On Thursday, Charles Nutter and Thomas Enebo gave a “breakfast briefing” on JRuby. It’s a good thing Charlie had forwarded the information on to the RUM list because otherwise I for one never would have found it – when someone at work asked about it, Google was fruitless. Anyway, despite the quiet nature of the advertising, there was a decent sized crowd including a couple of old friends.
While I’ve seen the JRuby/Swing demo several times now it never ceases to impress me. The lads have been quite busy and it’s clear their move to Sun has really helped them move their work along. The “schedule” for the next few months is pretty aggressive: February includes Rails 1.2.1 support, running Rails in GlassFish and a public release of the *outstanding* Ruby support that Tor Norby has been baking into NetBeans. Seriously, I think NetBeans will be a force in the Rails/Ruby editor market – it’s very impressive. And don’t get me started about how slick it will be to deploy a Rails app to a Java web server!
Now I know that last line will probably cause a few of the Rails faithful to yack up their favorite caffeinated beverage but for many, I think it could become the deployment option of choice (for a framework that makes so many things so easy…deployment still leaves something to be desired). Of course it will also break down some of the barriers that slows Rails adoption in certain settings though I suspect some developers would sooner have their MacBook Pro sent through a trash compactor than deploy a Rails app to say, WebSphere (hmm, there might be quite a few Java programmers that don’t particularly relish working with WAS).
Anyway, Charlie and Tom are looking at March as the last “pre 1.0″ release with April earmarked for some heavy bug fixing. Oddly they think they’ll have a big announcement in early May (can’t imagine why). JRuby should do an awful lot to make Rails a first class framework in the Java space and may actually stem a bit of the “brain drain” some companies are experiencing. Look to see more and more interest in Rake and migrations in the Java space too…
While I’m sure there are those that think Ruby on the JVM is heretical, JRuby is positioned to add even more fuel to the fire. If Rails made it OK to look at dynamic languages, JRuby is practically going to make it mandatory.