development speed boosters

You can always use mod_rails in development mode on Apache:

http://www.modrails.com/

<VirtualHost *:80>
  ServerName myapp
  DocumentRoot /rails/myapp/public
  RailsEnv development
  <Directory "/rails/myapp/public">
    Options FollowSymLinks
    AllowOverride None
    Order allow,deny
    Allow from all
  </Directory>
</VirtualHost>

Minus the ability to run an inline debugger, it works the same as
mongrel or webrick, except multi-threaded and faster.