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NetBeans 6 Milestone Features Full Ruby Support

7 replies on 1 page. Most recent reply: Mar 6, 2007 5:59 PM by Joao Pedrosa

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Frank Sommers

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Nickname: fsommers
Registered: Jan, 2002

NetBeans 6 Milestone Features Full Ruby Support Posted: Mar 5, 2007 3:45 PM
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Summary
The latest NetBeans 6 milestone, released today, includes the Ruby Pack, featuring support for working with Ruby code inside the open-source IDE. Artima spoke with Dan Roberts, Sun's director of developer marketing, about NetBeans' current Ruby support and future Ruby plans.
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Sun released today its latest NetBeans 6 milestone build [Editor's note: Select the 6.0 Preview option], including fully integrated support for working with Ruby code. Artima spoke with Sun developer marketing director Dan Roberts about what coding in Ruby inside NetBeans looks like, and what future Ruby support Sun is planning for its open-source IDE.

Frank Sommers: Editing Ruby code was possible in earlier milestone builds of NetBeans 6. What additional Ruby integration is there in today's release?

Dan Roberts: There is very significant and deep integration in the current milestone release. It goes far beyond code highlighting, and provides code completion for modules, classes, and methods, semantic code analysis with highlighting of parameters and unused variables, and highlighting the occurrence of variables. We believe NetBeans is now one of the most full-featured IDEs for working with Ruby code, and offers deeper support for Ruby than most other IDEs do at present.

Frank Sommers: What about support for JRuby?

Dan Roberts: One of the biggest advantages, and most significant features, of NetBeans' Ruby Pack is that you can choose to run your Ruby application on the platform's regular Ruby interpreter or on JRuby. JRuby allows you to take the same Ruby code you would run on the regular Ruby interpreter, and run that code inside the JVM.

Using JRuby has a couple of advantages. One of them is that your Ruby code can call into Java libraries. Java has a huge set of libraries, built up over the past ten-plus years. Those libraries provide valuable functionality, and you can take advantage of that functionality from Ruby code now. Inside the NetBeans IDE, when you're working with Ruby code, you can reference any Java library from Ruby. As long as that class library is available to NetBeans, the IDE's editor will be able to help you with method completion for those Java classes, just as you expect it to do when you're working on Java code.

The other advantage of JRuby is that we're putting a lot of effort into making it perform fast—as fast as, or even faster than, the native Ruby interpreter. Just today, the JRuby team will be making a new release of JRuby, featuring impressive performance optimizations. When we release JRuby 1.0 later this year—possibly this summer—you will see that JRuby will be one of the fastest ways to run Ruby code.

So the NetBeans Ruby Pack is targeted at Ruby developers also—it not only offers one of the best Ruby development environments, but also lets you target JRuby for performance.

Frank Sommers: What's the development roadmap for the Ruby Pack?

Dan Roberts: We said we would provide first-class support for Ruby in NetBeans, and we have done that with today's milestone release. In the next release of the Ruby Pack, we will focus on providing support for Ruby on Rails projects, since Rails is the primary way developers use Ruby today. Expect that to become available by the middle of the year.

I also want to note that although NetBeans is truly a multi-language IDE—supporting C, C++, Java, Ruby—we're still figuring out how supporting dynamic scripting languages inside NetBeans will fit in with how Java developers work in the IDE. It's one thing to provide a lot of features, but it's more important that those features work together in an integrated way. This is something that we're already looking at.

The NetBeans Ruby Pack is available from the NetBeans update center inside the latest NetBeans 6 Milestone release. In the interview, Roberts stressed that a lot of QA goes into a milestone release, and that such releases differ from nightly builds of the IDE.

While Roberts promised better Rails support, Sun's Roman Strobl posted two video demos on working with Rails in NetBeans: Ruby on Rails in NetBeans: The Basics and Ruby on Rails in NetBeans: Advanced Editing Features.

What do you think is the most effective way for a Java developer to leverage the productivity boost that Ruby can provide?


Leo Lipelis

Posts: 111
Nickname: aeoo
Registered: Apr, 2006

Re: NetBeans 6 Milestone Features Full Ruby Support Posted: Mar 5, 2007 5:51 PM
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Interesting stuff.

I like many features in Netbeans, but the problem is that when it comes to meat-n-potatoes Java code editing, it lags terribly behind Eclipse. When I use Netbeans I feel like I'm using a colorful but more or less useless for real driving Tonka truck. Yes, I'm exaggerating a bit.

Case in point, check out Eclipse's awesome shift-control-T to open a class. I can put wildcards anywhere. I can also use shift-control-R to open any resource in the same way -- wildcards are allowed anywhere. I can get to any file in the project almost instantly by simply knowing a part of its name. That's great!

Check out how great control-O in Eclipse is. I can jump to any method within a class by simply knowing a part of its name too.

In other words, in real life day to day meat and potatoes code editing, Eclipse is head and shoulders above Netbeans in my experience. I evaluate Netbeans on regular basis but so far always end up uninstalling it because all the integrated bells and whistles are not enough to outweigh what Eclipse is good at.

It's true that Eclipse also has some flaky behaviors. This provides opportunity for Netbeans. If Eclipse wasn't flaky, I wouldn't even evaluate Netbeans. However, you can't beat Eclipse without knowing what makes it great.

Dmitry Gushchin

Posts: 2
Nickname: gushchin
Registered: Mar, 2007

Re: NetBeans 6 Milestone Features Full Ruby Support Posted: Mar 6, 2007 12:41 AM
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I have downloaded 'NetBeans IDE 6.0 daily build 200703051900' and could not find the features described above. Could you please shed some light on this?

Thank you!

Dmitry Gushchin

Posts: 2
Nickname: gushchin
Registered: Mar, 2007

Re: NetBeans 6 Milestone Features Full Ruby Support Posted: Mar 6, 2007 1:15 AM
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Clarification: When I select 'NetBeans 6.0 Preview' - a page with the 'Nothing found. Choose again.' message appears.

Nick Allen

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Nickname: nickallen
Registered: Mar, 2007

Re: NetBeans 6 Milestone Features Full Ruby Support Posted: Mar 6, 2007 9:09 AM
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Ruby support is not installed by default. You have to use the update center. Tools -> Update Center -> Development Update Center.

Frank Sommers

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Nickname: fsommers
Registered: Jan, 2002

Re: NetBeans 6 Milestone Features Full Ruby Support Posted: Mar 6, 2007 11:46 AM
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Try this URL:

http://wiki.netbeans.org/wiki/view/Milestone7Report

Roland Pibinger

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Nickname: rp123
Registered: Jan, 2006

[OT] Is Ruby the NBT? Posted: Mar 6, 2007 3:10 PM
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Is Ruby the Next Big Thing? C emerged in the mid 70ies, C++ in the mid 80ies and Java in the mid 90ies. We ought to see a new major programming language surface these days. Is it Ruby? Driven by RoR?

Joao Pedrosa

Posts: 114
Nickname: dewd
Registered: Dec, 2005

Re: [OT] Is Ruby the NBT? Posted: Mar 6, 2007 5:59 PM
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> Is Ruby the Next Big Thing? C emerged in the mid 70ies,
> C++ in the mid 80ies and Java in the mid 90ies. We ought
> to see a new major programming language surface these
> days. Is it Ruby? Driven by RoR?

I think Ruby can only help so much, because JavaScript is the one that's present everywhere, so JavaScript inspired languages are "The Ones". Ruby humbly can provide an alternative to JavaScript when Ruby is available, as Ruby comes with much of what JavaScript has, while leveraging a bunch of unique Ruby libraries at the same time.

I should note that I started programming in Ruby way before I knew of its similarities to JavaScript. So Rails and JavaScript maybe have been enough to make Ruby cross that chasm and become a significant technology on its own.

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