Brighton Ruby Conference Logo

Fri 28 Jun
Brighton Dome

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Scarpe Diem // Friday, 30th June 2023

Nick Schwaderer


Why the Lucky Stiff, one of the most beloved members of the historical Ruby community, is widely known for his seminal Poignant Guide to Ruby. His second-most ambitious writing, NOBODY KNOWS SHOES, is lesser-known. This text was the manual for an amazing set of tools _why developed in 2007 called Shoes.rb.

With pure Ruby, married with _why’s supreme taste in APIs, one could easily write desktop applications and package them for Mac, Windows or Linux. In 2007! Imagine writing useful native applications and sharing them with your friend who didn’t have Ruby on their machine nor any technical knowledge. Dear reader, your speaker in fact used Shoes.rb to build Desktop apps before using Rails to write Webapps.

Over the years, Shoes has fought off the endless wave of bitrot. An effort to rewrite Shoes in JRuby stalled in 2017. Existing Shoes is difficult, likely impossible, to run.

Nick will walk you through Shoes history; and cover his work on a new Shoes.rb implementation to bring Shoes back to life on modern tooling with Scarpe. (Italian for “Shoes”)

Video by Big Egg Films Logo

Nick is a Senior Production Engineer at Shopify on the Ruby and Rails Infrastructure Team. Nick maintains Scarpe, an attempt at a new Shoes.rb implementation. He digs into Ruby lore frequently with the PastRubies newsletter. Nick has worked on projects with Ruby to help forecast pain for individuals with chronic illness and assist in communications during a natural disaster.