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MacRuby Roundup: Ruby Apps Show Up in Mac AppStore, MacRuby in Lion, XCode 4 Support

by Werner Schuster on Mar 31, 2011 |

The MacRuby project has released MacRuby 0.10, which brings bug fixes and minor improvements as the project moves towards its 1.0 release.

Just when MacRuby 1.0 will be released is not known, but MacRuby seems to be included in "Lion", Mac OS X 10.7. As Matt Aimonetti points out, however:

The only problem is that Apple apparently decided to not share MacRuby with other OS X developers and put MacRuby in the OS private frameworks. While this doesn’t affect the project itself, it does affect OS X developers like myself who can’t link to Lion‘s private MacRuby framework and are forced to embed MacRuby with their applications.

If MacRuby was a public part of OS X, developers writing programs with MacRuby wouldn't have to ship the MacRuby runtime. On the flipside, developers would also be tied to the MacRuby version shipping with Mac OS X; it remains to be seen how fast bug fixes and improvements will get picked up by the integrated version.

If MacRuby remains a private framework, it will also stay off limits for Mac AppStore applications, which can only link to public frameworks. Of course, developers can continue shipping their own MacRuby version with their app.

Applications using MacRuby can be accepted in the Mac AppStore. One example would be QuickAlarm, which is available from the Mac AppStore.

Another MacRuby application currently under development, not yet in the Mac AppStore, is RedWood. The application is available for free while it's under development.

For developers interested in starting working with MacRuby, there's an increasing list of resources. For starters, the blog about the above mentioned Redwood application, contains useful tips such as how to get XCode 4 to build a self-contained MacRuby application.
For an introduction to MacRuby, two books are currently being written:

The source repository for MacRuby is now officially hosted on GitHub, but Nightly Builds are available as well.

Finally an answer to a common question: No, MacRuby can't (yet) be used for iOS applications as MacRuby uses the Objective-C GC, which is currently unavailable on iOS. Whether this will change in the future remains to be seen.

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