RailsConf 2019 Apr 30 - May 02, 2019 http://railsconf.com
CFP open
CFP closes:
Jan 25, 2019 at 09:59pm PST
3 days left to submit your proposal

CFP Stats

230 proposals

Thank you for your interest in speaking at RailsConf 2019! This year’s conference will be from April 30 to May 2 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. We're looking forward to seeing all of your proposals!

Please read these guidelines all the way through for the best chances of having your proposal selected. If you have questions or concerns about anything you see here, please don’t hesitate to email us at railsconf@rubycentral.org.

Important Dates

  1. This call for proposals (CFP) closes on January 25, 2019, 11:59pm CST. (Note: we always tack this deadline to the conference location’s timezone. This deadline is also 9:59pm PST and 12:59am EST on January 26 .) We will be doing "rolling acceptances," so submit early, and your talk may be accepted early!

  2. You will hear from us on or before February 20th, 2019. If you have not heard about the status of your submission after that time, please contact us. Thanks!

Important Baseline

All talks and speakers must comply wholly with our Anti-Harassment Policy, which applies in all RailsConf-related communications as well as at the conference itself. Please review it before submitting your proposal, and email us at railsconf@rubycentral.org with any questions.

What We're Looking For

RailsConf is a three-day conference with up to seven sessions running concurrently. We will probably end up accepting around 80 proposals. Given that, we’re looking for technical and non-technical talks covering a broad range of topics in the Rails ecosystem. Our audience members are Ruby on Rails developers, QA folks, designers, former-developers-turned-managers, and many more, with experience levels ranging from beginner to veteran.

We want a mix of beginner, intermediate and advanced-level material. Overall, we are looking for talks of interest to Rails developers, and we take a pretty broad view of what that means. If it’s interesting to you, chances are we’d love to see it. For a look at previous accepted talks, you can check out the 2018 RailsConf program.

In addition to our general program, we seek proposals for a number of more narrowly-focused tracks, which are narrative-driven blocks of 3-6 sessions presented sequentially in the same room. Specific topics vary from year to year and reflect the particular interests of this year’s Program Committee. Below, you can see the specific tracks we are looking for, with descriptions of what sort of content would fit in those tracks. If you have a great session idea for one or more of those tracks, please select that when you submit it; otherwise, opt to submit your proposal for contention in the general program. When the Program Committee is reviewing proposals, they reserve the right to “re-track” talks (or move them into the general program) as appropriate, but your selection while submitting does help us with our initial track sorting.

RailsConf fully embraces both new and experienced speakers. We place a strong value on featuring a diverse, creative line-up of speakers: ones from different backgrounds with a wealth of different experiences to share with our attendees.

Session Formats

When submitting a proposal, you'll need to select one of two formats.

The regular session format is for 40-minute lecture-style presentations (that time includes any Q&A you may want to do).

The workshop session format is an interactive format of at least 90 minutes in length. The focus of a workshop is on attendees learning practical skills through a mix of presentation material and hands-on exercises. Workshop topics mirror the program sessions from both general and individual tracks.

Speaker Benefits

If your session is selected for inclusion in our program, you get:

  1. Free admission to the conference (for up to two speakers).
  2. A $500 USD travel reimbursement honorarium, sent to you post-RailsConf. Note: for sessions with more than one speaker, this honorarium is to be split among all participants, at the panel moderator or speakers' discretion
  3. The respect and adulation of your peers!
  4. The opportunity to be paired with a speaker mentor before the conference to help you with talk prep. Mentors are granted upon request, but highly recommended, especially for new speakers.

We reserve ticket space for folks whose talks are not accepted, so you can wait on buying a ticket until you hear about the status of your talk.

Inside the Review Process

We have a Program Committee made up of hardworking volunteers representing a variety of experience levels with Rails. Our first round of review is blind, meaning reviewers will not see your name or biographical information. They will see the title, description, pitch, and abstract. Please keep any potentially identifying information out of these fields.

During this first round, reviewers may have questions for you about your proposal. The CFP application allows two-way correspondence in comments without revealing your identity (though you'll know who's asking the question). You'll get an email (and see a notification on the site) if there are questions for you. Please reply promptly and consider adjustments, if requested.

Once every talk has at least four ratings, we move into the second round, where highly-rated talks are evaluated alongside their biographical information (speaking experience, relevant credentials, etc.) to come up with a balanced program. The Program Committee is heavily committed to selecting a diverse and well-qualified group of speakers.

Track Guidelines

ActiveRecord Wizardry

Using ActiveRecord efficiently can multiply a team's effectiveness. There are many usage patterns that have built up over time, but they are not evenly distributed amongst programmers. Whether it's Service Objects, concerns, or writing SQL by hand, talks in this track should educate the audience about how to get the most out of ActiveRecord.

Authorization Everywhere

Every project that has users has an authorization system. And if that project is even moderately complex, a proportionately complex way of allowing users to perform actions won't be far behind.

Rails leaves authorization schemes up to the developers, offering little to help speed up the process. Soon a programmer is swimming in authorization schemes (ACL, RBAC, ABAC, LBAC), trying to figure out what to do. Talks in this track should explore how to approach this problem by presenting systems that you have built, used, or understood.

Crafting Community

How do we build communities that are simultaneously empowered, inclusive, and productive? Ones where members can come together to not only collaborate but also continuously refine the practice of community leadership? Talks in this track should attempt to answer those questions, specifically diving into the importance of diversity and culture and what it takes to build a community that both shapes and interacts with technology.

Talks can contain stories of first-time contributions, successful examples of supporting and mentoring newcomers, or ways to encourage an inviting open source community around projects/conferences.

For the Long Haul

Quite a few Rails applications have been running in production for several years now. Talks on this track should aim to share all the work and thought that goes into sustaining Rails apps in the long term, targeting both folks who work on these long-running Rails applications and those who work on younger Rails apps and want to increase their sustainability for years to come.


While no one knows all the things, there are some significant fundamental skills and tools that are helpful to know when starting down the path of development work. Talks in this track should explore this theme, potentially covering a wide variety of topics ranging from command-line tools (the command line itself, git, dotfiles, SQL, etc.) all the way to bigger ideas like how to manage work. We specifically are looking for talks that craft an enlightening, educational narrative, rather than being a grab bag of miscellaneous tips and tricks.

Leveling Up

Once you've built a few Rails apps, done every beginner tutorial out there, and know enough to be dangerous, where do you go from there? It can be difficult to know what to learn next once you have the basics down. Talks in this track should be aimed at engineers midway through their careers that want to level up, who might be bored in beginner-focused talks, but aren't quite ready for advanced topics. Topics covered could include things like: what to test and why, writing performant ActiveRecord queries, or how to break down larger technical problems into smaller pieces. We're especially looking for talks that feature practical examples, not just theory.

Medium Data

Somewhere between "we just passed 10k users!" and "check out our engineering blog posts about how we shard across 100 DB instances," apps hit a point where the database could still technically fit on a laptop, but... indexes start bogging down, migrations take hours, and you may have to start replacing Arel calls with custom SQL. Talks in this track will delve into the specific stories around the growing pains of this middle ground, hopefully helping others avoid that pain themselves!

Open Source Principles

Open source software such as Ruby on Rails is the most prominent example of the power of open collaboration. Talks in this track will explore the principles of our open community and how they affect you, potentially answering questions like the following: How does your company benefit from open source, both the code itself as well as the community? How does it devote time to contribute back? What OSS-style workflows does your company use internally? If open source is a part of your company's business model, what are the pros and cons of the model you've chosen?


You matter. There is more to you than your work output. Your mental and physical health are also important. Talks in this track should explore different facets of self-care, covering topics such as: mindfulness, healthy habits, work-life balance, mental health, recognizing or recovering from burnout, or the benefits of placing work productivity to the side and enjoying some downtime.

Unpacking Rails

Rails has powerful abstractions that often make it easy to forget what's going on under the hood. Talks in this track should aim at filling those knowledge gaps by unpacking all the best practices, standards, and computer science bits that Rails uses to build the nice abstractions we all know. Discussion of stable, newer, and upcoming features are welcome. Talks should target folks interested in digging deeper and truly understanding how the Rails framework works.

Weird, Wild, Wonderful

The Rails and Ruby communities thrive on the energy of invention. And not everything that Rubyists invent has to be even marginally useful for us to love it. Talks in this track will delve into the fun and weird projects that we know you have: everything from that crazy gem you carve out time on Friday afternoon to work on to the off-the-wall idea that you've realized might be the next big thing. Yesterday's wild idea is tomorrow's game-changer, so bring it on!

Working with Other People

Jean-Paul Sartre famously declared that "Hell is other people." But Sartre was not a software developer, and the days of the lone cowboy are long gone. Modern software is an ensemble performance, where interpersonal effectiveness gets you further than always keeping up on the framework du jour. Talks in this track should delve into exploration of these easily overlooked people skills, potentially covering topics such as how to uplift an entire team; how to work with the business to deliver the most important next feature; or how to deal with the team's resident jerk, ninja, or rock star.

Thanks for submitting a proposal and good luck!