Bringing Ruby to the .NET environment

Things are heating up in the Ruby-as-a-dotnet-language area. Martin Fowler voiced his concerns on Microsoft not being able to look at source code and therefore having trouble implementing Ruby properly. Microsoft, with John Lam in the cockpit, is implementting Ruby for the .net platform (if you have been reading my previous blog posts I predicted way back in february 2006 that John Lam would get scooped up my Microsoft:-).

Ola Bini is also concerned about Microsoft not letting ther developers look at the Ruby implementation. If you remember the whole SCO debacle I guess it isn’t that strange. Microsoft is in the position where software they develop potentially may end up in millions of computers. Apparently the US legal system awards damages in proportion to this. Thus, any issues with a Ruby implementation on .net can quickly become costly.

It is all quite bizarre. Does this mean that the Microsoft version of the Ruby language is different from the “original” Ruby? I guess we will never know. Developers will probably write a lot of Ruby code that runs happily on the CLR. Rails applications will be deployed. But I am sure that there will be “special cases” where IronRuby will differ from “original” Ruby.

Therefore is was refreshing to see that Queensland University of Technology are progressing steadily with their Ruby.NET implementation. Currently you can actually compile a Ruby script into a .NET 2.0 assembly that other CLR languages can talk to. This may be the spearhead into the other half of enterprise deployment options.

All in all the future of software development looks bright. Will developers that invested a lot of time in Java or C# switch? Or will they move on to maintaining applications?

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