This Week in Ruby (April 21, 2008)

This is the 4th episode of This Week in Ruby, please consider subscribing to my feed so as to not miss any weekly installments.


Ruby Heroes’s logoAs you’ve probably heard by now, this week Ruby 1.8.7-preview1 was released and it’s a major upgrade because it includes several backports from Ruby 1.9. It should help many in this transitionary period without substantially breaking the existing code. On the subject of migrating to Ruby 1.9, I recommend Bruce Williams’ beautiful slides from Scotland on Rails. I’d suggest reading the interview he gave for RubyLearning, in which he dispenses some good advice to Ruby newcomers. Those who’d like something more advanced, may find this clever presentation about metaprogramming very interesting, too.

The funny guys from RailsEnvy came up with an idea for promoting Ruby/Rails people: the Ruby Hero Awards. On the website you can nominate any person from the Ruby community and a panel of community leaders will pick 6 winners and announce them at RailsConf.

With the release of App Engine, Google has surely proven their interest for Python once again. But this month they gave some love to Ruby as well, by releasing a guide for using Ruby with the Google Data APIs.

There were three announcements that may spark your curiosity:

  • Ruby-Processing got an upgrade and now has the ability to export Mac applications;
  • forkoff was released, and it’s “brain-dead simple parallel processing for Ruby”;
  • Nick DeMonner released Stone, a plug&play Ruby solution to data persistence.

Other interesting articles were Converting Groovy to Ruby by Charlie Nutter, Symbols are not pretty strings and the second part of Rubinius for the Layman.


As mentioned last week, Rails’ repository has moved to GitHub while this week the tracker moved to Lighthouse. With these changes in place you may want to read about the best practices for contributing to Rails with Git and freezing Rails with Git.

The first tutorials for mod_rails have started to pop up, in particular there was this guide for setting up Passenger on SliceHost with Ubuntu 7.10 and the more discursive Why mod_rails is great for light-duty Rails apps.

The website Open Source Rails collects open source projects that are implemented in Rails. It’s surprising how many of them are practically unknown to the community.

This week two must-read, hands-on posts were published: Import Gmail Contacts using Ruby on Rails and Paperclip: Attaching Files in Rails. Both cover tasks that are extremely common and useful for many web developers.

On the more philosophical side, I published an article called Is the Enterprise world Rails ready? in which I discuss Rails’ origins and their consequences on Rails’ applicability within the corporate world. One a somewhat related note, you can read JRuby – Or how I manage to write Ruby in a strict corporate environment and Why I think Ruby on Rails is an ideal web development environment by Andy Jeffries.


This week the third part of the Merb and DataMapper Book was published (part 1, 2 and 3). Merb is growing very fast and I think it’s fair to say that it has become THE alternative framework to Rails within the community. New features keep popping up and some of them are indeed very clever ones. For example, this week Ezra published a post about deferred requests with Merb, Ebb and Thin. Briefly put, when you adopt an event-based web server like Ebb or Thin, as opposed to plain vanilla Mongrel, any long request will be a blocker. Now Merb offers the possibility to specify that a certain set of actions, like uploading a file, should be handled by spawning a new thread rather than being served by the main event loop. Very clever and excellent stuff.

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  1. Andy Jeffries April 21, 2008
  2. Jim Neath April 21, 2008
  3. Matthew Williams April 21, 2008
  4. Matt April 21, 2008
  5. Bruce Williams April 22, 2008

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