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InfoQ Homepage News Rails 1.2 Release Candidate Announced

Rails 1.2 Release Candidate Announced


This week, David Heinemeir Hansson announced availability of the Rails 1.2 Release Candidate 1:

It's been almost eight months since the last major release of Rails introduced RJS, respond_to, eager loading, and much more. It's about time we introduced the latest batch of big ideas we've been polishing in the interim.

Since this is a major new release and we've gotten so much incredible uptake even since 1.1, we're feeling the need to certify that things work as well as they can out the gates. Thus, this release candidate to fret out any regressions or major issues with the new features.

Rails 1.2 formally introduces RESTful features that have been on Rails developer's minds since David's keynote at RailsConf 2006. The new scaffold_resource generator helps developers structure their applications REST-style along with the new map.resources directive in routes.rb.

The respond_to handler method for controllers now understands URL suffixes, letting developers write super-concise code for generating the same content as differing types of responses, such as HTML, XML, and RSS.

One of the biggest subjects of criticism about Rails is support (or lack there-of) for Unicode. That's why the official inclusion of ActiveSupport::Multibyte in Rails 1.2 is such big news. In David's words:

While Rails has always been able to store and display unicode with no beef, it’s been a little more complicated to truncate, reverse, or get the exact length of a UTF-8 string. You needed to fool around with KCODE yourself and while plenty of people made it work, it wasn’t as plug’n’play easy as you could have hoped (or perhaps even expected). [...]

With Rails 1.2, we’re assuming that you want to play well with unicode out the gates. The default charset for action renderings is therefore also UTF-8 (you can set another with ActionController::Base.default_charset=(encoding)). KCODE is automatically set to UTF-8 as well.

A screencast demonstrating Rails multibyte support is available.

Many notable deprecations are now in place and will produce warnings in test output and logs. Here is a short list of deprecation-related changes:

  • The use of start_form_tag and end_form_tag is now deprecated in favor of <% form_tag ... do %>...<% end %>
  • Passing :post => true as a link modifier is deprecated in favor of :method => :post.
  • link_to_image and link_image_to are deprecated in favor of link_to(image_tag(...), url)

Well-known Railser Josh Susser is first out of the gate with commentary about the new release, reminding the community of why release candidates are produced:

The point of a release candidate is to let the code bake for a bit while not making any changes, giving the development team a chance to find any lingering bugs. The developers are saying, "we think we're done, but lets make sure there aren't any showstoppers that we haven't found yet." In one sense it's an admission that test coverage is incomplete, but the world isn't perfect and neither is anyone's test suite.

Feeling adventurous? To install the new release as a gem, simply type the following at your command prompt:

gem install rails --source --include-dependencies

Alternatively, you can "freeze" the release candidate code for a particular project, by running the following rake task in your project directory:

rake rails:freeze:edge TAG=rel_1-2-0_RC1

In a comment to the Rails blog announcement, David says the final release of Rails 1.2 will happen in a few weeks.

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