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Why MacRuby Matters (Present & Future)

Over the years the inadequacy of Ruby’s main implementation has led to the creation of several alternatives. The greatest common divisor between these is an attempt to improve the performance of Ruby, both in terms of time and space. But every Ruby implementation has another, deeper reason for being. For example, Ruby 1.9.1 is a refactoring of the language that provides the chance to incorporate several much...

Ruby’s Biggest Challenge for 2009

According to the TIOBE index, Ruby is holding its own in the 11th position, sandwiched between Delphi and D. Meanwhile, its “cousin” Python has jumped up in rank and is currently the 6th most popular programming language in the world, beating out C#, JavaScript and Perl. Ruby’s exponential growth appears to have truly slowed down. Even if we disregard the TIOBE Index or view it as being entirely...

Do you read the Rubyist and Rails Magazine?

Books and magazines have always fascinated me. Perhaps this is due to the fact that until I was nine, my father owned a bookstore and I would spend a lot of my time hanging out in a world of dust jackets and big words. More recently, the internet has brought information sharing to a whole new level and opened up a realm of amazing possibilities. I love this this element of being online to death, but it also means...

IBM’s Python driver is out of beta

This article is obsolete. Please refer to the following articles for up do date instructions: Ruby/Rails and DB2 | Python/Django and DB2. Thank you! There’s a new release of the Python driver/wrapper for DB2 and Informix in town. Version 0.7.0 is officially the first stable, production ready release. It includes fixes for a few known bugs and fully supports Unicode. This driver, and the DB-API 2.0 wrapper it...

Introducing Redis: a fast key-value database

One of the many advantages of having remarkable friends is learning quite early on about their most ambitious and interesting projects. Today, I’m going to talk about Redis, one such project that my friend Salvatore “antirez” Sanfilippo started. Redis (REmote DIctionary Server) is a key-value database written in C. It can be used like memcached, in front of a traditional database, or on its own...

Scaling Rails Screencasts

Within the Rails community, New Relic is a company that doesn’t need any introductions. They are synonymous with performance and reliability, thanks to their RPM product for monitoring, detecting, and fixing Rails application performance problems in real time. What everybody may not have noticed though, is that New Relic started something called RailsLab, a site in which they publish videos and other useful...

DB2 support for Django is coming

This article is obsolete. Please refer to the following articles for up do date instructions: Ruby/Rails and DB2 | Python/Django and DB2. Thank you! Online Surveys & Market Research A few weeks after DB2 Express-C for Mac OS X was announced, I’m here to let you in on another great scoop. DB2 support for the Django web framework is going to be available soon to the community, under the...

Let’s all grow up

A few days ago I wrote a comment on Hacker News. Here it goes. I hate how being harsh has become fashionable. Whatever happened to manners? This spontaneous reaction was in response to a blog that attempted to be humorous by using the word “fucking” multiple times in reference to Adobe’s UIs which were perceived as lacking a native look and feel. I stand behind those words. Acting bitter on the...

Monte Carlo simulation of the Monty Hall Problem in Ruby and Python

Reading Jeff Atwood’s post The Problem of the Unfinished Game, reminded me of a similar problem. The Monty Hall Problem is a well known probability puzzle that has tricked many people. In fact, if you are not familiar with it already, chances are that you’ll get it wrong. And you would be in good company along with many mathematicians and physicists, including the great mathematician, Paul Erdos. This...

DB2 on Mac officially released

As pre-announced in my two previous posts, DB2 for Mac OS X Leopard is finally available for download. It’s now official, DB2 on Mac is here. Reflections on DB2 on Mac Several people, including myself, would happily ditch their virtual machines and start introducing DB2 into their native Mac development stacks. But this milestone represents much more than the immediate implications would have us believe. A few...

Learn Merb

The most effective martial artists specialize in their discipline, but are not afraid to cross-train in others. Bruce Lee—arguably the most famous and influential martial artist of the past century—trained first in Tai Chi Chuan, then Gung Fu, and boxing, as well as learning western fencing. The insight taken from so many disciplines led him to create the Jeet Kune Do form of combat. Programmers are not...

Reflections on the Ruby shootout

Yesterday I published The Great Ruby Shootout and it quickly gathered a fair deal of attention. It was on the front page of Slashdot, Hacker News, Reddit, and so on. More than 15,000 people came by to read about the results of my comparison between Ruby implementations. Those numbers looked good but something didn’t add up. Ever since I clicked the “Publish” button, I had a very uneasy feeling...

The Great Ruby Shootout (December 2008)

The long awaited Ruby virtual machine shootout is here. In this report I’ve compared the performances of several Ruby implementations against a set of synthetic benchmarks. The implementations that I tested were Ruby 1.8 (aka MRI), Ruby 1.9 (aka Yarv), Ruby Enterprise Edition (aka REE), JRuby 1.1.6RC1, Rubinius, MagLev, MacRuby 0.3 and IronRuby. Disclaimer Just as with the previous shootout, before...

Merb, Rails Myths, Language Popularity and other Zenbits

Zenbits are posts which include a variety of interesting subjects that I’d like to talk about briefly, without writing a post for each of them. Merb: A few days ago Merb 1.0 was released. Congratulations to Ezra Zygmuntowicz on this important milestone, the Merb community and Engine Yard (who finances the project). Merb 1.0 wasn’t even out yet when some people had already started commenting on the...

And the winner is…

A few days ago I announced that I was going to give away a free ticket for the first Professional Ruby Conference, organized by Obie Fernandez and Addison-Wesley, to one of my readers. Each person who took the survey, received a discount code for the conference valued at $200. More excitingly, every eligible participant in the survey was added to a draw for a free ticket. Many replies came in, but of them only 30...

The Rise of the Functional Paradigm

In yesterday’s address to the Ruby community, Dave Thomas invited Rubyists to fork Ruby, to freely research and experiment with new and interesting features. If this process is successful, many of these features will inevitably see their way back into Ruby’s core, thus improving the language in leaps and bounds. And I feel he couldn’t have been any more right. In fact, the whole industry is...

Take this survey and win a free ticket for the Professional Ruby Conference

Addison Wesley will hold their first Professional Ruby Conference in Boston, Massachusetts between November 17 and 20, 2008. This conference, for which Obie Fernandez is the Technical Chair, is highly educational and boasts some of the best speakers from the Ruby and Rails communities. The organizers were kind enough to invite me, offering me a complimentary pass for the Professional Ruby Conference. I won’t...

Benchmarking DB2 pureXML against 1 TB of XML data

Once upon a time there was a Ruby library called Hpricot. Well it’s still here in fact. This library is the de facto standard for parsing HTML in Ruby, and is often used to parse XML as well. Hpricot is normally considered to be quite fast, as far as Ruby libraries go. Yet Nokogiri recently garnered some buzz thanks to a microbenchmark that emphasized its speed over Hpricot’s, when it comes to parsing...

Pygments TextMate Bundle

Following my last post, a few people asked me to create a Pygments TextMate bundle. Ask and ye shall receive (on GitHub). Prerequisites Install Pygments following these instructions. Installation First method: sudo mkdir -p /Library/Application\ Support/TextMate/Bundles cd /Library/Application\ Support/TextMate/Bundles git clone git://github.com/acangiano/pygments-textmate-bundle.git...

Integrating TextMate and Pygments

Like many, I don’t use TextMate just for coding. All of my posts are first drafted in my trusty editor before being published. One of the problems that I had, and that others probably face too, is the less than smooth process of publishing properly highlighted code in posts and HTML pages. A few solutions exist, including embedding gist snippets, using “Create HTML from Document” in TextMate, or...

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