Sometimes I feel like a slacker. I don’t subscribe to Ruby-Talk or any of the official Rails mailing lists. I just don’t have time to read 500 messages a day!
I do lurk on several local Ruby mailing lists. The traffic is usually smaller and the content is top notch.
Here are a few that I enjoy reading…
NOTE: If you choose to subscribe, be courteous. Lurk for a few weeks and get an idea for the content that is posted before starting a new thread.
It was in October that I first started seeing the billboard on my way to work. “Programmer Deathmatch! $10,000 grand prize!”, it screamed at me as I drove by. Running down the side was a list of languages; C++, Java, Lisp (what was that doing there?), Ruby (What!?). It’s a good thing I was riding the bus, or I might have caused an accident.
Next thing I knew, it was coming up in the local Ruby Brigade meeting. “Have you heard about the Deathmatch?” “Yeah, that sounds so cool. Are you entering?” Some people were excited, others intimidated, but the idea certainly generated some buzz. Berkeley Data Systems (the company behind Mozy.com, the online backup service) seemed to strike gold with this idea.
The One-Click Ruby Installer for Windows had its one millionth download sometime last night (you can see the download total on the RubyForge front page)! After working hard for the past five years to promote the use of Ruby, this is a really satisfying milestone!
Take a look at this monthly download graph that starts around August 2004 and runs through the end of last month (ignore that temporary spike around May, I believe that is a bug in the RubyForge stats somehow related to the download mirrors):
You can see the rise in downloads from 3,200 a month in August 2004 to 60,000 a month in October 2006 (earlier stats from RubyForge are now longer available, but I think downloads in 2003 were a few hundred a month). Of course the dramatic rise in downloads coincides with Ruby on Rails phenomenon.
Oloh is a a really cool site that analyzes the source code from thousands of open source projects. This is not just a static analysis either. They track every checkin and know how many new lines of code are added over time, in what language and who added them. This enormous database lets them see some interesting trends, like these from their PHP Eats Rails for Breakfast article:
Best of all, this fantastic resource was written in Ruby on Rails!
JRuby is a Ruby language interpreter that is written in Java. This means that it runs Ruby programs under the JVM and, therefore, runs portably anywhere that Java runs (which is nearly everywhere).
I used to think that the killer feature of JRuby was making it easier to sneak Ruby into companies via a Java back-door. But that was before I saw Charles Oliver Nutter’s JRuby presentation earlier this week at the St. Louis Gateway JUG. JRuby’s killer feature is its brilliant integration with Java code. Ruby code can call Java code (and vice versa) and Ruby classes can inherit from Java classes.
A really nice touch is that JRuby will let you call Java methods using standard Ruby conventions. This is especially nice for getters and setters, where you can take Java code that looks like this:
MyThing thing = new MyThing("blob");
thing.setName(thing.getName() + "_title");
And write it in Ruby style like this:
thing = MyThing.new("blob");
thing.name += "_title";
This also means that your Ruby code has direct access to that vast universe of Java code. Peter Cooper just wrote about his experiment using JRuby to create a cross-platform desktop GUI application using the same SWT framework that renders Eclipse. Cool stuff!
It is so exciting to see the official Ruby language site becoming available in so many different languages. As of this morning, the Spanish version just went live! We already had English, Japanese, and Korean versions in operation.
But that is just the beginning. The list of translations that are still in progress is truly impressive: Brazillian Portuguese, Chinese, Czech, French, German, Norwegian, Polish, and Russian!
Update: The Polish version just went live, too!