RubyNation 2014 Logo Preview
Here's a preview of the new RubyNation 2014 logo. This year's challenge was to integrate an iconic Washington DC landmark with the ubiquitous ruby gemstone motif that's so prevalent in the Ruby language community.

A more line-oriented version of this logo is going to look awesome on the conference T-shirts next week.
My Presentations on SlideShare
I regularly release all of my presentations on To date, my presentations have been viewed over 74,046 times. Today, I thought I'd share my Top 5 list with you.
Domain Name Validator
I just released the domain_name_validator gem, which is a simple Ruby gem that provides the capability to validate domain names. There are a number of other gems that provide features for dealing with domain names, but none of them provided, in an easy-to-use form, the particular capability that I needed.

Put simply, I needed to know for any given domain name, whether that domain name was valid. I work with clients who often pass around extensive lists of domain names encountered while anlayzing malware. I needed to be able to process a list of domain names, and tell my clients which ones were valid, and which were not.

Accordingly, the scope of this gem is deliberately focused on validating domain names. It simply answers the question: "Is this a real domain name?"

Find out more about this new gem or check it out at GitHub.
Active Breadcrumbs Gem
Now available - the active_breadcrumbs gem. It's a light-weight utility gem for creating breadcrumbs, a standard navigational aid for web sites. Now available for downloading at

This gem makes it easy to generate breadcrumb trails in a Rails application. The emphasis is on "structural" breadcrumbs, where a breadcrumb trail reflects the logical structure of a web site (as opposed to a "dynamic" trail, which reflects where the user has been - for which I humbbly suggest the user take advantage of the browser's Back button). For more information, see the documentation on GitHub.
Buidling Facebook Apps at At DevIgnition
My presentation from DevIgnition 2011, on SlideShare and PDF.

MySQL and Rails 3 on a PC
Rails 3.0 is the new big thing, and deservedly so. But getting MySQL working with Rails 3 on a PC can be problematic. Here's some easy steps to make your life a whole lot easier if you're doing Rails and MySQL development on a PC.
DevIgnition Launches in Grand Style
The DevIgnition Conference debuted on December 3rd in the Oracle Theater at Oracle's facility in Reston VA. As one of the founders, I'm pleased to report that the conference was a terrific success, with a roster of excellent speakers, a nice collection of sponsors and a sold-out crowd.

This multi-technology conference included talks on Java, JavaScript (not related to Java at all), Clojure, JRuby and NetBeans. Now, we just need to start planning for DevIgnition 2011. Photo by Arun Gupta, Oracle's Glassfish evangelist.
Chad Fowler Jams at RailsConf
Here's a photo that I've been meaning to upload for a while. I captured a nice shot of well-known Rubyist Chad Fowler jamming with the band on June 9th at RailsConf 2010. That's Chad with the sax.

DevIgnition T-Shirt Designs
Here's a preview of the T-shirt designs for the DevIgnition Conference being held on December 3rd at the Oracle Theater in Reston, VA.

Another item of interest: We've obviously chosen a rocket motif for the conference. It's interesting that Nasa has also scheduled the launch of the space shuttle Discovery for the same day as the conference.
Recipe: Parsing RSS and Atom Feeds
Sometimes it's desirable to be able to ingest a remote RSS or Atom feed in order to make content available within a Rails web application. The first thing that pops into the heads of developers when this kind of requirement comes up is the dawning realization that they may have to create some really ugly XML-parsing code. Fortunately, there's a simple solution. Find out more!
Our First RubyNation Video is Live
Our first RubyNation video is now live. It features Jim Wierich and his well received "SOLID Ruby" talk. It's been a lot of work getting the RubyNation video production effort off the ground, so it's nice to finally see our first polished video (only 28 more conference sessions to go).

MetroStar Systems Sponsors RubyNation

MetroStar Systems, a 10-year-old Information Technology Provider and one of Inc's "America's Fastest Growing Companies," has agreed to be a Diamond sponsor for RubyNation 2010, which will be held April 9 - 10. MetroStar is headquartered in Reston, Virginia, and specializes in systems and software integration for government clients. It provides clients with agile, collaborative solutions designed to integrate people, processes, technology and learning across an organization.
RubyNation 2010 Interviews
I was in the studio at Arlington Independent Media a few weeks ago taping some interviews for the upcoming documentary, "The Road to RubyNation: The Making of a Conference." Here's a teaser picture of me interviewing Gray Herter, Chief Organizer of the RubyNation Conference. The shot was taken from the studio control room, so Camera #1 (of 3) can be seen in the background on the left.

RubyNation 2010 Interview With Gray Herter
ExchangesConnect Online Video Contest Site
The ExchangesConnect Online Video Contest site was launched on November 17, 2009. Here's a sceenshot of the web site, which looks pretty cool now that the community has uploaded a bunch of videos.

ExchangesConnect Online Video Contest

The purpose of the contest is to help drive up the membership for the Department of State's ExchangesConnect social network, which is focused on promoting cross-cultural understanding around the world. The social network and the contest have been done for the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Check out the contest now! There's plenty of room for more participants.

Videotaping RubyNation 2010
I'm one of the founders of the annual RubyNation technical conference, which will be held for the third time on April 8 - 10, 2010. Each year that we've held the conference, we've tried to up the ante in producing a bigger, better conference.

One of the exciting developments for RubyNation 2010 is that we're planning to videotape the conference sessions this year. More than that, we're going to produce a documentary about what it takes to organize and run a conference. I will be functioning as the producer for this documentary, which currently has a working title of "The Road to RubyNation: The Making of a Conference". When completed, this documentary will be shown on public television and will be streamed online.
Ruby Magic, Compliments of External Link
Here's a short video called "Ruby Magic" that Johnny Nguyen put together to highlight the Ruby development team (me, Dave McVicar and Kelly Gifford) for MetroStar System's New Media Group.

Built using, a new site that focuses on automatically creating killer videos from uploaded image sets.
David Keener at RubyNation 2009
Many thanks to Dave Bock and Don Anderson, who snapped some excellent photos of me speaking at the RubyNation 2009 Conference on June 12th. Click here to see the full set of photos from my talk.

David Keener at RubyNation 2009
RubyNation 2009 Design Preview
RubyNation 2009 is just around the corner, and I've been working diligently with Don Anderson, graphic artist extraordinaire, to come up with a suitable design for this year's conference hand-outs, such as the T-shirts and badges. So here's a preview of the design we came up with.

Some HTML IS All Right External Link
User-entered HTML is always problematic for web projects. You'd like your site to have social features that allow users to enter content that will eventually appear online in a nice format, and HTML is a natural fit for formatting. On the other hand, the full complement of HTML tags puts a little too much power in the hands of certain users who might not have your best interests at heart. This external article that I found provides a simple solution for allowing users to enter a limited subset of tags within their content.
David Keener at RubyNation 2008
Many thanks to Gray Herter, who snapped some nice photos of me speaking at the RubyNation 2008 Conference in August. Click here to see the full set of photos from my talk.

David Keener at RubyNation 2008
Introduction to RubyGems
RubyGems is a package manager for Ruby code, where each package is referred to as a "gem." All of the Ruby books show users how to install gems, but almost nobody explains how to use the many other features of RubyGems.
Graphic Designs for a Regional Ruby Conference
The Northern Virginia Ruby Users Group is planning to organize a new regional Ruby conference. They've asked for some ideas on graphic designs to promote this new conference. So here are some promotional concepts that I've come up with.
JRuby Speed Test
JRuby is an implementation of Ruby in Java. It's come a long way in the last two years, going from pipe dream to viable platform. In the latest speed tests, JRuby has proven to be even faster than the C-based Ruby implementation.