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InfoQ Homepage News Aptana Takes Over Development of RadRails

Aptana Takes Over Development of RadRails


Last Wednesday at EclipseCon, Kyle Shank, one of the main developers behind the largely-successful RadRails project officially announced a significant change to his project:

Yesterday at EclipseCon I announced that Aptana would be taking over the RadRails project and integrating it into their existing suites of editors, debugging tools and community features. Rails tooling on Eclipse needs a full-time effort and Aptana has the team and resources to do just that.

Aptana also annouced the takeover on their official blog:

The Aptana IDE and RadRails are both EPL open-source products, and that will continue in the future. Initially, you’ll see some immediate bundling of the products, and then we’ll work on making a tighter integration as time goes on. We’ve set up a forum for questions, and if anyone is interested in contributing, please let us know and we’ll be happy to set something up. We hope to have everything transitioned by mid-May.

The Aptana IDE is a free, open-source, cross-platform, JavaScript-focused development environment for building Ajax applications. It features code assist on JavaScript, HTML, and CSS languages, FTP/SFTP support and a JavaScript debugger. The Aptana company was was founded in 2005 by Paul Colton, a real heavyweight-player in the Java web development world. Prior to starting Aptana, Paul Colton founded several technology companies, helped define the Servlet API specification and was behind JRun, which was at its peake the leading commercial Servlet and JSP engine in the world.

At the moment, it's really difficult to gauge how popular RadRails is in a world dominated by hackers wielding TextMate, Vim, and Emacs. The community consensus seems to be that RadRails is the tool of choice for the legions of Java programmers migrating to Rails development, probably due to their familiarity with Eclipse. (More often than not, this observation is made with a snicker.)

A quick poll on the #rubyonrails IRC channel (averaging over 400 members) generated little in the way of support for RadRails, but as to be expected, triggered a massive argument over the relative superiority of the aformentioned text editors.

Nevertheless, some of the IRC chatters chimed in with insightful comments, such as Fryguy: "My only problem with radrails (and eclipse in general) is that since it's plugin-based, everything seems so disconnected at times. It's nice when I'm editing a javascript file in visual studio, and switch over to an aspx file, and things feel the same, not always true in eclipse."

Others contrasted RadRails with its competitors, such as Jeremy Durham's advocacy of NetBeans: "seriously. it does everything radrails does, the interface is nicer, the support is better and it does context sensitive method completion and help.. it's very slow tho."

It remains to be seen whether RadRails can be rescued from the doldrums of open-source abandonment, but for the sake of the community we hope that Aptana can do it. What do you, InfoQ reader, think about RadRails?

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