Accessible Ajax on Rails

8:30–12:00 Tuesday, 2-09-2008
Location: Saal Maritim C Level: Intermediate
Average rating: ***..
(3.29, 21 ratings)

One of the things in Rails that initially struck the nerves of web developers was how easy it was to add Ajax functionality into your application. However, the downside of the turn-key Ajax helpers is that the Javascript they produce is often completely inaccessible. Even when the code is not inherently inaccessible, using the helpers makes the process of progressive enhancement—first making sure that the application works without Javascript support, and then enhancing it with all the Ajax-y goodness—extremely hard.

In this 3-hour tutorial, Dan Webb (Prototype Core Team member and creator of Low Pro) and Jarkko Laine (author of Accessible Ajax on Rails and Beginning Ruby on Rails E-Commerce) teach you how to best spice up your Rails application with Javascript and Ajax. You will learn how you can progressively enhance your application without sacrificing neither the speed of development nor the accessibility of your kick-ass application.

Topics covered in the tutorial:

  • using Low Pro for progressive enhancement with Prototype; how to use Event.addBehaviour and create your own behaviour classes
  • using jQuery as an alternative to Prototype &
  • enhancing frontend performance with event delegation
  • common unobtrusive patterns with their server side solutions; when to use XML, JSON, HTML and RJS
  • using the right markup for the job
  • structuring your Javascript code for maintainability
  • inserting CSS only when Javascript is available

Whether you are a Javascript novice or a seasoned web hacker, you will walk out of the tutorial armed with knowledge that takes your Javascript-fu to a whole new level and is applicable far beyond Rails applications.

Photo of Jarkko Laine

Jarkko Laine


Jarkko Laine is one of the earliest Rails evangelists in Europe, with more than two years of experience in teaching and giving talks about Rails. He wrote Beginning Ruby on Rails E-Commerce: From Novice to Professional together with Christian Hellsten and is the founder of the Finnish Rails user community. He currently works as a senior developer for, a site for rating and discussing the social performance of world’s businesses, and writes a new ebook on accessible Ajax on Rails for Peepcode. In his freetime, Jarkko runs through forests like a gnu and writes about anything he finds interesting on his weblog at

Photo of Geoffrey Grosenbach

Geoffrey Grosenbach

Ruby on Rails Podcast

Host of the Ruby on Rails Podcast. Blogs at Nuby on Rails. Publisher and producer of PeepCode Screencasts.

News and Coverage
co-presented by Ruby Central, Inc. O'Reilly
  • Engine Yard
  • Sun Microsystems
  • Brightbox
  • ELC Technologies
  • T3N

Sponsor Opportunities

For information on exhibition and sponsorship opportunities at RailsConf Europe, contact Yvonne Romaine at

Press and Media

For media-related inquiries, contact Maureen Jennings at

Contact Us

View a complete list of RailsConf Europe Contacts