This Week in Ruby (June 16, 2008)

This is the 10th episode of This Week in Ruby, please consider subscribing to my feed so as to not miss any weekly installments.

As announced a few days ago, This Week in Ruby is being split into two parts: This Week in Ruby and This Week in Rails. The one you are reading is the Ruby edition, while Riding Rails – the official Rails blog – will host the Rails one. Links to and from each post will be provided, in case you don’t follow both blogs.


The Ruby community has shown a clear interest in Behavior-Driven Development (BDD), so if you haven’t taken the plunge yet, check out Ben Emson’s introduction to RSpec Stories. Those who’re already well versed with RSpec, will enjoy an article by another Ben, in which RSpec’s DSL internals are explained in detail so as to cover an example of creating macros with RSpec.

The Pragmatic Programmers published a series of screencasts about The Ruby Object Model and Metaprogramming. So far they’ve received glowing reviews, including my own, hence I highly recommend that you evaluate them.

A couple of weeks ago I announced the creation of a Ruby Benchmark Suite project. The next shootout will take place starting from the 24th and I should be able to get the results up on this blog by the 30th of this month.

While working on modifying his RX Ruby Tokenizer to be included in the Ruby Benchmark Suite, Tim Bray reported a few considerations on the sad status of REXML and Ruby 1.9. It’s definitely an interesting read, and it’s important to increase the awareness about the current pains of working with Ruby 1.9 and REXML.

Yesterday, Tim also had a post titled Deletionist Morons about the controversy surrounding the proposed deletion of Why the lucky stiff’s wikipedia entry. The Ruby community at large vouched for Why, who is clearly one of its biggest, and definitely most original, contributors.

Finally, the fun Ruby article award of the week goes to Ilya Grigorik for his Tumblr, RMagick and a Photo Frame!


RailConf’s presentation regarding MagLev has been an attention grabber in the world of alternative Ruby implementations. A video of Avi Bryant’s demo is now available online, as well as a somewhat older interview with InfoQ. You can read Chad Fowler’s take as well as mine.

MacRuby 0.2 was released about 10 days ago. For those not familiar with this project, it’s an Ojective-C based implementation of Ruby 1.9 for Mac OS X. The general idea is to have a Ruby version that lets you write Mac applications that perform reasonably well. In the upcoming shootout we’ll be testing this early release as well.

Those of you still working in Java, but interested in the possibility of using Ruby’s testing tools and frameworks, should pay attention to the release of JtestR 0.3. As you can imagine, this works thanks to JRuby’s interoperability capabilities with Java. If this alternative Ruby implementation for the JVM appeals to you, you should probably also read Thomas Enebo’s interview about the future of JRuby. Speaking of interoperability, at Tech Ed (that’s a Microsoft event), John Lam demonstrated a cool prototype for the integration of IronRuby and ASP.NET MVC.

Readers interested in contributing to Rubinius, should take a look at this write-up about getting started with hacking on Rubinius.

Web Frameworks

At the latest Toronto Rails night (which I didn’t attend, but I soon will be as I’m moving downtown), Rowan Hick presented Merb, and has now made his presentation
available online. Speaking of Merb, Engine Yard Express is a new free product that lets you try out an Engine Yard “slice” wrapped up in a VMware image, and both Merb and Rails are supported.

The 2008.06 version of Ramaze was released last week. Aside from switching from a numeric release scheme to a date-based one (which I personally like much more), this is a major release that introduces over 450 patches and a few changes to the internal API.

To keep the good times rolling, the first edition of This Week in Rails is available on the official Rails blog.

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  1. Ben June 17, 2008
  2. Roderick van Domburg June 17, 2008
  3. Jonty June 18, 2008
  4. sgwong June 19, 2008

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