[SJUG] Ruby on JVM
kingb_98 at yahoo.com
Fri Sep 21 10:46:05 PDT 2007
I've become interested in the Ruby language since
reading that Martin Fowler prefers using Ruby over
XSLT for processing XML.
And of course the fanatic devotion to "Ruby on Rails"
as a web application platform should caution all us
J2EE developers. Fortunately for us, Sun is
responding by embracing Ruby, supporting JRuby (a
version of Ruby that runs on the JVM), and a port of
"Ruby on Rails" to JRuby. What this means to Java
developers is that we may no longer be tied to what
Sun and the Java community endorses as a framework,
but maybe we can mix-and-match the best frameworks
that we find in Java and Ruby.
Because of the difficulty of JSP development I'm
interested in trying to run the controller and view
parts of "Ruby on Rails" on top of a Spring/Hibernate
model on the JVM. I find that the syntax checking
provided by JSP DTDs, JSP compilation, and tag TLD
files, are more of a hindrance than a help. And the
fact that an interpreted expression language (EL) is
included in JSP leads me to wonder that if Sun thinks
interpreted languages in web templates are such a
great idea, why do we need templates to be based on
compiled Java code?
I think we should think of ourselves more as JVM
developers than as a Java language developer. The JVM
is an integration platform serving multiple
programming languages. Here's a blog that shows how
strongly Sun is supporting Ruby on Rails:
"The biggest surprise at RailsConf Europe 2007 was
hearing Craig McClanahan from Sun speak. Craig is the
creator of Struts, the original blockbuster web
framework for Java, and more recently Java Server
Faces. Not exactly an obvious advocate for Ruby on
Rails, but he sure played the part well... He even
went as far as to say that developing web applications
in Java after working with Rails would probably not be
a particularly pleasant experience for him."
"JRuby on Rails is already in production at a fair
number of companies. The Rails is just a WAR argument
is certainly making it easier for companies like
ThoughtWorks to push Rails deep into the enterprise.
Throw the "integrate with your Java legacy" argument
on top (where you can even go as far as work with
EJBs!) and it's easy to see why The Enterprise is
getting all giddy."
"Why are they doing all this?", that's a common
concern with most Ruby folks (and a question I must
have asked them personally at least half a dozen times
;)). Apparently, they see this as something quite
simple: A Sun that's heavily involved with Rails on
the software side is a Sun that's much better
positioned to sell loads of hardware to run all these
new Rails applications in both the enterprise and to
"So it's kinda hard to argue with their good deeds.
Which is a peculiar feeling for a Rails person to have
towards a company that used to be regarded solely as
the high church of enterprisey. I guess that they've
accepted that Java (the language) is no longer always
the answer regardless of the question, as it used to
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