RailsConf in Chicago on June 22-25 is shaping up as the place to be this summer. For folks who already know their way around the Rails landscape, it’s a chance to finally meet in person and exchange tips and tricks. It’s also an opportunity for new folks to come up to speed on Rails and get plugged into the community. To get the most out of the experience, you’ll first want to get a lay of the land and learn the local dialect so you can hang out with both the tribal elders and the kool kids. We think we have something that will help.

Dave Thomas and Mike Clark are offering a one-day Rails Guidebook before the conference. We’ll teach you how to write Ruby code, help you get Rails up and running on your laptop, and show you around the Rails framework so you can hit the ground running when the conference starts. With any luck, you’ll blend right in with the Rails l33t.

Rather than charging directly for the Guidebook, we’re donating our time. It’s one way of giving something back to the community that has given us so much fun. But there’s a catch: We’re asking attendees to make a charitable donation before they show up. We’re hoping that as a community we can raise a respectable amount of money for good causes. And we’re excited to see folks already donating well above the suggested minimum.

Space is limited and filling up very quickly, so book early. As added incentive, the top three contributors will get some extra goodies. And even if you don’t need the guided tour, we hope you (or your company) will consider donating to the charities. We’ll add it all up and announce how much you raised during the conference.

See you there!