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Bridging The Gap - Using JavaScript In Rails To Write DRY Rich Client Applications

Thorben Schröder (kopfmaschine), Andreas Haller (kopfmaschine)
Location: Ballroom I
Average rating: **...
(2.48, 40 ratings)

Why we do this talk

While building a HTML5 offline app using BackBone.js, we had to re-write a bunch of methods from our Rails models in JavaScript to be used on the client. In order to built a real rich client experience we had to have the same functionality on objects in the Ruby and the JavaScript world and there was no other way than just duplicating code.

After a while we decided not to settle with that “solution” and look how to overcome the problem. This talk is all about our adventurous path through Ruby and JavaScript land and our solution to write DRY code again.

Why you should care

JavaScript is on the fast lane right now. New frameworks like BackBone.js are emerging day by day.People already using JavaScript to build rich client web applications with things like SproutCore . But while today those apps are the rare exception rich client web apps will be totally normal in a world where HTML5 and all those new JavaScript frameworks will be widely adopted. So now is the time to take action and learn how to write those apps while maintaining our good habits of writing solid, DRY and tested code.

What we will show

  • run JavaScript code from within Ruby (using V8)
  • embed JavaScript code in existing Ruby classes
  • organize your JS and Ruby code for a peaceful co-existence
  • write JS modules that can be included from your Rails and JS models

All of that will be shown by an example application using BackBone.js so you’ll get a little bit of that, too.

Thorben Schröder


Thorben Schröder is founder of “kopfmaschine”, a German Rails shop located in Bremen, northern Germany.

He has a crush on Rails till he first got his hands wet in late 2006 and never looked back ever since. He graduated from University with a bachelor report on how to scale large Rails applications.

Thorben worked as a web developer in Java, PHP and Rails during his time at college. Together with Jan Steinmetz he founded “kopfmaschine” in 2010. Where they deliver web development to the German market.

Beside normal web apps “kopfmaschine” is looking to bring their knowledge to customers who would not normally look for a web solution. Therefore they have built HTML5 apps that are used as “native” apps on Windows or mobile clients like the iPad.

Andreas Haller


Andreas Haller studied Digital Media at the University of Bremen in Germany and is using Ruby since 2007.

He has great interest in interface design and frontend development.

Andreas joined kopfmaschine in January 2010 as a developer, where he is working with Rails, JavaScript and HTML5 to build apps that kick ass.

Comments on this page are now closed.


Teddy Caddy
05/19/2011 11:25am EDT

Got a few great tidbits of info that will probably end up being very valuable to me.