JRuby 1.5 Released

The JRuby community has released the latest upgrade of its 100 percent Java implementation of the Ruby programming language, JRuby 1.5.

This release completes one of this open source community's longest development cycles. According to a blog posting, it took nearly five months to complete the upgrades and bug fixes in this release. "Most of our bug fixes have been more of what we consider fine-tuning," the blog reported, "since we keep getting into smaller corner-cases of compatibility for individual Ruby methods." The blog went on to say that if you liked the 1.4 release, the 1.5 release "will be a no-brainer upgrade."

This release comes with 1,300 revisions and 432 bug fixes. There's also a new native access framework designed for performance and better FFI support, a native launcher for *Nix platforms, Ant support and Rake-Ant integration, and "better and better" support for Windows. JRuby developers will also be glad to find multiple performance improvements for Ruby-to-Java calling, including improved correctness, memory and speed.

The Ruby 1.8.7 standard library has also been updated in this release, as has the RubyGems 1.3.6, and RSpec 1.3.0. API improvements based on user input (JSR-223, BSF, RedBridge, etc) have been embedded, plus the ruby-debug tool is now installed by default.

Look also for many fixes for Rails 3, including start-up time improvements, reduced memory use for Java class metadata, faster loading of Java classes and jar-in-jar support in the classloader.

A complete list of changes is available here.

The JRuby community continues to grow; there have reportedly been more than 1250 "commits" between now and the JRuby 1.4 release last November. This growth doesn't surprise Eric Knipp, senior research analyst with the Gartner Group.

"JRuby has the fastest Ruby interpreter on the market," Knipp said in an earlier interview. "It'll run the complete Ruby test suite, so it's a first-class citizen. And on top of that, you can run it inside all the popular JVMs (Java Virtual Machines) -- plus, you have access to all the existing Java libraries. With JRuby, Ruby becomes just another dialect for Java developers. That's why I think JRuby is a great thing for enterprises to look at if they're considering moving into some dynamic languages."

"JRuby is a very practical answer for developers and project managers within non-IT companies who want to get higher productivity on a broad swath of their projects and move toward a next-generation rapid application development tool without throwing away existing Java investments," Knipp continued. "That's where I think JRuby is a big story."

Engine Yard, the Platform-as-a-Service for Ruby on Rails provider, gave a big thumbs up to the 1.5 release. That comes as no surprise: three core JRuby contributors -- Thomas Enebo, Charlie Nutte and Nick Sieger -- work at Engine Yard.

The company recently announced the first commercial support for JRuby, including the 1.5 release. Along with JRuby 1.5, that support covers several libraries, including: jruby-openssl, activerecord-jdbc-adapter, warbler, jruby-rack. It also covers bundled JRuby components such as Joni, Yecht and jrubyffi.

About the Author

John K. Waters is the editor in chief of a number of sites, with a focus on high-end development, AI and future tech. He's been writing about cutting-edge technologies and culture of Silicon Valley for more than two decades, and he's written more than a dozen books. He also co-scripted the documentary film Silicon Valley: A 100 Year Renaissance, which aired on PBS.  He can be reached at [email protected].