Rails Roundup: updated Agile Web development book, GSoC '08, to_proc vs Ruby 1.8.7

by Werner Schuster on Apr 26, 2008 |
The list of projects accepted for Google's Summer of Code 2008 (GSoC) was announced recently. The list of Ruby projects for GSoC contains, among others, two projects for improving Rails:
  • Rails benchmarks and JRuby Rails Perf Analysis by Sergey Vidyuk, will investigate the performance of Rails, particularly Rails running on JRuby. As the project's abstract explains, while JRuby has achieved performance equal to MRI, this isn't quite the case for Rails applications running on JRuby yet. The GSoC project, mentored by JRuby's Charles Nutter, should help in fixing this issue.
  • Rails Thread Safety by Joshua Peek, seeks to "make the Rails framework as thread safe as possible". Rails' lack of thread safety is the reason why multiple Ruby processes, each running one Rails instance, are necessary to scale Rails applications.

The problem of Rails performance is also worked on by EngineYard's Ezra Zygmuntowicz. Ezra reports his progress of adding Rack adapters for various web servers. He does so by working on his own Github fork of of the Rails repository. (The offical Rails repository is also hosted at Github).

Rails was also involved in shaping the feature set of Ruby 1.8.7. InfoQ reported about Ruby 1.8.7 adding features such as Symbol#to_proc to the standard library (get some background information about Symbol#to_proc). Shortly after the first preview of Ruby 1.8.7 was released, it was discovered that Rails didn't work on the Ruby 1.8.7. The reason was clashing versions of Symbol#to_proc. As it turns out, Rails adds it's own version of a to_proc method to the Symbol class - however, it expects slightly different semantics than the Symbol#to_proc added to Ruby 1.8.7 (and the one in Ruby 1.9). The result - preview 2 of Ruby 1.8.7 has removed the Symbol#to_proc method.

The release of Rails 2.0 brought one problem: the popular book "Agile Web Development with Rails", was written for prior versions. The, just announced, 3rd edition of "Agile Web Development with Rails" fixes this issue. The book is available, but it's currently in beta, with the final release set for October 2008. The book also gained another author in Sam Ruby next to Dave Thomas and David Heinemeier Hansson.

Finally, the popular "What's New in Edge Rails" series on Ryan Daigle's blog, which reports about new features or changes in the main Rails development branch, is now translated to Japanese.
Note: InfoQ content is also available in other languages; currently we feature InfoQ Japan and InfoQ China.

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