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Interview: Charles Nutter discusses JRuby

by Ryan Slobojan on Feb 14, 2008 |

JRuby project lead Charles Nutter discusses how he got involved with JRuby, Sun's involvement with JRuby, how JRuby fits into enterprise-level web applications, the possibility of a friendly fork of the OpenJDK source code, reasons for switching to JRuby, the future of JRuby, Spring and JRuby, and the Ruby community as a whole.

Watch Charles Nutter discusses JRuby (13 minutes).

From the interview:

In the future, we've got our final 1.1 release [...] The big bullet for that is that we do have a complete Ruby compiler to Java bytecode now, which has substantially helped performance. After the 1.1 release, I would say the big areas are going to be fitting JRuby better into the rest of the platform. The implementation itself will be at some level of done and there is probably not a whole lot of major work that we would need to do to get the Ruby side of things running well. We will continue working on performance, and there will always be compatibility issues, but we will continue to solve those as they come up. But we need to focus on how Ruby fits in as just another JVM language, so that it can call all of the libraries as well as possible, integrate well with other Java frameworks, and really just be a first class citizen on the JVM. That's probably going to be the big thing that comes up after the 1.1 release.

On the cross-platform Ruby community:

For the first time I think we have got a community doing a lot of different implementations of a particular language, and all trying very hard to stay true to the original spirit of the language from when Matsumoto created it. We really want to work with the community and I think they are recognizing that we are trying to be as good a citizen as possible within that Ruby world. We are not trying to make a fork, we are not trying to change Ruby, we are not trying to take Ruby over. We really just want JRuby to be another option for Ruby users. And from all the discussions that I've had with all the other implementers that's their goal as well, they really want to try and help Ruby take over the world, help it be the language of choice on whatever platform you are running. It's been a great time working within that community and seeing how much cooperation there is.

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GlassFish v3 gem by Arun Gupta

Since this interview is recorded, GlassFish v3 gem has been released that provides a robust alternative to WEBrick & Mongrel. More details at:

blogs.sun.com/arungupta/entry/glassfish_v3_gem_0_1

On cross-platform Ruby by Thom Nichols

... help (JRuby) be the language of choice on whatever platform you are running


As much as I prefer Groovy (since I do 99% of my work in the Java world) the idea of a language _really_ spanning platforms is a compelling reason for me to take the time to learn the Ruby language. I mean, they even have a Ruby port for the iPhone!!! I think there are just a few places where even the JVM won't go :) For that, it is good to have a diverse toolbox and I like the idea of a language that really spans platforms (that is, native, JVM, .NET, etc).

If Ruby is not your cup of tea... by Zeev B

If Ruby is not your cup of tea I would recommend taking a look at Python/Jython. Python was one of the first dynamic programming languages that had a JVM implementation (i.e. Jython).

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