Andrew Atkinson presenting at RailsConf conference 2024
Andrew Atkinson. RailsConf 2024. Photo: Alice Heart Photography


  • Opening
  • Pre-conference activities
  • Arrival
  • Long-time friends and new ones
  • Meet the Authors
  • Workshop
  • Closing Keynote from Irina
  • Book
  • Hamtramck, MI
  • Wrap up — The Long Goodbye


This post is a look back at the weeks leading up to RailsConf 2024, and significant events from the event! There’s a big change coming in 2025. Read on to learn more!

Pre-conference activities

On the flight, arrival, hotel

  • Quick flight from Minneapolis to Detroit
  • The hotel, river walk, elevated train, and conference center were all very nice.

Long-time Friends and New Ones

Having attended Sin City Ruby twice and RailsConf two years ago, it was nice to reconnect with a lot of friends from the Ruby world.

Some were Jeremy, Kasper, Chris, Collin, Cody, Vladimir, Chris, Dominic, Irina, Jason, Elise, Ifat, Kevin (too briefly!), PDX Jared M. from RailsConf 2022, and (briefly) Mayra from ‘22.

I loved meeting new people too! I met Manu at the speaker’s dinner. Manu presented on Falcon and Async Ruby, and I hope to catch the recording. Peter S., Nathan S., Youssef B. spoke on “Ask your logs” and I hope to catch this recording! Garrett and I hung out and talked NBA basketball! I also met Felipe V. via the workshop!

I met some of the Revela team there, including the CTO John and engineer John S. Also Wes G.

I stayed after Nadia Odunayo’s great opening morning keynote to introduce myself. Their team is scaling up, building on Rails and PostgreSQL, and I wanted to offer up some kind of future collaboration opportunity!

For The StoryGraph, I hope to get my first review or rating for High Performance PostgreSQL for Rails on the site. While we’ve got some ratings on Goodreads, The StoryGraph is currently empty!

John Nunemaker! Apparently John hasn’t been to RailsConf since 2010, and I recall seeing John there way back then.

RailsConf 2010 was in Baltimore, which was significant for me, as my wife and I had just moved to Baltimore! I was excited that RailsConf was in my new adopted city.

RailsConf was back in 2011, and I went again! After those two Baltimore RailsConf editions, I didn’t go again until 6 years later for RailsConf Phoenix in 2017. That one was also great, and was where I originally met Kasper H.

I also met Sairo from Venezuela at the hotel bar, and we talked about consulting. The next day Sairo gave a lightning talk! I also met Joshua Wood and Ben Curtis from Honeybadger, and shared that I was a big fan of their product!

I also met Xavier Noria in person, spending a whole lunch together. We had a great conversation about some of the challenges as independent consultants, the benefits, and about writing technical books.

Another person I met was Erica who was a scholar, and gave a Lightning talk!

Daniel Colson and I had been online friends, and met very briefly in person!

Meet the Authors

The RailsConf staff was gracious to give some authors an opportunity to get on stage, and answer questions from the audience about writing technical books. Besides myself, authors Noel Rappin and Vladimir Dementyev were on the stage. Garrett Dimon couldn’t make it but was another author at RailsConf.


Workshop Day!

Great attendance!

Overall I thought the workshop went well. There were a couple of things that could have gone better, but overall it was pretty good. It was a real honor to bring topics like reading EXPLAIN query plans and designing supportive indexes, to developers that might not work in these areas much.

In the second half, we set up a Postgres replica instance from scratch, with both instances running in Docker containers, then talked about how two instances could be used for writing and reading roles with Active Record.

Workshop RailsConf conference 2024
Workshop presenter view. RailsConf 2024.

Closing Keynote from Irina

Irina gave a great closing keynote, encouraging us all to be more public about building with Rails. I thought the concept and delivery of Irina’s talk was really good, interviewing current and active Rails teams, and helping tell their stories.


For me this conference was sort of a celebration of the long and mostly lonely process of writing my first book over the last two years.

I presented at RailsConf 2022 in Portland, and at the time I’d just signed the book deal, but it was a secret, and very much a “riskier” project being so early in development.

I was able to meet some of the people that directly contributed to the book in the following two years, like Ifat, Xavier, Kevin Murphy a bit at RailsConf, which was nice.

Since the book itself wasn’t ready in time in print, I printed stickers in advance and enjoyed handing them at and dropping them on tables of stickers at the conference. They were getting picked up, which was fun!

I’m really proud of the book and I hope it helps a lot of readers. We also gave away 5 ebook copies, and ran a 40% discount code, to help drive some more awareness and sales!

The giveaway was for people that attended the workshop. I even made a little Ruby program to generate random emails, hiding them from the screen, but showing the drawing process live.


Now working as a consultant, after having mostly worked as a full-time employee, I was really curious to hear from others working in this model.

I met other independent consultants like Wale O. (Rails Fever, LLC), Xavier, Cody N., Jason S., Jeremy S., and Kasper (@kaspth), and appreciated hearing their perspectives and about their experience.

Hamtramck, MI

Joshua and Ben Cutis from Honeybadger organized a progressive dinner walking tour, provided by Detroit History Tours. We met in the Hamtramck city, which we learned is a city that’s entirely land-locked within the city of Detroit.

Tour group at RailsConf conference 2024
Tour group, Hamtramck, MI. Photo credit: Benjamin W.

We learned about interesting historical buildings, characters, and their lives, as we dined on some delicious food at the same buildings featured in the tour. This was a nice event!

However, I couldn’t be in two places at once. I missed the RailsConf rooftop patio time, which also looked great. Irina recorded a video of that on display below.

Wrap Up — The Long Goodbye

For me, RailsConf 2024 was a perfect event. I was fortunate to be a presenter on a topic I love discussing and writing about. Getting nearly 100 people to show up to hear about databases is not easy, and I’d like to think it’s because they were really interested to learn about this. I hope they found it valuable.

Besides the content itself, I loved meeting dozens of old and new friends!

On the first day, we found out that RailsConf 2025 will be the last one. For me this was sad to hear, considering my first RailsConf was nearly 15 years ago, and they’ve been a significant part of my professional journey.

With RailsConf ending in 2025, we’re now in a “long goodbye” period, and might be reflecting on happy memories, experiencing sadness the event is ending, or nostalgia for past events.

Ruby Central will now focus on Rubyconf as the flagship event. In 2024, Ruby events are doing well! This year, Ruby Kaigi in Japan had more than 1000 attendees! Regional Ruby conferences are popping up all over, just check for one in your area.

Ruby on Rails will continue to be celebrated annually at the Rails World conference, in its second year, being held in Toronto later this year.

Looking forward to RailsConf 2025, where we’‘ll celebrate the end of this decades-long event, together!