Best of Ruby/Rails in 2007

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Thanks to the great work of the Ruby & Rails communities, the year of 2007 saw many exciting new software releases. I have listed a few releases that I would like to point out in particular and expressively thank the developers for:

* Rails 2.0 – A great open-source framework got better in December 2007 with the v2.0 release. In particular I like the improvements in security, test fixtures, http support, performance, debugger and the non-beta addition of ActiveResource by default.

* JRuby 1.0 – By mid 2007 the first proper open-source release of JRuby arrived and it was able to run (most) Rails applications. Very impressive but a bit beta-like (many key API’s are still changing and there is little documentation in the download). Look out for an even better and faster JRuby 1.1 with JIT support in early 2008.

* Ruby 1.9 ( development release) – The proper development release of the next ruby programming language and implementation, version, 1.9, was released in open-source form on 25th December. Not suited for production but gives the community a chance to experiment with, and provide feedback for, many new Ruby features and implementation changes before Ruby 2.0 arrives. My favorite changes are string encodings (for f.x. unicode) and the new YARV virtual machine included in the Ruby 1.9 release.

* RubyGems 1.0.0 – First proper release of RubyGems in December 2007 as open-source. With RubyGems Ruby developers neatly avoids Java’s classpath-hell (*). Basic but cool stuff!

* Active Scaffold 1.1 (almost) – I was not sure if I was going to include this plugin on the list because it is not quite ready (it’s a release candidate last updated in December) and because the old version 1.0 had a bit too many limitations for my taste. However, this open-source Rails plugin is simply too great to leave out. It’s is basically a parallel to “ActiveRecord” but for the front end allowing the developer to implement visual, model-driven CRUD operations quite neatly. You should check it out.

* Commerical IDEs with real Ruby+Rails support arrives in plenty. Proper IDE releases in 2007 includes Netbeans, Aptana (RadRails), IntelliJ, 3rdRail, Ruby In Steel, Komodo IDE etc… At last some real competition to plain old emacs or textmate !

Nb) I use this term for a lack of a more neutral yet common description of the issues with installing jars and configuring classpaths in Java. Java is a great development platform – which I have used proficiently and happily for 10+ years – but classpath/package/module/jar/version management is not it’s strong point

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