Registration Oct 7 — 13 Competition Oct 19 — 20 Judging Oct 22 — 24

The 2013 Winners Have Been Announced!

Oct 25, 2013

The winners of 2013 Rails Rumble have been announced, so go check them out!

Winners will be receiving a number of awesome prizes from our sponsors, like gift certificates and free access to services (thanks, sponsors)!

Teams, you should now feel free to deploy any updates you have waiting in the wings. We’ll email you soon with a quick survey and details regarding your Linode server and GitHub repository (you’ll have both until the November 10th). And if you’re in the Top 10, or won the Best Solo or Public Favorite awards, you’ll also be hearing from us with details on how to get your prizes.

Thanks to all the expert judges, participants, and public voters, for taking part in the 2013 Rumble!

- @tsmango


Let The Judging Commence!

Oct 21, 2013

The judging portion of the 2013 Rails Rumble has officially started! Please take some time over the next three days (judging ends on October 24th at 23:59 UTC), to browse through the 200+ completed entries and pick your favorites. When you’re done finding the ones you like the best, go to the favorites section and get it down to your top ten, put them in order, and click the “finalize” button to lock in your picks!

Note: Competitors and public judges aren’t required to lock in their picks, but if they do, their top ten will appear on their profile page after the winners are announced.

As a public judge or competitor, you’ll be making your picks alongside our incredible panel of expert judges. Expert judges will be deciding the top 1 through 10 winners and who’ll be getting the “Best Solo” prize. Public judges and competitors will be determining who gets the “Public Favorite” prize.

Oh, you didn’t realize there were prizes? Well, there are. A ton!

Lastly, we urge you to leave feedback for the competitors. What did you love about their app? What didn’t you love? How can they make it better? How brilliant was their app? Competitors love feedback, so send it their way! And remember, treat everyone with the respect that they deserve. This is a hard competition!

Winners will be announced on October 25th, after we finish counting up the votes. See you then!

- @tsmango


Teams - You've Made It!

Oct 20, 2013

Congratulations, teams! You’ve made it to the end of the competition portion of the 2013 Rails Rumble!


  • Mark all verification steps in your team’s dashboard as completed to qualify for judging.
  • Do not deploy any new code or make any modifications to your server’s deploy directory or config files of any kind or you’ll be disqualified.

In about 24 hours, we’ll be opening the three day long judging portion of the competition. At that time, we’ll be revealing this year’s expert judges and you’ll be able to pick and finalize your own favorite entries, which will decide the public favorite award. We also strongly encourage you to leave feedback for other teams. Everyone put in a ton of hard work this weekend, so please take some time over the next few days, while you’re recuperating, to take a look at the other entries and let them know how they did.

As always, please email with any questions you may have.

Now go get some rest, you deserve it!

- @tsmango


It's Almost That Time!

Oct 18, 2013

There are only 6 hours left until the competition starts, so if you’re not ready to rumble, you best get ready!

And if you haven’t noticed, you can now see your Linode and GitHub access details from your team’s dashboard. Just visit, sign in via GitHub, click your account button at the top left, and then click “Team Dashboard”.

Please note that your Linode server can’t be booted until the competition starts and you aren’t allowed to push to your GitHub repository until then either.

Also note that you won’t have access to your GitHub repository yet, but you will have access once the competition starts. Again, don’t push to your repository until the competition starts. Also, don’t rename your repository or remove the post commit hook we’ve added.

You are welcome to sign into Linode and configure your server with a StackScript before the competition starts. To see our optional Rails Rumble StackScripts, check here.

Remember: We strongly urge you to not require account sign-ups or social media sign-ins for visitors to try your application. If you require user accounts, please use a Guest User Record style system instead.

May the odds be ever in your favor!

- @tsmango


Linode - Get Up & Running With StackScripts for 2013

Oct 16, 2013

Linode, our wonderful infrastructure sponsor that’ll be providing every team with a server during this year’s Rails Rumble, has a great feature called StackScripts. Simply said, StackScripts let you get a server up and running faster than fast. A StackScript can be as little as installing Ruby, or something much more involved that sets up and configures everything you need to run an app.

This year, we’re happy to announce that we’ve worked closely with Linode to produce a single, flexible StackScript that Rails Rumble competitors may optionally use for the competition.

The “2013 Rails Rumble - Official” StackScript

For the full instructions on how to use this StackScript, please check the wiki.

This StackScript will install and configure a number of basic standard packages, as well as Ruby 2, MySQL (Optional), Apache + Passenger (Optional), Git, and Memcached. It will also configure SSH deploy keys (that should be added to your GitHub repository’s deploy keys area), a deployment location, and a database.yml, for your Rails app.

When MySQL, Apache, and Passenger are optionally installed, this StackScript can be used in conjunction with a specific Capistrano deployment recipe, which we’ve provided in the complete instructions.

However, you may choose to not install MySQL, Apache, and Passenger, in which case all of the base packages and Ruby will still be installed and the various SSH keys necessary for deployments and the Rails Rumble verification system will be properly setup.

Either way, check out the complete instructions and decide if this is the StackScript for you!

Going Stack-less

The above StackScript is totally optional. You’re welcome to pick from any of Linode’s available distributions, roll up your sleeves and configure your server on your own. You can even use the 2012 StackScripts we released or a StackScript released by others, like this one by CookiesHQ. The only thing we ask is that you remember to add our public key so the Rails Rumble verification system can do its thing. You can do this by sshing into your server and running the following command as root:

mkdir -p ~/.ssh && curl >> ~/.ssh/authorized_keys && chmod 0644 ~/.ssh/authorized_keys

Linode Access & Configuration

Roughly 6 to 12 hours or so before the competition starts, we’ll make your Linode access details available in your team’s dashboard (sign into, click your account button on the top left, then click “Team Dashboard”). We’ll also email you to let you know those are available. Prior to the competition, you’re welcome to sign into Linode with the credentials we provide and configure your server using their management interface. However, you won’t be able to boot your server until the competition starts on October 19th at 00:00 UTC. To configure your Linode with one of our pre-made StackScripts above, check out these instructions.

GitHub Access & Deploy Keys

GitHub, our other awesome infrastructure sponsor, has a great feature called Organizations. Organizations is how we’ll be providing your team access to its private Rails Rumble repository. When the competition begins, you’ll have access to our Organization on GitHub’s site and your team’s repository will appear there — like magic! When the time comes, just sign into GitHub and click the account switching menu on the top left, then click into your team’s repository to get started.

There are a few rules regarding your GitHub repository:

  • Don’t push to your repository before the competition starts.
  • Don’t rename your repository.
  • Don’t remove our post-commit hook.

The StackScripts above will pre-generate a deploy key in /root/.ssh and configure your /root/.ssh/config to use that deploy key for You should add the public key at /root/.ssh/ to your GitHub repository’s Settings / Deploy Keys area once you get access to your GitHub repository.

It’s Almost Time!

We’ve very close to the start of the 2013 Rails Rumble and know how excited everyone is to get going. And while we hope that your team’s planning is already complete and that you’ll be spending the next 60 hours centering your chi, we suspect you’ll be drinking way too much coffee and sketching endlessly on your whiteboards. It’s normal, don’t worry!

So, keep your eyes open for our emails and remember to make sure your teammates have accepted your invitations before the competition starts. Good luck!

- @tsmango


Guest Post: How To Build an App in 48 Hours

Oct 15, 2013

In what we hope will be a new tradition, we’ve asked a member of last year’s winning team to write something about what it takes to build a winning app in 48 hours.

This year, Darcy Laycock of was kind enough to write that something for us. So gather ‘round and soak in the wisdom!

How To Build an App in 48 Hours

Given this years Rumble is coming up, Tom from the Rails Rumble team asked if I could give some advice on building the best app possible in 48 hours. To give context, last year myself and two others built our entry - - that later went on to win the competition. With that in mind, today I’m going to share some quick tips on building the best app possible in a short period of time (and how to show how good your app is!).

Keep It Simple

I’d like to start by emphasizing the obvious - A simpler idea is going to be easier to build in the short period of time you have. Likewise, it’s also a lot easier to communicate a simple idea.

Plan, Plan, Plan

Make a rough plan of the features you want. Plan to spend about half of your time building things - you’ll likely plan too much anyway, so at least have an ordered list of what you want to get done.

Cut Features Relentlessly

Aim to stop building features at the latest six or so hours before the end of the competition - but ideally more. This will give you time to make sure you finish everything and make sure you don’t break stuff. There is nothing worse than trying to debug site-breaking issues in the last few minutes of the competition.

Deploy Early, Deploy Often

Make deploying your application one of the first things you do - too many teams leave it until midway through the competition, which means you waste a lot of time trying to get things working when no one else is around to help.

Have an easy deploy process and make sure you test it all the time - we used a continuous integration & deployment service (like Travis CI, a sponsor this year) along with our own team member Sam’s blog post on git-based deployment to make sure every push was deployed. This meant we always knew our site was live and it may have cost us an hour at the start (at most), but it saved us countless time and worry later in the competition.

Test The Important Stuff

More than anything, even if you decide to rush most of the project, I want to stress how important it is to make sure you test the key parts of your project. Make sure you have repeatable tests for the main things users do so you don’t waste important time manually testing things or, even worse, finding out post-competition your main page is broken.

Avoid Accounts Where Possible

If you can, avoid having to create an account to use your app - the judges only have limited time to test things and have a lot of other stuff to look at. This makes it easier for you to test things as well.

If you need an account, use a guest account system, or have test accounts set up for judges with pre-filled data that they can use to explore the application.

No login is best, accounts like twitter are useful - but remember not everyone may have an account - and if all that fails, provide test accounts. As simple as that!


In closing, I wish you all the best of the luck in this year’s rumble - the most important part of the whole competition is to make sure you have fun! Good luck!

- @sutto


500 Teams - We Did It Again!

Oct 14, 2013

After a week of open registration, we’re extremely happy to announce that this year, like last, we easily filled up the 500 spots we made available for teams! They filled up fast, but interest in the Rails Rumble didn’t stop there! A ton of teams came later in the week and were placed on our waiting list.

So what happens next? As you know, the competition starts on October 19th at 00:00 UTC — you have until then to add members to your team, combine teams, change teams, or drop out. But don’t wait until the last minute, get in there and get it done.

Something Come up? No Longer Able to Compete? Drop Out!

Spots are a precious commodity! They’re in limited supply! Teams are on the wait list hoping to get yours! If you have a reserved spot and can no longer compete, please leave your team so a team from the wait list can have your spot. To do this, sign in via GitHub at, click your account button at the top, and click “Team Dashboard”. From your team’s dashboard, just click the “Leave” link next to your name. If you’re the last member of the team, your team will be deleted and your spot will be given to the next team on the wait list.

Invite Members to Your Team

You can add up to three other people to your team, so long as you do it before the competition starts. To do this, sign in via GitHub at, click your account button at the top, and click “Team Dashboard”. From your team’s dashboard, you’ll be able to invite others to your team.

Ditch Your Friends & Switch Teams

If you have a team of your own or are already on a team, you can leave yours and join another before the competition starts. To do this, sign in via GitHub at, click your account button at the top, and click “Team Dashboard”. From your team’s dashboard, just click the “Leave” link next to your name. If you’re the last member of the team, your team will be deleted and your spot will be given to the next team on the wait list.

Official Code of Conduct

We’d also like to take this opportunity to point you to our official Code of Conduct. We expect everyone to be respectful in IRC, on Twitter, and on comments left on entry pages. If you find someone in violation of our Code of Conduct, please do not hesitate to email help @ so that the organizers can deal with it.

See You Soon!

We’ll be emailing everyone later in the week with additional details regarding Linode and GitHub access — Linode access will be available about 6 hours before the competition and GitHub access will be available when the competition starts. And again, the competition starts promptly on October 19th at 00:00 UTC.

To stay up to date with the Rumble, we strongly encourage you to follow @railsrumble on Twitter. And to hang out with other rumblers, check out the #railsrumble IRC channel on Freenode.

- @tsmango


Registration Has Opened!

Oct 07, 2013

The Rails Rumble is a distributed programming competition where teams of one to four people, from all over the world, have 48 hours to build an innovative web application, with Ruby on Rails or another Rack-based Ruby web framework. After the 48 hours are up, a panel of expert judges will pick the top ten winners.

As many of you have already noticed, registration for the 2013 Rails Rumble is now open! To reserve a spot for your team, simply head over to and sign in with GitHub. After signing in, you’ll be able to register a team, thus reserving a spot in the most action packed weekend of programming since the last Rails Rumble! After reserving a spot, you’ll be able to invite up to three others to join you on your team.

If you’re in search for others to join your team, or a team to join yourself, use the hashtag #rumbleteamvacancy on Twitter. (Note: I apologize for advocating the use of a hashtag, but it seemed to work well last year.)

There are a few things you should keep in mind:

  • Spots are limited. Although registration is technically open until the 13th, you should reserve a spot for your team early so that you don’t miss out. However, even after registration is over, you’ll be able to add and remove people from your team all the way up until when the competition starts on the 19th.

  • Expert judges can’t sign up for hundreds of Rails Rumble entries, whether it’s by email or via Twitter. It’s important to remember this when designing your entry. The easier it is to try, the happier the judges will be. If your application needs user accounts, we strongly encourage you to employ a Guest User Record style system to let visitors easily give your app a try.

  • If you reserve a spot for a team and later want to join a different team, realize you’re unable to compete, or just want to change teams, go to, sign in with GitHub, click the account button on the top left, click Team Dashboard, then click the Leave link next to your name under the Team Members section. If you’re the last member of the team, your team will be deleted and your spot will become available for another team that will no doubt be eternally grateful to their anonymous patron.

  • To keep up to date with everything Rails Rumble leading up to the competition and during the competition, you should follow @railsrumble on Twitter.

  • Have you followed @railsrumble on Twitter yet?

  • To hang out with other rumblers before, during, and after the competition, fire up your favorite IRC client and go to #railsrumble on Freenode.

  • Help spread the word about this year’s Rails Rumble! Take to Twitter and let your followers know that you’ve registered and are ready to knock their socks off.

  • We’re extremely happy to welcome a number of new sponsors that are helping to make the 2013 Rails Rumble happen. Please take some time to check them out!

Okay, I think that’s enough things to keep in your mind for now. Watch for a few posts leading up to the competition about various Important and Interesting Thingstm, though.

If you need help with anything or have any questions at all, please feel free to contact the organizers. Otherwise, the competition starts on October 19th at 00:00:00 UTC, so don’t be late! We’ll be emailing you about 6 to 12 hours before the competition with more details about your Linode account and GitHub repository.

And finally, while the Rails Rumble is a competition, it’s also about the Ruby community. Be nice. Make friends. Build something you’re proud of. Have fun.

- @tsmango


OMG Prizes!

Oct 04, 2013

Yesterday, you met the 2013 Sponsors. On October 7th, at 00:00:00 UTC, registration opens. But today, we spill the beans on this year’s prizes!

First Place

  • 2013 Rails Rumble Championship Belt - Thanks, thoughtbot!
  • $2,000 in Apple or Amazon Gift Certificates for the team! - Thanks, Linode!
  • Linode - 1 Year @ 16GB for the Team, 1 Year @ 2GB Per Member
  • GitHub - 1 Year of Gold Plan
  • Codebase - 1 Year Subscription to “Small”
  • Deploy - 1 Year Subscription to “Basic”
  • Sirportly - 6 Month Subscription to “Plus” Per Member
  • Dashable - 18 months of Dashable Agency edition
  • Scout - Free for Life Enhanced (up to 5 servers)
  • Pusher - 1 Year Startup Plan
  • Twilio - $133.70 credit Per Member
  • Travis CI - 3 Month Free on Startup Plan
  • O’Reilly Media - 1 Free ebook Per Member
  • PagerDuty - 6 Months Free
  • - 1 Year Free
  • Prefinery - 1 Year Platnium
  • Honeybadger - $19 Off For Six Months
  • Sticker Mule - Stickers!

Second Place

Third Place

Fourth Place

Fifth Place

Sixth Place

Seventh Place

Eighth Place

Ninth Place

Tenth Place

Best Solo & Public Favorite Bonus Awards are Back for 2013!

In addition to the top ten winners above, we have two Linode-Sponsored, bonus awards. So how do you win one of these special awards? Well, just like last year, the Best Solo award is based on expert judges, and the Public Favorite award is based on picks from the competitors themselves, as well as anyone from the public.

  • Best Solo - $500 Apple or Amazon Gift Certificate - Thanks, Linode!

  • Public Favorite - $250 Apple or Amazon Gift Certificate per team member - Thanks, Linode!

Everyone’s a Winner!

Even if you don’t place or get one the special Linode-Sponsored awards, a number of our sponsors have been generous enough to provide coupons for their services. For more about how to redeem those coupons, visit your team’s dashboard near the end of the competition.

Thanks very much to our sponsors and good luck to everyone!

- @tsmango


Looking for older posts? Why not browse the archive?