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CodeGear unveils Ruby on Rails IDE

CodeGear from Borland, is the organization behind Borland's development tool business and now  provides well known IDEs such as Delphi or JBuilder. A new tool will join this group in the 2nd half of 2007: an IDE for Ruby on Rails development. Like CodeGear's JBuilder product, this will also be based on Eclipse, and is now available for beta testing.

The feature list:
  • Complete IDE with full support for Ruby and Rails, enabling advanced development features such as Code Completion, Refactoring, type browsing and navigation

  • Innovative new “Commanders” that uniquely merge the power of the command line with the ease of use and productivity of the IDE, Wizards and Code Insights

  • Dependency visualization and navigation to seamlessly work with all resources regardless of their relationship, location or format

  • A full set of development and deployment modules including Ruby, Rails, Gems and Database

The Ruby tools space is bustling with competitors many of them free products. IDEs such as Aptana, which recently incorporated the popular RadRails IDE, is just one example. Michael Swindell, CodeGear vice president of products and strategy, explains how CodeGear's Ruby IDE will distinguish itself in this market:
Our new Ruby on Rails technology addresses these challenges by going beyond just editing and debugging Ruby scripts.  It provides a comprehensive Rails-centric development environment which both initiates beginners and streamlines experts. Also, based on new CodeGear IDE innovations, it is the first tool we’ve developed that will likely appeal equally to command line, IDE, and visual developers.
David Heinemeier Hansson, the creator of Ruby on Rails, also chimed in:
It’s encouraging to see the Rails ecosystem extend itself to include commercial tool vendors. I heartily welcome CodeGear to the arena and I’m excited to see what they come up with. It’s a wonderful time for users and vendors alike in the world of Rails.
Behind the scenes, the CodeGear Ruby IDE functionality is built on a new project under the Eclipse umbrella: Dynamic Languages Tool Kit (DLTK). The plural in the name has a reason: DLTK provides basic systems for dynamic language support in Eclipse. This includes general models that represent source code. DLTK provides infrastructure, such as source code indexing services which allow to quickly query types and other structures in a project. It also includes extensible algorithms for type inference, that permit to figure out the types of variables and functions. This is  necessary for many IDE editor features, such as Auto Complete on types (showing the methods of an object) and others.
Also included are common GUI components, such as outlines, interpreter configuration dialogs, and many others, that use the data stored maintained by DLTK. In general, DLTK speeds up the process of adding support for a (dynamic) language to Eclipse considerably.

Currently, DLTK has support for Tcl, Javascript and Ruby. CodeGear is contributing patches and code to DLTK Ruby.

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