No Borg-like release train for Ruby on .NET

What does "done" mean, anyway?


Microsoft hopes to deliver the .NET-tuned implementation of the phenomenally popular Ruby, IronRuby 1.0, by the end of this year.

There's a ton of work left between then and now, though, and project manager John Lam isn't falling for that old Redmond trick of committing to a date and then watching the software slide out of view. Some stuff is getting cut, though.

Lam told Reg Dev he hopes to have an early implementation of Rails in time for RailsConf in Portland, Oregon at the end of May.

The date sounds ambitious and is not firm, though. "We're not driven by some Microsoft-ian ship train thing," Lam said, adding that determining what "done" means is a challenge. IronRuby was announced almost a year ago, in May 2007.

"The language is still changing, there is no spec for the language, there are going to be differences between implementations that are essentially undefined behavior." His approach is pragmatic. "How we declare [version] 1.0 is: are there any serious blocking bugs preventing people from getting things to work?"

So, what's left to be done? "We don't run real Ruby applications today," he said. "On the language side we're still missing two or three features. The biggest one is being able to eval [sic] strings of code. It's probably another month's work."

Then there are the bugs. "The big thing that blocks us from running real Ruby programs is the libraries," Lam said. His team is tracing API calls made by libraries under the C version of Ruby, in order to see what still needs implementing.

"The first milestone is to get RubyGems working, which is the packaging system in Ruby. After that we want to get Irb working, the console interactive mode inside of Ruby. Finally we've got all the traces done for Rails as well."

Some familiar features will not be implemented, however. "Call with current continuation, we're not implementing that. [Although] JRuby isn't either. Another example is ObjectSpace, this feature in Ruby where you can walk the managed heap of all live objects at runtime. It's very expensive for us to implement that feature. What we will likely do is by default, not track all the objects on the heap. If you want to use this feature, you've got to run it with a switch."

Which begs the question: why bother with Ruby on .NET at all? "There's a lot of rich libraries inside of .NET," said Lam. "There's stuff that talks to the OS and Silverlight. It's important to see Ruby running in the browser. None of the other Ruby implementations are security hardened to the point where they could just plop into Firefox or IE. We've also got companies that want IronRuby on Rails. They're willing to pony up devs to help us finish."

The last point is interesting. IronRuby is open source - anyone can help. According to Lam, it is a new Microsoft - though note, this is the developer division we're talking about, not the Windows or Office cash cows.

Finally, why should .NET developers bother with Ruby? According to Lam: "You spend less time writing software than you spend maintaining software. Optimizing for writing software versus maintaining software is probably the wrong thing to do. Static typing makes it harder to maintain software because it's harder to change it."®

Similar topics

Broader topics


Other stories you might like

  • Azure issues not adequately fixed for months, complain bug hunters
    Redmond kicks off Patch Tuesday with a months-old flaw fix

    Updated Two security vendors – Orca Security and Tenable – have accused Microsoft of unnecessarily putting customers' data and cloud environments at risk by taking far too long to fix critical vulnerabilities in Azure.

    In a blog published today, Orca Security researcher Tzah Pahima claimed it took Microsoft several months to fully resolve a security flaw in Azure's Synapse Analytics that he discovered in January. 

    And in a separate blog published on Monday, Tenable CEO Amit Yoran called out Redmond for its lack of response to – and transparency around – two other vulnerabilities that could be exploited by anyone using Azure Synapse. 

    Continue reading
  • Microsoft seizes 41 domains tied to 'Iranian phishing ring'
    Windows giant gets court order to take over dot-coms and more

    Microsoft has obtained a court order to seize 41 domains used by what the Windows giant said was an Iranian cybercrime group that ran a spear-phishing operation targeting organizations in the US, Middle East, and India. 

    The Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit said the gang, dubbed Bohrium, took a particular interest in those working in technology, transportation, government, and education sectors: its members would pretend to be job recruiters to lure marks into running malware on their PCs.

    "Bohrium actors create fake social media profiles, often posing as recruiters," said Amy Hogan-Burney, GM of Microsoft's Digital Crimes Unit. "Once personal information was obtained from the victims, Bohrium sent malicious emails with links that ultimately infected their target's computers with malware."

    Continue reading
  • Microsoft pledges neutrality on unions for Activision staff
    Now can we just buy them, please?

    Microsoft isn't wasting time trying to put Activision Blizzard's problems in the rearview mirror, announcing a labor neutrality agreement with the game maker's recently-formed union.

    Microsoft will be grappling with plenty of issues at Activision, including unfair labor lawsuits, sexual harassment allegations and toxic workplace claims. Activision subsidiary Raven Software, developers on the popular Call of Duty game series, recently voted to organize a union, which Activision entered into negotiations with only a few days ago.

    Microsoft and the Communication Workers of America (CWA), which represents Raven Software employees, issued a joint statement saying that the agreement is a ground-breaking one that "will benefit Microsoft and its employees, and create opportunities for innovation in the gaming sector." 

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022