This Week in Ruby (May 29, 2008)

This is the 9th episode of This Week in Ruby, please consider subscribing to my feed so as to not miss any weekly installments.


Two days ago JRuby 1.1.2 was released. Amongst several bug fixes and improvements, this release is characterized by a focus on performances. Startup time, threading, method calling and YAML symbol parsing have all been drastically improved.

Huw Collingbourne of SapphireSteel, has announced that he’ll be releasing a complete book on Ruby, chapter by chapter, free of charge online. After reading the first chapter, I can attest that it’s excellent. Keep an eye on it, as new chapters get added.

The Pragmatic Programmers put out a series of screencasts for sale. The most relevant series for Ruby programmers is Everyday Active Record. The first two episodes (a half an hour long, each) are out and can be purchased for just $5 a piece. The preview — and Ryan Bates’s reputation — lead me to believe that they are entirely worth their very reasonable sticker price. Speaking of screencasts, a new one about merb-slices was released on Merbunity, check it out if you’re into Merb.

There were two important releases last week, Mack 0.5.5 — which features a new rendering engine with support for Haml and Markaby — and DataMapper 0.9, a major reworking of the ORM. A third release, which is perhaps just as welcomed, was launched by _Why who included a few graphical improvements for Shoes, his GUI application toolkit. Definitely neat stuff, which I invite you to take a look at if you’re working on a Mac.

Peter Cooper published 21 Ruby Tricks You Should Be Using In Your Own Code. You probably know already most of the common ones at least, but they’re quick and fun, so if you haven’t checked out the post yet take a moment and do so. Other must-read tutorials and articles were Ruby && DTrace! (really neat results), Ruby EventMachine – The Speed Demon by one of my favorite Ruby bloggers, and Will’s Guide to Mashing-up Remote Databases using Page Scraping.

In a post made a couple of days ago, Robert Fischer opened up a can of worms by bringing up the issue of Ruby and XML libraries. As most of you know REXML is far from being issue-free (performance in primis), and in The Status of Ruby’s libxml Robert uncovers that the author of LibXml Ruby is unable to actively pursue the development of his extension. This issue concerns me, but if I’m working with databases, I prefer to take advantage of DB2 Express-C ’s fantastic pureXML features, which give me the sort of speed, flexibility and stability that I won’t find in a Ruby library anytime soon.

Before highlighting some of the news from Rails-land, I wanted to inform you that a new version of The Great Ruby Shootout will surface in June, as I intend to test a couple of special new entries.


Today, RailsConf 2008 started and it certainly stands a great chance of being dubbed an exhilarating event. A few people enquired to see if they could meet me there, but unfortunately I couldn’t make it. Chances are that you’re reading this post from RailsConf. If that’s the case, say hi for me and don’t forget to visit the nice fellas from Engine Yard, Morph (my sponsor), Phusion and GemStone. Oh and also, feel free to pass around the url of this entry. 😉

Rails 2.1 RC1 is out, so you’ll find this article on upgrading to Rails 2.1.0_RC1 useful. Fabio Akita released a new version of his popular tutorials, Rolling with Rails 2.1 (part 1 and part 2). And if you are looking for an advanced authentication/authorization system for Rails 2, take a gander at Lockdown on RubyForge.

My friends at SeeSaw implemented a series of Rails Widgets which can easily be installed as a Rails plugin. Feel free to use them and/or contribute, in order to add further support for simplifying and reusing common UI elements. Speaking of shiny things, check out this Ruby on Rails icon pack; very pleasing to the eye, in my opinion.

RubyInside published a list of 28 mod_rails / Passenger Resources To Help You Deploy Rails Applications Faster. As DHH forecasted, “this could definitely become very popular, very fast ;)”.

New Relic released their RPM solution for monitoring and improving the performances of Rails applications to the general public. You can get it here.

And finally, some great news just came in, IronRuby is running unmodified Rails. “Excellent” (said in Montgomery Burns’ voice, complete with characteristic hand gesture).

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  1. Peter Cooper May 30, 2008
  2. Mark Bates May 30, 2008
  3. Andrew Stone May 30, 2008
  4. okey June 1, 2008

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