Category Archives: ruby

Presenting Rack at Montreal Against Rails

I’ll be presenting Rack this Tuesday at the first Montreal Against Rails (the non-Rails meeting).

I’ll show how to use Rack and then I’d like to try something new (and probably crazy-stupid). Building a web framework with Rack is so easy, I’ll be doing pair programming with anyone from the audience to create our own custom framework live during the presentation (in 30 min). We’ll start with the code posted on RefactorMyCode as the application code, we’ll implement the framework code during the presentation. So submit your ideas there before the event.

To take part in first and biggest Montreal Ruby pair programming session and watch the other cool presentations, make sure to RSVP.


Filed under conference, montreal, ruby

Ruby on V8

V8Google Chrome looks cool, ok… But what is even cooler for me is V8, the super JavaScript VM.

JavaScript is a dynamic language, just like Ruby.
You can add stuff to objects at runtime, like Ruby.
It’s object oriented, like Ruby.
It has a GC, like Ruby.

What if we could run Ruby on V8?

Well, it’s a lot easier that you think. If you remember a while ago, someone released HotRuby. It runs YARV bytecode in the browser.

So I plugged the 2 together just to see what would happened => rbv8.

It’s fast (sometimes)

I used the script on HotRuby site to benchmark.

sum = ""
50000.times{ |e| sum += e.to_s }

And just for fun, I also wrote it in C:

int main (int argc, char const *argv[])
  char *str = malloc(sizeof(char) * 238890);
  char buf[5];
  size_t i;

  for (i = 0; i < 50000; ++i) {
    sprintf(buf, "%d", i);
    strcat(str, buf);
  return 0;

Update: seems like my C code was the suck, thx for some commenters for pointing it out. Here's a better version which is way faster (thx to Hongli Lai):

#include <stdio.h>
#include <stdlib.h>
#include <string.h>

int main (int argc, char const *argv[])
  char *str = malloc(sizeof(char) * 238890);
  char buf[5];
  size_t i;
  unsigned long last = 0;

  for (i = 0; i < 50000; ++i) {
    int len = sprintf(buf, "%d", i);
    memcpy(str + last, buf, len);
    last += len;
  return 0;

Also here's a Javascript version:

var sum = "";
for (var i = 0; i < 50000; i++) {
  sum += i.toString();

C:              0.017 sec
Javascript:     0.063 sec
rbv8:           0.987 sec
Firefox 3:      3.636 sec
Safari 3:       4.368 sec
Opera 9.50:     4.679 sec
Ruby 1.8.6:     9.565 sec
Ruby 1.9.0:     9.669 sec
Rubinius 0.8.0: 15.576 sec
JRuby 1.1 b1:   42.691 sec

OMG OMG OMG OMG!!! 10 times faster then YARV and faster then C!

Update: Ok... if your replace += w/ <<, YARV beats the Javascript version running on V8, thx to Nobu Nakada for noting this

But wait, don't go tell your friends yet! It seems, that all the other benchmarks I tried were slower (sometimes by a very wide margin).

But I think this means that the potential is there, it just need to be exploited properly.

Also another fun thing to note, is that if you change Fixnum#times to while i < 50000 in the Ruby code, it becomes a lot slower. No idea why.

Me wants to try

If you wanna try rbv8:
You need Ruby 1.9 installed as `ruby19` and make sure you meet V8 Pre-requisites:

git clone git://
cd rbv8
bin/rbv8 sample/concat.rb

Note that this is just a prototype. I just hacked this in an hour to benchmark it. See the README file for what needs to be done next.


Filed under ruby

You’re just in a giant Object.class_eval block

>> Object.methods.size
=> 85
>> def i_is_in_ur_Object; "kthxbai" end
=> nil
>> Object.methods.size
=> 86
=> "kthxbai"

Careful what you put in there!


Filed under ruby

The Class and Module love story

In Ruby, Class is a Module which, like any object, has a class.

>> Class.superclass
=> Module
>> Module.class
=> Class

But the crazy thing is, it's the complete opposite in the implementation.
(Excerpt from ruby.h)

typedef struct {
    VALUE super;
    struct st_table *iv_tbl;
} rb_classext_t;

struct RClass {
    struct RBasic basic;
    rb_classext_t *ptr;
    struct st_table *m_tbl;
    struct st_table *iv_index_tbl;
#define RCLASS_IV_TBL(c) (RCLASS(c)->ptr->iv_tbl)
#define RCLASS_M_TBL(c) (RCLASS(c)->m_tbl)
#define RCLASS_SUPER(c) (RCLASS(c)->ptr->super)
#define RCLASS_IV_INDEX_TBL(c) (RCLASS(c)->iv_index_tbl)

We see it gets the instance variable table (RMODULE_IV_TBL) just like it's a class. Modules are stored in RClass structs.

I know. I'm totally confused too.

1 Comment

Filed under ruby

You See the Invisible Block?

require "rubygems";require "thin";require"markaby"; class Invisible
HTTP_METHODS =[:get,:post,:head,:put,:delete];attr_reader :request,
:response, :params; def initialize(&block); @actions =[]; @with=[];
@layouts={};@views={};;@app=self; instance_eval(
&block) if block end; def action(method, route, &block); @actions<<
[method.to_s, build_route(@with*"/"+route),block] end;HTTP_METHODS.
each{|m|class_eval "def #{m}(r='/',&b); action('#{m}', r, &b) end"}
def with(route); @with.push(route);yield;@with.pop end; def render(
*args,&block);options=args.last.is_a?(Hash)?args.pop: {};@response.
args.last :,@helpers, &(block||@views[
args.last] )).to_s ; content = assigns.merge(
:content => content), @helpers, &layout).to_s if layout; @response.
headers.merge!(options);@response.body=content end;def layout(name=
:default, &block); @layouts[name]=block end; def view(name,&block);
@views[name]=block end; def helpers(&block);@helpers.instance_eval(
&block ) ; instance_eval(&block)  end;  def session;  @request.env[
"rack.session"]end; def use(middleware, *args);
@app,*args) end; def run(*args);Thin::Server.start(@app, *args) end
def call(env); @request =; @response =Rack::; @params = @request.params; if action = recognize(env[
"PATH_INFO"], @params["_method"] ||env["REQUEST_METHOD"]); @params.
merge!(@path_params);;@response.finish; else; [404,
{}, "Not found"]; end; end; def*args,&block);new(&block).
run(*args) end; def;@app|| end;def end; private; def build_route(route);pattern= route.
split("/").inject('\/*') { |r, s| r << (s[0] == ?: ? '(\w+)' : s) +
'\/*' } + '\/*';[/^#{pattern}$/i,route.scan(/\:(\w+)/).flatten] end
def recognize(url, method); method =method.to_s.downcase; @actions.
detect do |m,(pattern,keys),_| method==m&&@path_params=match_route(
pattern,keys,url)end;end;def match_route(pattern,keys,url);matches,
|key,i| params[key]=matches[i]};params;end;end; def method_missing(
method, *args,  &block);  ; if .respond_to?(method) ; send( method, *args, &block);  else; super; end; end



Filed under ruby

RubyFringe == Awesome

RubyFringeNick Sieger though us about Jazz, Giles Bowkett got a standing ovation, Zed Shaw sang “Matz can’t patch” and “Don’t fuck Chad’s community”, Geoffrey Grosenbach was wearing a kilt, Hampton Catlin presented Haml for Javascript, Damien Katz made me cry and Tom Preston-Werner is my new hero.

Better reviews


Filed under conference, ruby

MeshU slides and code

Code is at


Filed under conference, ruby, thin

Ruby to C, a couple snippets

As you might already know, the Ruby interpreter you’re (probably) using (the one at know as MRI, for Matz Ruby Interpreter, is written in C. The VM is entirely written in C and most of the standard libraries too. So it seems that the way to make code run faster is really to dive into C.

Now I hear you yell with your ears all red, eyes full of blood and a big vein pumping on your forehead: But it will be unmaintainable!

If everything seems under control, you’re not going fast enough

- Mario Andretti

The hard part is that the C API of MRI lacks documentation. You either have to search through the mailinglist, look at other people’s code or try to guess from Ruby’s code. I recently ported a bit of code from Ruby to C and here are a couple of Ruby to C mapping that might help you.

If you’ve never written or looked at a Ruby extension before, I suggestion reading Peter Cooper excellent and very simple tutorial on how to set things up.

Objects are VALUEs

my_var = nil
this_is_true = true
some_fixnum = 1

VALUE my_var = Qnil;
VALUE this_is_true = Qtrue;
VALUE some_fixnum = INT2FIX(1);


string = "hi"

VALUE string = rb_str_new2("hi");

/* Ruby string to C string */
char *s = RSTRING_PTR(str);
int len = RSTRING_LEN(str);

Object to C struct

In C you'll probably want to store your data in a struct. Ruby provide some things to wrap a struct inside a Ruby object. Also, since Ruby is not aware of the stuff created in the C world we have to be pretty explicit about everything.

module MyModule
  class MyClass
    def close
      @closed = true

In C

/* This is called by Ruby GC when the object is freed
 * so free all resources used here. We hook it up
 * in the Data_Wrap_Struct call down there.  */
void my_obj_free(my_struct_t *s)

/* Called by Ruby then and instance of your class is created
 * hooked by rb_define_alloc_func. */
VALUE my_obj_alloc(VALUE klass)
  my_struct_t *s = ALLOC_N(my_struct_t, 1);
  /* This stores the struct inside the Ruby object, so you
   * can get the struct back on each method call. */
  return Data_Wrap_Struct(klass, NULL, my_obj_free, s);

/* The actual MyClass#close method, first argument is the
 * instance object. It's hook into our class by the rb_define_method
 * call in Init_ */
VALUE my_obj_close(VALUE self)
  my_struct_t *s;
  /* This is where we get the struct back from the Ruby object */
  Data_Get_Struct(self, my_struct_t, s);
  s->closed = 1;

/* Init_* is magically called by Ruby to bootstrap your extension,
 * it's like a main function if you will. */
void Init_name_of_your_extension()
  VALUE mMyModule = rb_define_module("MyModule");
  VALUE cMyClass = rb_define_class_under(mMyModule, "MyClass", rb_cObject);  

  rb_define_alloc_func(cMyClass, my_obj_alloc);
  rb_define_method(cMyClass, "close", my_obj_close, 0);

Calling methods


result = begin

rb_funcall(obj, rb_intern("method_name"), 0);
/* if an error is raised, result will be set to Qundef */
VALUE result = rb_funcall_rescue(obj, rb_intern("method_name"), 1, arg);


my_ary.each do |i|
  puts i

VALUE i_each(VALUE elem, VALUE *obj)
  /* elem is the yielded object and obj is a pointer to obj down there v */
  printf("%d\n", FIX2INT(elem));
  return Qnil;
rb_iterate(rb_each, my_ary, i_each, (VALUE) obj);

Error handling

raise ArgumentError, "..."

rb_raise(rb_eArgError, "...");
/* To raise an error corresponding to the one in errno */

Garbage Collection

When creating Ruby objects in the C world, Ruby is not aware of the scope of each, it's impossible to track when a variable is used and when it's not, so it's impossible for the garbage collector to know when do leave or sweep objects. If you create a long live object, that will persist for several method calls you have to tell Ruby's garbage collector when it's in use and when you're finished with it. If you don't, Ruby GC will free your variable in the worst possible time, ending up with unthinkable tragedies around the world, leaving you homeless and poor for all eternity.

VALUE var = rb_str_new2("prout");

/* Tell Ruby GC this object is in use */
/* when you're finished you can unregister it and let the GC free it */

Note that you don't need to do this if you only use the variable in one method since the control is not given back to Ruby during the method call. Also if the variable is still referenced in the Ruby world it's already registered.

More, more, more!

This is far from a complete guide to MRI, you'll need to dig the Ruby doxygen doc if you need more info.

Now lets port Rails to C!


Filed under ruby, tips, tutorial

Staying Alive with Thin!

TravoltaThin was the first Ruby server to be able to connect to UNIX domain sockets, giving you a little more speed, so you could spend less time browsing and more time dancing and eating ice creams with the people you love. But only Nginx (that I know of) supports UNIX domain sockets. Non-Nginx users might like to have time to dance and eat ice creams with the people they love too!

So that’s why Thin new release (0.7.0 codename Spherical Cow) supports persistent connections (aka Keep-Alive).

Apache & mod_proxy

Under Apache, if a client requests a persistent connection, the connection to the backend server (through mod_proxy) will also be persistent. That means the time spent opening the connection is saved for subsequent requests because all requests will be sent through the same connection. Even cooler is that you have nothing to do to set that up, unless you’ve turned Keep-Alive off.

I ran some benchmarks and I got an average gain of 200 req/sec with Keep-Alive on.
Keep-Alive benchmark

Sadly Nginx doesn’t support persistent connections to backends yet, but it seems to be a highly requested feature, and Igor Syseov (author of Nginx) said he’s working on it several times on the mailing list. Imagine that: UNIX sockets + persistent connections, oooh man!

Hey we develop too, sometimes!

Of course you’ll take advantage of that feature when it’s just you, Thin and your browser. And we can also benchmark it, just for fun, to get numbers that are sure to give you goose bumps: 7800 req/sec is just, ooooh, aaahh, hummm, yeah, that was good!



If you’re looking for even more speed. Thin can now be used as a Swiftiply client. And it’s very easy to use:

thin start --servers 3 --port 8000 --swiftiply

Just add the --swiftiply option. This also means that any Rack adapter can be run through Swiftiply (using the --rackup option) including Ramaze, Camping, Merb, YourCrazyLittleFrameworkThatIsSoooBetterThenAllTheOtherAndThatSupportRack etc.

Speed with control

But what is speed with no control, right?

The main reason why Mongrel couldn’t support persistent connections was because of Ruby 1024 file/socket descriptors limitation. If you don’t close the connection (keep them alive) it’s one less descriptor you can use to process another connection or open a file.

Although EventMachine doesn’t have an infinite number of file descriptors it was reported to handle more then 20 000 concurrent connections.

You can now tune the number of connections a Thin server can handle.

--max-conns: This sets the maximum number of concurrent connections your Thin server can handle. Setting higher then 1024 might require superuser privileges on some system.

--max-persistent-conns: This sets the maximum number of persistent connections your Thin server can handle at the same time. If resource usage is important, you might want to turn that down. You can turn Keep-Alive support off by setting to 0.

Get it!

Spherical Cow also comes with a couple bug fixes and tweak.
As usual, you can get the latest version from RubyForge:

sudo gem install thin

If you have any question, join the Google Group or the #thin channel on freenode.

I hope you like it!


Filed under rails, ruby, thin

MoR7 Presentation

ImageHere’s the code and slides of my presentation :

Hope you liked it!

1 Comment

Filed under montreal, rails, StandoutJobs, thin