Why We Should Listen to Lightning Talks - Starting with RailsConf 2021

Why We Should Listen to Lightning Talks - Starting with RailsConf 2021


4 min read

What is a Lightning Talk?

Stealing this from Wikipedia:

Lightning talks are designed to be short presentations between five and ten minutes long, but are usually capped at five minutes.

Lightning talks usually accept sign-ups after the conference has started, so they can't be found in the conference schedule. Even if the recordings have been uploaded, this is what you'll usually see when trying to find out about them:


Eh! Super hard to know what they're actually talking about. Still, I'd recommend you to watch them!

Why should I care about lightning talks?

They're short! If you're spending hours on YouTube already, please just give it 5 more minutes.

Lightning talks compress months and years of knowledge into less than 5 minutes. Super time-efficient way to learn or hear about something new.

You'll definitely like it because you like reading on Hashnode and you clicked on this article! ๐Ÿ˜†

Since they're so short and packed with content, it's never boring!

Lightning Talks from RailsConf 2021

To get things rolling, let's start by looking at the Lightning Talks from RailsConf 2021.

Should You Create a New Rails App as API-Only? - Steffani Brasil

When should I choose Rails API?

  • Does your client (SPA, mobile native app, etc) render all HTML pages?
  • Does your client create all user interfaces
  • Does Rails API only need to serve JSON responses to your client

If the above questions end with a yes โ‡’ Rails API was built for this!

It's also possible to turn it back into a full-fledge Rails project, so don't need to worry about it!

Talk slides and cheatsheet: https://www.stefannibrasil.me/railsconf/

Programming logbooks - Robson Port

What is a logbook?

A personal and professional reference, mainly used by engineers, about everything related to a project

Why is it useful?

  • Divide and conquer: breaking big problems down so it's easier to fix
  • Reduces context switching: stuff you need already written down
  • Creates an audit trail

What to write in it?

  • Write down the initial problems
  • Describe
  • Write down discoveries or how it was resolved



  • App used: JoplinApp (Open source note taking app)
  • What to write:
    • Link to ticket
    • Engineering detail

My thoughts

  • Why not just Jira tickets / or any ticketing system?

    Might have other roles other than developers looking at it, so the logs might be a bit too much for them.

  • Maybe we could use Slack as a logbook?

Pair Programming as a Mentorship - Emily Harber

About Emily

  • Early Career Developer at Shopify
  • Self-taught
  • Started to experience pair-programming at bootcamps
  • 3 months after graduating, Emily went into Shopify

How can pair programming help?

  • Build confidence
  • Practice skills
  • Share knowledge real-time
  • Everyone knows something you don't know yet

My thoughts

  • It's also a good practice for interviewing!

Isolate Packages with Packwerk - Dorian Marie

What is Packwerk?

A Shopify project that enforces boundaries and modularizes Rails applications.

Check the one-minute demo out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NwqlyBAxVpQ

Inertia.js - Brandon Shar

If you want a Rails back end and a React / Vue / Svelte front end?

Get started with Inertia.js here: https://youtu.be/03EjkPaCHEI

My thoughts

If you've been a past user of Django, Laravel, or Rails, definitely take a look at the project!

Renewables + Rails - Sarah Sausan

Sarah's Story

  • A story on how she fell in love with Ruby & Rails
    • Ruby is super fun
    • To make something useful, we don't need to know everything about it
    • An opportunity to attend RailsConf
  • Geologist caring about Geothermal topics
  • Wanted to make data available to the public by using Rails

My Team's Recent Gitastrophy - Lauren Billington

  • Rebasing vs merge
  • git pull vs git merge
  • Story on recovering from breaking production with rebasing and git pull

My thoughts

We all might have encountered this before, but sharing it in a lightning talk let us all know we've been in the same shoes once.

That's all for now and we've taken a look at 7 wonderful topics related to software development. Isn't that fast? You can find all of the talks from RailsConf in this playlist.

Last but not least, for those who are curious about "Is Ruby Dead", you'll find the answer at https://isrubydead.com/.

Love to know your thoughts about lightning talks as well! Please leave them in the comments!