I’ve been building up bits & pieces of Ruby news for weeks and weeks, so this is a pretty sizable bright-red glob.
Sun · Starting with my employer; Check out developers.sun.com/ruby. Our Ruby work has been a low-overhead guerrilla effort so far, and while it’s been going well, it’s nice to see a little bit of corporate organization setting in.
On the less-corporate side, there’s the work we’re doing with the University of Tokyo. Charles Nutter summarizes in University of Tokyo and JRuby Team to Collaborate on MVM. The potential benefits of having multiple virtual machines in one image—and I’m talking about all the Rubies including the J and .NET flavors—are pretty obvious. It’s a nontrivial problem, which is why we’re doing it on a research basis; so don’t hold your breath.
Oh, and then there’s Andrew Binstock’s latest IDE shootout, Eclipse 3.3 or NetBeans 6.0? If you care about the overall verdict go read the article, it’s good, but what I wanted to quote was this: “These features make NetBeans the best IDE currently available for Ruby development.” Mind you, I don’t expect either Eclipse or TextMate to stand still.
Finally, I observed back during the Wide Finder work that Ruby wasn’t running that well on the T2. I’m glad someone’s addressing that: see Darryl Gove’s Ruby performance gains on SPARC.
Duby · No, this isn’t an even shorter name for the That President, nor can you smoke it to get high, it’s evidence that Charles Nutter ought to be paying us, he’s having altogether too much fun.
Gemstone · Avi Bryant’s Ruby and other gems describes a fascinating framework built by Gemstone, a New York outfit you probably never heard of. I personally think that something like this might be huge in terms of making Rails scale effortlessly to really big problems.
The Other Side · Not everyone is on the Ruby bandwagon, you know. Karsten Wagner, in Static vs ‘dynamic typing’, part 2: The personality-factor, offers about as reasoned a presentation of the virtues of static typing, particularly in the large-project context, as you’re going to find anywhere. Example: “Static types create global constraints which describes your program in a non-local way.” I’m still on my Ruby honeymoon and remain unconvinced. Perhaps the following quote is central: “And that's is my problem with real TDD: It's again my laziness. Writing and maintaining those lots of tests is essential for this method to succeed - and I'm simply to lazy to do this.” Well, I’d argue that you shouldn’t do any kind of a large project these days without TDD, but obviously, some people do, and maybe for them, static typing has a positive ROI.
While we’re visiting nay-sayers, I’ve certainly enjoyed the ferocious monkeypatching debate that’s been swirling about Ruby-land. It’s obvious that as long as Ruby remains Ruby, monkeys will continue to be patched. But it’s also obvious that it’s reasonable to worry about this. The reason-to-worry position is best outlined by Gilad Bracha in Monkey Patching; he admits that “So far, I have no firm conclusions about how to best address the problems monkey patching is trying to solve” but concludes “The problems it induces far outweigh its benefits. If you feel tempted, think hard about design alternatives. One can do better.” I particularly enjoyed his educated snottiness about the JCP.
In Conclusion · Obie Fernandez writes about Big Name Companies Using Ruby on Rails. Ah, Ruby, I’m reminded of the Beatles’ Honey Pie: “She was a working girl, East of Japan way/Now she’s hit the big time, in the USA”.