Anatomy of an April Fools Joke

We moved RubyNation to April this year to avoid conflicting with RailsConf 2010, which was scheduled to be held in nearby Baltimore in June. Once we landed in April, we realized that we were going to have a nice opportunity to pull an April Fool's joke on the Ruby community.

We struggled long and hard to find a suitable joke to pull. It clearly couldn't be mean-spirited, tasteless, offensive or just plain stupid. It had to be kind of cool. Many emails were exchanged as we all wracked our brains to come up with a good joke, and there's more than 10 dedicated organizers for an event like RubyNation.

Finally, Arild Shirazi, from Code Sherpas, came up with the winning idea.

So, here's the text of the April Fool's joke that was published on the RubyNation site just 8 days before the conference:

Matz Presents Ruby2 - Finally Ready for the Enterprise in 2010!

Yukihiro Matsumoto (newly minted Chief Ruby Architect at Oracle), will join RubyNation live via satellite from Japan to discuss how Oracle's acquisition of Ruby finally makes our favorite language ready for the enterprise. With the impending release of the Ruby Language Specification 2 version 1.0 and Sun's Ruby Virtual Machine™, Matz will describe how developers and architects can leverage best practices for these upcoming, exciting changes:

  • Ruby Community Process® Program - controlled changes to Ruby via Ruby Specification Request® (RSR) committees
  • Oracle Application Server Enterprise Edition™ - the reference Rails Application Container®
  • Introduction of type-safety to the language with Ruby Generics™
  • Extensive XML-based configuration and mapping
  • n-tiered Ruby, hyper-threaded Ruby, Rails Enterprise Beans®, rant build tool and much, much more!

Get excited about Ruby2v1.0 - Ready for the Enterprise!

One of the things we weren't expecting was the active participation of Matz himself, the creator of the Ruby programming language, in our little joke. It seems that various people asked him if he had really joined Oracle. When he found out why people were asking him this, he got such a kick out of it that he re-tweeted it.

Matz Re-Tweets

This caused a major traffic spike on the RubyNation site, as you can clearly see in the Google Analytics chart below. The chart covers a week and shows the number of visits for each day.

RubyNation Web Stats

We were all surprised and pleased at how well the April Fool's joke went over. We're hoping to do something like this next year, but we'll have to come up with the right idea. So, see you next April!


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