Some of the world’s largest companies use Ruby as the underlying technology to drive value for their customers. Twitter, Bloomberg, AirBnB, Shopify and many others have built world class solutions with Ruby (and Rails). And why not? It is highly productive, fun to use, and easy to maintain by individuals all the way up to large teams of engineers. At ActiveState, our interest in Ruby goes back many years, and we knew eventually we would produce a distribution to help teams work with Ruby.
I’m very happy to announce that today we have released our Windows beta version of ActiveRuby–ActiveState’s distribution of open source Ruby 2.3.4 combined with Rails 5.1 and many gems and tools. Many developers and companies are struggling to adopt Ruby due to the complexities of Ruby’s gem versioning and dependencies. Our goal for ActiveRuby (like all our distros) is to make it as easy as possible for developers, and in particular teams of developers, to get up and running with the language.
ActiveRuby is based on the open source distribution of Ruby. It is a complete version of the language and the tool chain. To this, we have added 100+ popular gems that will help you get started, point you in the right direction, and keep you productive as you build out your projects. These include gems for microservices development, database connectors (many of which are difficult to build), helpful programming gems, big data support, web application development frameworks and many more. I urge you to check out our ActiveRuby page to see all the wonderful community projects we’ve included.
Note we have reviewed each gem for the version to use, ensure tests pass (where possible) and reviewed licenses before including in the distribution, so you can use them in your projects. We’ve also included full documentation, and provided it both offline and online depending on your development needs. In addition we’ve built many gems not written in pure Ruby, freeing the developer from C compilers and other dependencies.
For tools we’ve provided prebuilt versions of the debugger byebug, the Puma webserver, RubyGems for gem management and bundler for dependency management. We also recommend our multi-platform Komodo IDE, which is optionally offered as part of the installation. Komodo has first class support for Ruby, offering integrated debugging, syntax highlighting, code browsing, autocomplete, unit testing, go to definition, code folding, and much more!
To start, we’ve built our first distribution for Windows, as this is traditionally a very hard platform to build Ruby on, and by doing so we hope to provide considerable value to the Ruby community. For our full release (which we expect to be out later in the year), we will provide our distribution on all the major platforms; Linux, Windows, and MacOS.
After you download the beta and have given it a try, let us know about your experience. Were there things we missed, any absolute must-haves as a Ruby developer? What is crucial before you would adopt it for your project? Questions about why we picked what we did? Your feedback is welcome!
Submit your feedback for the chance to win a t-shirt:
If your feedback gets included in the full release, you get your pick: Tabs or Spaces!
Alternatively, you can send your questions or thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you’ve been thinking about using Ruby for a project, ActiveRuby is a great choice to get rolling. Download ActiveRuby and test it out!