Editor of the Addison-Wesley Professional Ruby Series, CEO/Founder of Hashrocket, and well-known member of the international Ruby community.

Durran Jordan


Starting as an ANSI artist for bulletin boards in the late 80s, Durran hacked his way through to the Java world in the late 90’s where he became a successful developer and agile consultant on 3 different continents. A prior colleague of Obie Fernandez at MediaOcean and Thoughtworks, he has delivered countless enterprise and desktop applications, as well as having his hand in just about every programming cookie jar, including .NET, Scala, Python, and Ruby. Author and maintainer of the Mongoid mapping library for MongoDB.

Comments on this page are now closed.


Picture of Darren Hinderer
Darren Hinderer
06/11/2010 1:07pm EDT

Well if you remove the drama, the thing that this talk and other experiences at RailsConf told me is that mongo is the nosql solution for rails people. Good to know.

Jaime Bellmyer
06/10/2010 6:57pm EDT

I’m also put off by the term “retard”. Mongoloid, on the other hand, I had no idea had any ill intent, especially how he presented it. The idea for a name came innocently enough (it contains the word mongo, after all) and was discarded early on in favor of MongoMapper. I can live with that. Especially since I think people are splitting hairs considering the language that is applauded onstage at these talks.

So all language debates aside, I enjoyed hearing the challenges associated with a major implementation of a new technology, including the corporate politics. Sure, Obie is known for controversy but I thought this was an honest peek into the good, bad, and ugly of a project.

Naming names – the jury is still out on that one, for me. I was somewhat shocked at the mention of the company name, but really shocked at the mention of the specific person.

Thanks Obie, for what it’s worth. In the end, I learned from your talk and that’s the important thing.

Lee Capps
06/09/2010 3:04pm EDT

While there was some useful information, this session left a bad taste in my mouth. The condescending and transparently self-aggrandizing delivery of the case study and the public airing of dirty laundry were embarrassing. Combine these with the offensive use of the words “retarded” and “mongoloid,” and I wish I’d missed this one entirely.

Seriously, pick on someone your own size.

Jeremy Friesen
06/09/2010 9:28am EDT

There were kernels of excellent content wrapped in condescending attitude; We know that you are smart, driven, witty and take bold initiatives. Calling out and attacking another company in a conference session at the end of the session (and thus receiving an applause at the end of the session AND for the callout) was in fact excellent political craftsmanship.

Your mention of moral values in regards to client needs and providing solutions instead of conjectures was very welcome. We, as programmers, are passionate about solving problems and your suggestion works at solving the problem of proper IT consultancy as the purpose of IT consultancy is to solve the problems at hand with the most efficient tools available (and thus save the client money).

I was disappointed by the use of the word “retard”; It shows a willing to further alienate an already marginalized group of people who may or may not be able to adequately represent themselves. Perhaps working to incorporate other derogatory terms would help you efficiently indicate which groups that you are not a part of, and help you shine as the pillars of moral value.

Picture of Michael Gee
Michael Gee
06/09/2010 7:41am EDT

I am inspired to use MongoDB in my next app. Good presentation.

co-presented by Ruby Central, Inc. O'Reilly
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