Update(Sunday 2:02 PM): Charles Nutter has responded and made it clear that his first priority is JRuby 1.0.
Update(1:37PM): Curt Hibbs also blogged this in the Ruby Category
Sun hired two of the JRuby developers. I think this is good news, but I also see a real potential for problems, here’s a quote from Tim Bray’s weblog entry:
“Will they work on JRuby full time? · Yes, but they also have a mandate to think about developer tools. Right now, developers who use dynamic languages like Python and Ruby are poorly served, compared to what Java developers have.”
WRONG, has he ever used RadRails, Eclipse, Komodo? Probably not, at Sun, the only IDE that exists is NetBeans, and I certainly hope tihs doesn’t mean that Charles Nutter and Thomas Enebo and going to be forced to work on the NetBeans team. I fear that might be the case. The one common theme I’ve noticed from Sun over the past few years is that they spend an irrational amount of time hyping NetBeans as the answer to every problem. I hope this is good news, and I hope that they didn’t just hire the JRuby guys to be semi-junior developers on the NetBeans team.
If this means that we can look forward to a JRuby that really is efficient and ready for production use, I think this is great news. Maybe then we can continuing using Java for what it is good at (enterprise development), and start benefiting from rails as a lightwight MVC framework without having to deal with an impedance mismatch between the two systems.
Impedance Mismatch: Rails vs. J2EE for Prototyping
On a related note, I was discussing prototyping technologies with a colleague yesterday. This person is developing a large system on a J2EE platform, and by this I mean SOA with XFire as a lightweight SOAP stack, persistence mediated by Hibernate reading EJB3 Annotations, and an Event Driven Architecture (EDA) using something like ServiceMix or ActiveMQ as a messaging provider. Blah blah blah, lot’s of buzzwords, but in this case, he actually needs to do some really heavy lifting, and, sure, he could do all of this with a combination of Ruby scripts and Rails applications, but he’d end of reinventing the wheel serveral times over. The initial suggestion was that he prototype web interfaces in Ruby on Rails, but after some discussion he decided that the prototype needed to be done in the J2EE platform for a number of reasons. Ruby on Rails wasn’t an option because it would’ve meant that instead of relying on some really time-saving tools like the XFire Proxy Factory in Spring, he would’ve had to write adatpers in Ruby by hand.
It would have been nice if I could have told him that he could develop in Ruby on Rails and still know that he’d be able to seamlessly integrate with the J2EE platform, but JRuby really isn’t ready yet. JRuby can run Rails, but when I tried it a few weeks ago it was still buggy and slow. Hopefully Sun hiring the JRuby guys will give them better access to people who can help integrate Ruby and Java. Maybe in the near future you will be able to integrate a rails application into an existing enterprise platform despite the (closed minded) opinions of it’s creator. I’d like to JRuby modified to work well within a JVM, and I’d like to be able to start integrating a Rails MVC front-end with the Spring Framework.