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Ruby VM Roundup: Ruby 1.9.1 Preview 1, Rubinius Moves To C++ VM

by Werner Schuster on Oct 28, 2008 |

Ruby 1.9.1 Preview 1 has been released (Download site). From the release notes:

28 Oct, 2008: Ruby 1.9.1-preview1  
* Basically, the language features are frozen.
* But most of standard libraries need more changes for multilingualization.

The release notes also sets 25th December 2008 as the date for the release candidate, followed by the final 1.9.1 release on 25th January 2009.

InfoQ reported before about the changes in 1.9.1. One recent language change involves lambda. A patch by Eric Mahunin now allows the default values for arguments in lambdas. From the Changelog:

parse.y (f_block_optarg): allow default for block parameters as long as the value is primary. a patch from Eric Mahurin in [ruby-core:16880].

Another debated topic was the "stabby lambda", ie. the -> notation for lambdas, introduced in 1.9. While some were arguing for its removal, it remains in the language.

Dave Thomas (PragDave) mentions that the 3rd edition of the Pickaxe book (which covers 1.9.x) is done, and will be available around or after the final 1.9.1 release.

The Rubinius project has reached another milestone in it's development. Rubinius founder Evan Phoenix reports:

I’m super happy to announce that we’ve gotten the C++ branch stable enough that we’re making in the default branch. [..] Here is what was done:
* The old master branch was rename shotgun.
* The cpp branch was copy to the name master.
* The cpp branch was then deleted.

The C++ branch was started to rewrite the VM in C++. Previously, the "shotgun" VM was written in C. The new C++ VM is:

Better organized. We’ve learned a lot in the building of the last VM about how to structure things. For instance, using C++ lets us model Ruby classes as C++ classes, providing the VM with the same familiar structure and execution as their Ruby counterparts. [..] Better tested. The old VM, I’m ashamed to say, had no unit tests. From day one of the new VM, we’ve been writing unit and integration tests.

The Rubinius repository is available at GitHub.

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